Taking the next step

After 4th straight regional title, Olathe's Shank wants state success

Olathe’s Austin Shank eyes Bayfield’s Colton McMenimen on Saturday during the championship match at 145 pounds in the Class 3A Region 4 tournament in Montrose. Shank won 7-1, his fourth straight regional championship, and the senior is one of six state qualifiers for the Pirates.

Delta’s Kole Roberts grabs the leg of Pagosa Springs’ Dalton Lucero on his way to winning the 132-pound regional title. Roberts was one four regional champions for the Panthers, who won the team title.

MONTROSE — Austin Shank is confident and ready.

Using an aggressive and attacking style Saturday, the Olathe senior dominated his 145-pound championship match at the Class 3A Region 4 tournament. The 7-1 win over Colton McMenimen of Bayfield showed that Shank is ready for his fourth trip to the state tournament.

For much of the season, Shank has battled an irritating injury to his right foot.

“It’s been very frustrating. Every once in a while it just happens again,” he said.

The Lisfranc injury is a pesky problem that affects the foot where the toes bend, making it painful and difficult to push off. Not a good injury for a wrestler to overcome, but Shank appears to be at the top of his game now.

But did that injury and his lack of time on the mat concern him?

“Maybe a little bit, but most of it was missing out on all the good competition that you need to have throughout the year,” he said. “Missing a lot of those big tournaments was tough, because they make you so much better for the end of the year.”

On Saturday, Shank showed the quickness and technique that have made him a four-time regional champ. Now comes state, where he’s placed fourth twice and third last year.

“Plain and simple, I want to go out there and win it. It’s just now or never. This year, I’m going to give it all I got, it’s my senior year,” he said.

Shank was one of three Olathe wrestlers to win regional titles along with Trent Rose at 138 and Chayden Harris at 195.

Delta was an easy winner in the team competition. The Panthers won the title with 266.5 points over Sterling at 187 and Olathe at 178.

The Panthers had four regional champs and three runners-up. Delta will send 11 wrestlers to the state tournament, which begins Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

“I think we’re peaking at the right time,” Delta coach Clayton Curtis said. “These guys are excited, and they see themselves as the favorite right now, they really do.”

Winning titles for the Panthers were Kole Roberts at 132, Derek Horn at 160, Kory Mills at 170 and Marcus Garcia at 285. Luke Anderson (106), Dayran Urquhart (152) and Alejandro Medina (195) placed second.

For Mills, the 3-1 win to get the regional title was extra satisfying because he missed out on state last year.

“It was a dream come true,” he said about winning the regional title. “It’s not my main dream, but it’s a step toward it. I’ve progressed a lot since the beginning of the year.”

The final match, at 285, was a battle between Delta’s Marcus Garcia and Rifle’s Jose Prado.

Garcia again came away with the win, his fourth straight over Prado, but the two standout football players aren’t separated by much on the mat.

Garcia’s 1-0 victory came after he scored an escape in the third, but then Prado sliced in and looked to be ready to take Garcia down for two points with 22 seconds remaining. But Garcia survived the attack and won the title.

“He’s probably better on his feet than I am, and every time we wrestle, that last 30 seconds he comes that much closer to taking me down,” Garcia said with a smile.

For Olathe’s Harris, he’s settled in to the 195-pound class nicely after starting the season at 182.

“I feel better at this weight,” he said after an impressive pin of Delta’s Medina.

With his second consecutive regional title, Harris, a junior, said he’s ready for state.

“In the long run, I feel like I have a shot at winning a state title, and I want to do everything in my power to make that happen,” he said.

Other state qualifiers for Olathe were Andrew Godfrey (106), Jake Jiminez (152) and Felix Pena (220).

The rest of Delta’s state roster includes Jayden Chynoweth (120), David Brown (126), Chance Dillingham (145) and Daniel Brown (182).

Dillingham made state after winning his wrestleback match to take fourth place.

Rifle will send four to state: Prado, David Fugita (138), Zach Wisniewski (160), and Alex Rivas (170).


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