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Princeton pins Mendota

Posted Wednesday, December 08, 2010 by Steve Amy
PRINCETON — When Colton Pate first started wrestling in eighth grade, it didn’t go so well.

“Eighth grade was a bad year for me,” Pate admitted. “I think I won two matches the whole year.”

My how times have changed.

Five years later and less than a calendar year since he worked his way into the varsity lineup of the Princeton wrestling team full time, the 171-pounder has found a home on the mat.

Now a senior, Pate was one of three PHS grapplers who last season advanced out of the regional, which was only his second varsity tournament.

This year, Pate has picked up where he left off, and he showed that Monday in Princeton’s 66-12 NCIC dual win over Mendota.

Pate was one of six Tigers to earn a pin fall victory as he recorded his pin at 2:53.

The win improved him to 7-1 this season — well ahead of the 15-14 record he had last year as a junior.

“The first year I got here he was JV, and he was JV for most of the year last year until the end when he earned himself a varsity spot and qualified for sectionals,” third-year PHS coach Steve Amy said. “Colton did a great job when he got in there and he’s done a great job since. He gets it and soaks everything up like a sponge.”

Pate entered the varsity lineup last season at 160 when Princeton’s Dylan Olson moved up to 171. This year, the two have switched weights and it’s allowed Pate an opportunity to shine.

“I want 25 wins this year. I want to be on that board up there,” said Pate, referring to Princeton’s 25-win-club board located on the back of the home bleachers at Princeton’s Prouty Gymnasium. “That’s kind of motivated me to work hard in practice and try to make these other guys work hard.”

Pate wasn’t the only Princeton wrestler who was motivated on Monday.

Olson, Eric Bickett, Reiter Bird, Cody Cumpton and Justin Lucas all matched Pate in earning pin fall victories.

All other Princeton wins came via forfeit.

“I talked to them earlier and told them to, ‘Go out and get a little workout in, make sure you get a few takedowns and then try to get your pin,’” Amy said.

Princeton did just that.

At 130 pounds, Bickett opened the contested weights with a pin at 1:58, while the 140-pound Bird recorded his fall at 1:23 and the 145-pound Cumpton at 1:01. At 160, Olson earned a pin at 51 seconds and Lucas took his 189-pound match by fall at 2:32.

“Everybody was pretty much right where we expected,” Amy said. “We are still doing a few things a little sloppy and we need to shore those up, but for the most part, everybody’s right on target of where we want them to be.”

Mendota’s lone on-the-mat win came from 189-pounder Jacob Guerrero, who missed weight by a pound and had to wrestle at 215.

Facing the larger opponent, the Trojan junior controlled his match against PHS’s Brewer Ary and earned the pin at 3:31.

“It was tough wrestling 215 because he had a lot of weight on me,” Guerrero said. “He was pretty strong and it took me awhile to get his shoulders down, but I had the half pretty tight.”

Note: Princeton 112-pound sophomore Reece Bird attended Monday’s dual and will join the squad. The team’s highest state-ranked wrestler in the preseason, Bird initially opted for indoor soccer but will get his weight certified next week, which will make him eligible to wrestle.

Jared Bell can be reached at 223-3200, ext. 138, or at sports@newstrib.com.

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