Pinchak’s perseverance: Central senior hopes to qualify for state

Central’s Evan Pinchak, back, brings a never-quit attitude to the mat for the Warriors, who wrestle in the Region 3 tournament this weekend.



QUICKREAD

Class 5A Regionals

Region 1: Fruita Monument competes against third-ranked Coronado and seventh-ranked Rocky Mountain in the Region 1 tournament at Heritage High School in Littleton. The region includes the No. 1-ranked 119-pounder, Jeremy Schmitt of Rocky Mountain, and No. 1 ranked Carter McElhany (125) of Coronado. The Wildcats have three returning state qualifiers in Jeff Gonzales, Matt Remy and Anthony Martin.

REGION 3: CENTRAL AND GRAND JUNCTION ARE IN REGION 3 WITH SECOND-RANKED POMONA, SIXTH-RANKED PINE CREEK AND NINTH-RANKED CHERRY CREEK AT AURORA CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL. THE REGION INCLUDES FIVE TOP-RANKED WRESTLERS AND THE TOP TWO AT 112 AND 140 POUNDS, INCLUDING CENTRAL’S TOP-RANKED MATTHEW GURULE, WHO COULD MEET PINE CREEK’S JOSH MARTINEZ IN A REMATCH OF LAST YEAR’S 112-POUND STATE FINALS AT 119 POUNDS.

Class 4A Regionals

Western Region: Eighth-ranked Palisade will compete with second-ranked Roosevelt, which won the Warrior Classic, and third-ranked Montrose in the Class 4A Western Regional at Mullen High School in Denver. The region includes several state-ranked wrestlers, including four of the top five at 103 pounds and No. 1-ranked Casey Lynn of Montezuma-Cortez (135 pounds). Western Slope schools Battle Mountain, Delta, Eagle Valley, Glenwood Springs, Moffat County, Montezuma-Cortez, Rifle and Steamboat Springs are in the region.



Evan Pinchak has fought the odds since the day he was born.

He beat those odds to survive, and has often exceeded expectations.

Now, the Central High School senior looks to exceed quite possibly his own expectations this weekend in the regional wrestling tournament.

“This is the most fun year so far,” Pinchak said. “If I qualify for state, it’s going to be unbelievable.”

The Warriors and Grand Junction Tigers wrestle Friday and Saturday in the Class 5A Region 3 Tournament at Aurora Central High School. The top four individuals in each weight class qualify for state.

Pinchak (17-11) is ranked ninth in the state at 171 pounds. His toughest competition in the region is second-ranked Clay Roth of Poudre and 11th-ranked Nick Riley of Pomona.

“Evan’s improved immensely,” Central coach Laurence Gurule said. “He was real unorthodox in his style. He’d be on his back, but you can never count him out of a match.

“If he wrestles well, he’s going to qualify. We have other kids in the same position as him on the bubble. I hope they not only qualify, but win a couple matches at state.”

Pinchak was born six weeks premature and was in intensive care the first five weeks of his life.

He had collapsed lungs and developed a clot in his aorta.

“The doctors didn’t think he’d come home in the first place,” Trace Pinchak, Evan’s dad, said. The family was living in a small town in Canada when Evan was born. “There was a lot of time spent in the hospital and in prayer to get him home.”

Evan, which means “young fighter” in Celtic, made it home, but developed a speech impediment and had some learning disabilities. He was put in special education classes, but didn’t take it well.

“It was very difficult for him to accept,” Trace said. “It hit him when his younger brother could read better than him.”

The Pinchaks moved to Grand Junction when Evan started seventh grade. The next year, he tried out for wrestling.

Although he struggled, he impressed his youth wrestling coach.

“His coach said if any other kid had to go through what he’s gone through, they’d quit by now,” Trace said. “Evan’s never been the type of guy to give up. It’s all the same to him as long as he’s satisfied with his effort.”

Evan played football and wrestled, but didn’t make the varsity wrestling team as a regular until this school year.

Several friends have asked him why he didn’t quit. He tells them it’s never been about playing time.

It’s simply about having fun and proving he can do it.

“I remember when I first played football,” he said. “I wasn’t the biggest kid and I didn’t play often, but I always worked hard. I never, ever quit.”


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