Mustangs want to earn multiple trips to state at regional contest |

Mustangs want to earn multiple trips to state at regional contest

West Grand junior Landon Williams hooks up a cradle while wrestling against Middle Park earlier this season. Williams is 7-4 this year with a strong chance to earn a trip to the state tournament.
Eli Pace /

West Grand wrestling approaches the regional competition with a strong shot to qualify two, maybe three for this year’s abbreviated state tournament.

“It’s been a tough year for everybody statewide, not just West Grand,” said coach Brian Strathman, who was coming off a three-week quarantine in which he had been away from his team. “It’s been tough mentally and physically, but it’s the crazy times we live in right now.”

With 16 teams in its region, West Grand will be facing what many believe to be the stiffest competition in the state for Class 2A wrestling this weekend in Meeker.

Add to that only the top two wrestlers from each weight class in each region will qualify for state, and the Mustangs has their work out cut for them. Normally, there are 16 slots, but only eight wrestlers in each weight will go to state this year.

One strong contender for the Mustangs will certainly be junior Dane Biekert, who’s 6-1 so far this year and wrestling at 126 pounds.

His brother, Ben Beikert, is West Grand’s 120-pounder, and he’s 7-5 this year, also with a strong chance to qualify.

The team’s only senior, David Santos, is another big threat to make the cut, as he qualified for the big tournament last year, and would like to punch his ticket again. Santos is 5-7 on the season.

With a 7-4 record, junior Landon Williams moved up from 182 pounds to 195 pounds for the Mustangs. The move gave another wrestler a slot on the team and Williams is also looking to qualify for state this season.

The only freshman on the team, Virian Villalobos, is 2-9 this year. Strathman said Villalobos has been surrounded by upperclassmen and made huge improvements this season, so he’s expecting big things from the freshman going forward.

Additionally, Chris Willington has been out this season after undergoing surgery. Strathman said Wellington has kept active with the team throughout the year and they’re looking forward to getting him back next season.

Zade Overholt, a sophomore, has been wrestling at 182s for West Grand, and he’s complied a 5-6 record this season. In addition to giving the thin lineup another competition, he also adds a lot to West Grand’s practices.

“It’s been good for Landon to have someone to wrestle with,” the coach said, explaining that the two have come a long way this year and are linked because there’s nobody else on the team in the heavier brackets.

Strathman expects some Mustangs to go to state this year. He said he could see the Mustangs maybe qualifying up to three wrestlers for state, though they’ll need to have a good weekend to pull that off.

Wrestling at 126 pounds, Dane Biekert, a junior, has gone 6-1 this year for the Mustangs. He has a strong chance to qualify for the state tournament this weekend, but with only two slots available and a three-time state champion in his bracket, Biekert will need to perform well at regionals.
Eli Pace /

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