Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

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January 11, 2010
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Family allegiances tested at Colfax Smackdown wrestling tourney

DENVER, Colorado - Coaching against one another stirs up all sorts of ambivalent feelings for Grand Valley wrestling coach Rick Gallegos and his brother, Randy, the head coach at Denver East High School.

Exhibit A: Coaching against his nephew, Ryan, in the 145-pound final of Saturday's Colfax Smackdown, tested Randy's allegiances.

"He was really wanting to win that match for his kid," Rick said by phone on Sunday. "It was especially tough for him. He says coaching against family is tough. Those kids grow on you."

Turns out Randy's nephew prevailed, which probably wasn't the worst thing in the world to the Denver East frontman, who hosted 12 teams at the second annual Smackdown.

All is simply par for the course when the siblings' teams cross paths.

"It's neat to coach against him," said Rick, who like his brother is a Pueblo East alum. "You know, I just feel our teams have developed [a bond] because me and my brother are so close, so our teams kind of get that way. All year I hear about how his kids are doing and him the same."

Family reunion aside, Grand Valley's wrestlers enjoyed quite the weekend at the Friday-Saturday tournament, which featured five duals for each team and a four-wrestler playoff for weight-class championships.

"It was a little bit different of a format," Rick said. "You have duals with five teams and then you take the best wrestlers from two six-team pools. ... Two kids out of each pool make it to a mini tournament."

Despite going 1-4 in duals, the Cards put four through to the mini tourneys.

Jared Tonder wound up winning the 140-pound weight class. Jerrod Busch claimed second at 135 pounds and Tyler Miles made the final four at 152 pounds.

On the schedule next weekend for Grand Valley is the Palisade Tournament.

VERNAL, Utah - Rifle's wrestling team made the lengthy trek to Vernal, Utah, for the Friday-Saturday Tournament of Champions, a longstanding event notorious for its brutally tough brackets.

The trip proved worthwhile for the Bears, who came away with a champion, two sixth-place finishers and a seventh-place finisher. As a team, Rifle finished 14th out of nearly 30 schools.

James Martinez battled through a star-studded 140-pound bracket, going 5-0.

"He had a tough go along the way," Rifle coach John Wisniewski said. "He started the tournament as the No. 6 seed in his bracket."

Martinez scored a 6-2 win over three-time Utah state champion Bryson Foy, of Altamont, in the final.

"They just battled and battles and battled," Wisniewski said. "The score was close, but James totally dominated the entire match. It was one of the best, most complete wrestling matches I've ever seen James wrestle."

Finishing sixth for the Bears were 112-pounder Devon Godeski and heavyweight Nick Mellon. Each went 3-3 on the weekend.

Mellon, a senior who gave wrestling a brief try as a high school freshman in Wisconsin, impressed the coaching staff.

"He really has no wrestling background," Wisniewski said. "Just the work we've been doing with him, he's starting to turn the corner and understand wrestling."

Larry Schmueser took seventh for the Bears at 130 pounds. He pieced together a 3-2 record.

"Larry, by far, is probably one of our most consistent wrestlers on the team," Wisniewski said. "Ever since he was a freshman, you can always count on him being tough in a tournament. He wrestled really well."

On deck for the Bears is a grueling duals tournament in Green River, Wyo., next weekend.

ARVADA - Glenwood Springs brought a fourth-place finish back from Saturday's Ralston Valley Mustang duals, going 2-3.

The Demons defeated Arvada's junior varsity team (56-22) and John Mall (54-18), while falling to Grandview (59-18), Ralston Valley (45-28) and Skyline. The loss to Skyline came on tiebreakers after the teams finished in a 42-all deadlock.

Senior Vincent Tsosie led Glenwood with three pins, going 4-1. Other faring well were Miguel Vega (4-1, three pins), Chris Ayala (4-1), Casey Montoya (3-2), Victor Mondragon (3-2), Mike Mills (3-2) and Brian Ochoa (3-2). Emilio Alcala and Taylor Parson each earned two victories.

Glenwood will return to the mat for a Wednesday dual at Coal Ridge.

jcaspersen@postindependent.com


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The Post Independent Updated Jan 11, 2010 01:34AM Published Jan 11, 2010 01:32AM Copyright 2010 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.