Prep notebook: Vista Ridge wrestler Jeff Flippen finding success after shedding weight

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Vista Ridge wrestler Jeff Flippen had to drop more than 50 pounds over the last wrestling season just to make weight and see competition.

This school year, Flippen dropped down from his football weight of 310 pounds and is currently around 281. The senior -- happy and healthier -- said cutting weight isn’t the struggle it used to be.

“I’m pretty used to (cutting weight),” Flippen said. “It’s not really a struggle like it was last year. During football season I would eat a lot, but now I just feel my body and I don’t eat as much as I used to. I’m more relaxed. I don’t gorge myself, I lay out my meals.”

On Saturday, Flippen had two pins before beating Pueblo Centennial’s Cayman Garduno in the Class 4A region 1 heavyweight finals. He will be a No. 1 seed at the state tournament over the weekend.

“Right now, my goal is to go to the semifinals and see where that takes me,” Flippen said. “I know there’s going to be a lot of tough matches before that, though.”

-Coronado’s KJ Kearns raced through the 138-pound bracket at state a year ago, taking down his opposition one by one on his way to the championship match. That’s where it ended -- just shy of gold.

Kearns is headed back to the Pepsi Center with a bit of unfinished business on his mind after he won the 145 title in 5A region 2 Saturday. The Cougars junior beat Legend’s Erik Cumley 4-0 in the first-place match and will be a 1-seed over the weekend.

Last year, Kearns lost to Poudre’s Jacob Greenwood in the regional and state finals. Greenwood will also be a 1-seed in 145s at the tournament.

“This year I’ve prepared a lot more and I’ll have a good road,” Kearns said. “I feel like I could top off my season with a win in the state finals.”

This is Kearns’ third straight trip to the state tournament. He was disqualified from the tournament as a freshman because he had a spot of ringworm on his chest.

-Cheyenne Mountain’s Deonte Bridges was unable to compete in the 220 regional finals due to injury Saturday. The sophomore is now questionable to participate at the state tournament this weekend, Indians coach Tyler Seaney said.

“We probably should know tomorrow,” he said.

Bridges is ranked as the No. 2 wrestler in 4A 220s by On The Mat’s rankings. Only Mesa Ridge’s Dominick Fini was ranked higher following the senior's dual win over Bridges on Feb. 1.

-Discovery Canyon's Jared Turner has one more chance to mirror in his brothers’ footsteps on the wrestling mat.

Older brothers Steve and Sam Turner each won state titles in their time with the Thunder. Jared can add to the family legacy as he heads into the state tournament as a 1-seed this weekend.

In his 132-pound regional finals match on Saturday, Turner trailed 7-3 in the third before rallying for five points in the final 45 seconds. Discovery Canyon coach Marques Bravo said -- like his brothers -- Jared is dangerous late in match -- even when he's behind.

“From a competitive standpoint, all (of the Turner brothers) are very competitive,” Bravo said. “None of them are ever out of a match.”

-For the first few weeks of the season, Doherty missed having speedy guard Mykiaa Minniss on the court.

Now that she's back and in the flow of things, Minniss and the Spartans are in a groove.

Doherty held Palmer to eight points in the second half on Saturday as the Spartans beat the Terrors 43-26 for their 15th straight win.

Doherty coach Patrick McKiernan said Minniss has provided the team with an extra spark since she returned in the middle of December. The Washington State soccer commit had been out with club soccer obligations.

“Her quickness and athleticism, the whole team picks up on it,” McKiernan said. “It makes everybody better.”

The Doherty-Palmer girls' and boys' teams faced off in a doubleheader Saturday night as part of the Terrors 11th annual "PinkNasium Night". The pinked-out event recognized breast cancer survivors as well as those who have died from the disease. Money was also raised for the Susan G. Komen Organization, per Palmer girls’ coach Dave Shackelford.