Petrash, Supernaw aiming for more

by Brent W. New preps@gazette.com - Published: December 14, 2013 | 10:15 pm 0
photo - Doherty's Brandon Supernaw (top) and Sand Creek's Jeremy Jaquess wrestle during the 160-pound championship match of the annual Harold McCray Invitational at Lewis Palmer in Monument on Saturday, December 14, 2013.  (Kent Nishimura, The Gazette)
Doherty's Brandon Supernaw (top) and Sand Creek's Jeremy Jaquess wrestle during the 160-pound championship match of the annual Harold McCray Invitational at Lewis Palmer in Monument on Saturday, December 14, 2013. (Kent Nishimura, The Gazette)

Monument - Air Academy wrestler Justin Petrash reclined back into his defend position and let his opponent make the first move in the 285-pound weight class. Doherty's Brandon Supernaw, meanwhile, never stopped attacking at 160.

It's the high-octane and slow-burn approaches that have two area wrestlers already eyeing state titles.

Saturday, Petrash and Supernaw were feeling championship aspirations after each of them won their weight divisions in the 34th annual Harold McCray Invitational at Lewis-Palmer High School.

Petrash, who took fourth behind three now-graduated seniors at state last season, is the frontrunner for this year's title.

He takes things a little calmer and a little more controlled from last season's chippy approach, he said.

This time around he makes sure to help out the inexperienced freshmen and sophomores - whom he calls the "little dudes" - and then goes from there, mentally and physically preparing himself for the tough matches he'll have to face down the road on his championship quest.

"He just works on taking one point at a time," Kadets coach Blue Anderson said, "and he works on maintaining that focus when he starts to get fatigued."

At Lewis-Palmer, however, he never looked tired or pushed to the limit. And while he didn't come out and say it was easy, he did admit that his toughest matches were still waiting for him later on the schedule.

Through four matches, Petrash recorded two technical falls and two pins - including a 39-second pin on Lewis-Palmer's Luke Fowler in the finals.

"Anything but a state title for me would be a failure," said Petrash, who has impressed his coaches by doing more of the "little things" right this season. "I should be the favorite. I only lost to seniors last year - they were supposed to win. Now I am supposed to win. I just need to keep focused and make sure a junior doesn't come in and spoil it like I did for some others last season."

Supernaw, on the other hand, isn't the favorite. He's ranked seventh in Tim Yount's On The Mat rankings at 160. And Saturday, Supernaw recorded a pin and two technical falls before he gutted out a 14-13 win over Sand Creek's Jeremy Jaquess in the finals.

Supernaw wasn't satisfied by the awards ceremony; only confident.

"I obviously have some things I need to get better in," Supernaw said. "But I am building confidence and I have a lot to prove from last year."

It was a season that couldn't have ended worse for the third-ranked wrestler. It started with a mistake-filled state performance that dropped him out of the quarterfinals at state and ended in another defeat in consolations that took him out of placing at the Pepsi Center.

It hurts, he said. And he'll use that to his advantage.

"I think I have all the motivation I can take," he smiled.

Elsewhere, Air Academy's Tyler Hanenberg (132), Lewis-Palmer's Joey Neumann (145), Falcon's Charlie Wallace (195) and Widefield's Wesley Medrano (220) also took home individual titles.

Cherry Creek won the team title with 223 points, followed by Lewis-Palmer (162) and Doherty (132.5).

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