DENVER — Jake Kay, if nothing else, has tunnel vision. The Evergreen senior has been focused since the 2012-13 season began on getting back to the 4A state wrestling championships. Nothing else would be satisfying.
Guess what, that’s where he’s headed.
A three-time state qualifier, Kay will be Evergreen High’s lone representative at Denver’s Pepsi Center for the three-day tournament beginning Feb. 21 after placing third at the 4A Region 3 tournament at Mullen High School on Feb. 16. Kay went 4-1 in the two-day regional with all of his victories coming in decisive fashion. He placed third with a 9-2 decision over Denver South’s Jeriah Garcia.
“That’s all I think about is state. I know that’s what everyone else thinks about, too,” Kay said.
Kay scored 19 of Evergreen’s 20 points as the Cougars placed 16th out of 17 teams. Tim Farver scored the other point with his consolation-bracket decision over Joel Conley of Valor Christian at 138 pounds. Broomfield won the team title going away with 277 points. Pueblo Central was second with 191. Conifer, behind three regional finalists, was eighth with 91 points.
Kay might’ve been in the finals, but his decision in the semifinals to choose down instead of starting from a neutral position to open the second period cost him. Pueblo Central’s Brandon Aragon, a strong leg rider, rolled Kay once for three near-fall points. That turned out to be the difference.
“I didn’t wrestle that smart. I should’ve gone neutral instead of down. I was attacking him well on neutral, and he was getting off-balanced,” Kay said. “If I had just kept doing that throughout the whole second (period) I would’ve gotten a takedown eventually.”
About the only other thing that went wrong for Kay was a knee bruise in his consolation semifinal victory over Mullen’s Anthony Vigil, and even that couldn’t stop him. While Kay isn’t going into state as a regional champion there’s no doubt that he poses a considerable threat for whomever he faces.
“From one through eight any one of those guys can win it. It’s just a matter of who wrestles smart and who has a great tournament next weekend,” Evergreen head coach Lane Williams said.
Kay is well aware that his 40-7 record is flawed with losses to some of the state’s stiffest competition, but timing is everything. He’s well aware of that, too.
“The important ones I haven’t been winning, but it doesn’t matter if I win them last week or this week it’s next week that matters,” Kay said.
Contact Michael Hicks at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.