It turns out that the Pine Creek wrestling team can put together a nice winning streak, too.
One week after the football team completed an 11-game winning streak with a resounding victory in the 4A state championship, its grapplers put the finishing touches on an undefeated weekend and overall championship at the secon annual Battle of the Best tournament at Pine Creek on Saturday.
The Eagles won all seven dual matches in the 24-team, two-day tournament, split between Pine Creek and Air Academy. While last season's 16-team debut fit perfectly into a bracket format, a 24-team event brought about a dual event, instead.
"I like starting out hard and getting roughed up early," said Eagles senior Chris Cos, who pinned Dominic Trujillo of Pueblo South 1:30 into the second period to end the final match at 152 pounds. "If you start easy, you won't adapt with the changes during the season."
Pine Creek and Pueblo South, last year's 4A third-place team, both finished pool play early Saturday undefeated at 5-0, then beat both opponents in a crossover match to advance to the championship dual.
The Eagles, without several football players who had practiced just twice since ending a 14-week season, still prevailed over the Colts 48-21 behind eight match victories, including seven by pin.
Freshman Jordan Martinez started the championship bouts in quick fashion, ending his match at 106 pounds with Jacob Rugg just 23 seconds into the first period. Lane McAdams, Cos, Dillon Dashner, Tayler Clifton, Taylor White and Jeremy Medina later added wins by fall for Pine Creek.
"I just single-legged him, and I went straight to a cradle," said Martinez, the younger brother of Pine Creek alumnus Josh Martinez, a wrestler at the Air Force Academy. "That pretty much was it. I still have plenty to work on "
The tournament started Friday with pool play and continued into Saturday, giving each of the teams five dual matches, then added a crossover match for placement into a final match.
Pine Creek and Pueblo South were the only ones to emerge undefeated, while Lewis-Palmer and Fountain-Fort Carson went 5-1 and matched up in the tournament's fifth-place match.
Fountain-Fort Carson rallied for a hard-fought, 42-35 victory on the strength of three consecutive victories by pin by Rashawn Benford at 160, Jason Miller at 170 and Cody Driver at 182.
"I do like plenty of duals early in the season," Trojans assistant coach Jarrod Purvis said. "It's a good way to get in mat time, especially for the young kids and to get the jitters out. In a tournament, they might be done after two matches, so you can't see how they're progressing. With seven in two days, you get to see more."