Before Easton Hargrave’s college wrestling career comes to a close at what he hopes will be the NCAA Division II championships March 13-14 in St. Louis, the Tumwater High School graduate and New Mexico Highlands University senior already is looking ahead.
He not only wants to be an All-American at the upcoming national championships — “that’s the goal,” the senior said matter-of-factly — but he also wants to earn his third Greco-Roman All-America honor before he turns his focus from wrestling participant to wrestling coach.
There’s one problem with that second goal.
In order to become a three-time Greco All-American Hargrave, a 2011 Tumwater graduate who set the then-state career pin mark as a senior, would have to miss his graduation ceremony — the U.S. Open Wrestling Championships is set for May 5-9 in Las Vegas. It’s a decision Hargrave is OK with.
“Maybe I’ll have my own graduation at home with friends and family,” Hargrave said.
Last summer, he spent part of two weeks training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Hargrave said those experiences made him a better collegiate wrestler.
“It lets me know I can compete in any level in the world and that I can hold my own against the best,” he said.
Hargrave has a 60-45 career record, including a team-best 18 wins this season.
In January, he competed in Washington for the first time as a collegian at the second annual Gut Check Challenge — and invitation-only meet that featured a college division. There, Hargrave went unbeaten, and earned Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference wrestler of the week honors.
The NCAA Division II Western Regional is Friday and Saturday in Pueblo, Colorado — Hargrave’s first step toward achieving his season-ending goals.
IN THE HUNT
With two regular-season games remaining — both at home — the Saint Martin’s women’s basketball team can clinch one of the six spots to next week’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament in Billings, Montana.
At 6-10 in GNAC play, the Saints are in a three-way tie for fifth place with Montana State-Billings and Central Washington.
The Saints host Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Central Washington on Saturday. Both games tip off at 7 p.m.
Saint Martin’s catcher Chandler Tracy was named the GNAC baseball player of the week after going 5 for 15 with three solo home runs in a four-game series against College of Idaho. They were Tracy’s 34th, 35th and 36th home runs of his career. … Timberline graduate Sasha Weber, a junior guard for the New Mexico State women’s basketball team, recently surpassed 1,000 points for her career. She’s averaging a team-leading 14.5 points a game on an Aggies team that is 18-7 and clinched a share of the Western Athletic Conference regular-season title Friday night.