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Cougars’ Kay kicks it into gear at Jeffco

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EHS senior wins third league title with a 4-0 tourney record

By Michael Hicks

LAKEWOOD — Jake Kay’s round-robin bracket left a lot of down time early on Feb. 9 at Bear Creek High School.
“It was really boring,” Kay said of the slow start to his tournament. But it started to pick up after the initial delay and all in his favor.
The Evergreen senior 126-pounder went 4-0 with a pair of pinfall victories, a 17-1 technical fall of Wheat Ridge’s Josh Shippley and a 12-0 major decision over Conifer’s Bronson Spies to win a third straight 4A Jeffco League championship.
He was one of three Evergreen grapplers in the varsity draw. Lane Hanson placed second at 106 pounds, while Triston Tucker struggled to an 0-2 finish at 120 pounds. The subpar showing and lack of numbers left Evergreen with just 24 teams points in the seven-school field.
Golden won the league championship with 135.5 points. Wheat Ridge came in second with 100 points and Evergreen rival Conifer placed third with 84.5 points.
While a third league title was nice, Kay primarily used the Jeffco meet as a tuneup to freshen up his own skills with regionals at Mullen on Feb. 15-16. That’s the one that really counts as a top-four finish there earns one a berth to the 4A state tournament a week later at the Pepsi Center.
“I’m trying to work moves here, do stuff I don’t normally do all the time,” Kay said. “And try to get some quality wins.”
There’s no question his wins over Shippley and Spies fit the bill. Kay faced Shippley in the Jeffco League finals in 2012 and though he scored a technical fall on Spies earlier in the week a second win over the Conifer grappler, who has just five losses all season, would seem to fit the quality billing.
Hanson’s two wins came over Wheat Ridge’s Stephanie Goens by an 8-3 decision and a pinfall of Green Mountain’s Steven Hall in 43 seconds. However, he was upended in his rubber match with Arvada’s Andy Lieshman, defeated by pinfall in 1 minute, 52 seconds.
“I can’t stop fighting. I have to keep moving from the bottom, work on moves that we worked on in practice and go out there and wrestle,” Hanson said.
Tucker battled in a pair of pinfall defeats, falling to Conifer’s Mike Fera in the championship bracket in 3:51 before losing to Wheat Ridge’s Billy Gieck in 4:59.

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.