Story and photos by Daniel Mohrmann
After a three-day grind at Denver’s Ball Arena, the Manitou Springs wrestling teams came away with some hardware. Specifically, it was the Reeves siblings standing on the podium between championship matches the evening of Saturday, Feb. 18.
Wesley Reeves had a chance to break a 22-year wrestling championship drought for the Mustangs. He was ranked second in the Class 3A 190-pound rankings and had a great shot at claiming the school’s first individual title since Brandon Pritchard won the 189-pound title in 2001.
But an illness threw him a curve ball. He was hit with a bug on Friday night after advancing to the championship match with a 5-2 decision over Eaton’s Cal Sidwell. He was able to wrestle in the championship, but lost a 2-0 decision to Severance’s Colby Runner.
“My plan was to wrestle very differently in those early matches,” he said. “I kept them close and then I was going to let it fly in the championship, but then [getting sick] happened. I didn’t have any strength behind my attacks.”
Abbie Reeves matched Hannah Hollick-Mitchell’s fourth-place finish from a year ago. Abbie followed Hollick-Mitchell to become only the second girl in school history to stand on the podium. She got there with two wins in the championship bracket before dropping an 11-2 major decision to Grand Junction Central’s Mollie Dare in the quarterfinals.
She then beat Denver North’s Neveah Torres in the consolation semifinals to advance to the third-place match. She was leading Vista Ridge’s Olivia Newel, but lost leverage and allowed her shoulders to get pinned to the mat.
Still, a fourth-place finish brought a massive smile to her face.
“It’s been pretty fun,” she said. “It was a little less nerve-racking [than I thought it would be] because I’ve been to some offseason tournaments. This was fun. I loved it.”
Abbie finished the season 22-9 and will be back for her junior season. It’s hard not to envision her as a top contender for a state title when the tournament returns to Ball Arena in 2024.
Kara Donegan lost her first match of the tournament before pinning Mountain Vista’s Ella Curtis in the first round of the consolation bracket. She was eliminated in the next round by Douglas County’s Abbie McGinnis.
Part of the reason Wes came back to the team after not wrestling last year was to compete alongside Abbie and hopefully get to Ball Arena together. They were able to do just that and it’s an experience that they’ll always be able to share.
“It was some of our happiest moments of the year,” Wes said. “She fought hard. It was a great experience watching her be there.”
Overall, the team is in good shape heading into next season. Six of the eight regional placers —Abbie Reeves, Donegan, Michaelray Abeyta, Brett Arnoldussen, Cam Jacobson and Bradyn Dowling — will return next season, giving the Mustangs another good look at multiple state qualifiers.
As Wes Reeves departs the program, he sees potential for these young kids to step up and end the Mustangs championship drought sooner than later.
“There are a bunch of young kids who love the sport and their abilities are growing very fast,” he said. “It’s cool to watch how far they’ve come in just one season.”