The Mile High Open Wrestling Tournament hosted at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University drew quite a large crowd, filling the bleachers at times. Jan. 19 was one of the last tournaments before the regional and national championships. The Eagles wrestling team neared their peak performance for the season and pushed to establish their standings among the other teams.
Trace Gutknecht placed fourth in the tournament, scoring 6.5 team points. He made it into the quarterfinals with Abye Trace. Trace won his match by decision, making his way into the semifinals. Losing in the semifinals to Southern Oregon, Trace beat out Grand Canyon to make his way to the third place match where he finished fourth.
Robby Workman won first place with 15 team points. Workman won his first three matches by decision, often through general control over the opponent. After beating out Cal Baptist and two independent wrestlers, Robby found himself in the first place match against Dixie. Workman finished off Aaron Camis by pinning him at 0:47, securing the first place position.
Luke Riley also finished in first place with 16 team points. He won his first match with a major decision followed by a pin in the quarter finals. Riley proceeded to win the semifinals by decision over Southern Oregon and then the finals by decision giving Embry-Riddle another first place standing in the tournament.
Jose Cruz placed second, earning the team nine points. He lost the first round by decision, but came back fighting. Cruz pinned Hunter Murray from Dixie State at 0:13. Cruz won his last match by decision in the third round.
The Eagles wrestling team showed they are a serious contender for the regional and the national championships. The Western Regional Championship will be held Feb. 16 in Great Falls, Mont. The National Championship, where Embry-Riddle makes a regular appearance, will happen March 1 to March 3 in Des Moines, Iowa.