Eagle Valley grapplers beat Rifle
GYPSUM, Colorado – The junior was big on Senior Night as Eagle Valley wrestling pulled the upset against Rifle Thursday night in Gypsum.
Eagle Valley’s five active seniors delivered as usual on their night, and junior Davey Madrid had the biggest win at 145 pounds as the Devils knocked off No. 8 Rifle, 46-31. Eagle Valley won six of the 11 matches contested with the Devils getting two forfeits and the Bears one.
“[Rifle is] a solid team,” said Eagle Valley senior Joey Sanchez, who started the night with a pin at 195 pounds. “Our coaches have been praising them in practice. They’re No. 8 in rankings. It’s great win for us. I can’t say more about our team.”
“That’s cool. That’s a good night,” said Devils coach Ron Beard, who is not quick to praise. “Rifle’s tough as heck.”
Rifle’s strength is in the lighter weights, primarily 120-145 pounds, while Eagle Valley’s seniors in the heavier divisions are the heart of its lineup. The Devils or the Bears had to score an upset in one of their opponents’ areas of strength to tip the dual, and that’s where Madrid came up big.
The Devils led 18-6 after Sanchez and Andy Armstrong (220) had pins and Eagle Valley’s Jay Bullock got a forfeit at 106. At heavyweight, Rifle’s Jose Prado had needed just 1:15 to finish Eagle Valley’s Xavier Mendoza.
Rifle started to roll with two pins – Cary Ebeler (113), Oscar Ruelas (120) – two wins – Isaac Rider (126) and Coy Zang (132) – and a forfeit at 138 (Dallas Rohrig).
The Bears led, 31-18, and Madrid was having problems with David Fujita, trailing, 4-0, in the first period. Madrid was bleeding out of both of his nostrils, and the match was stopped for him to be patched up.
“I think it kind of woke me up a bit,” Madrid said. “I kind of realized that I had to get going.”
The junior did that, quickly reversing his bout with a takedown of Fujita and a 3-point near fall. Madrid pinned Fujita at 1:31.
“Davey should get his picture in the paper for that,” Beard said. “That’s a turning point in the dual, 145s. He did a good job.”
Andrew Vigil delivered a major decision against the Bears’ Alex Rivas, 12-2, at 152. With Eagle Valley getting a forfeit at 160 pounds, it was up to seniors Cole Nielsen (170) and Ty LaFramboise (182) to close the deal. Devils fans will take that scenario any day.
Nielsen and LaFramboise got six points each with pins as the Devils’ seniors were 5-for-5 on pins.
“It was a good match,” Rifle coach John Wisniewski said. “Eagle Valley has great upper weights. They’re fantastic.”
Wisniewski quickly and correctly pointed out that this is only practice until regionals in February in Montrose. On the other hand, this was a big win for the Devils, especially after dropping a dual to Palisade earlier this week.
Another subtle factor was that Rifle did not get pins at 126 and 132. Rider and Zang did win their matches. But Eagle Valley’s Chris Comroe dropped a 10-4 decision to Rider, while Zang recorded a 10-2 major decision against Rafael Gurule. That was seven points, instead of 12. Combine that with Madrid’s comeback at 145 and that was the difference.
“I always preach to my boys what wins duals, ‘Pin or get pinned,'” Wisniewski said. “Unfortunately for us, it was bad night for us. Hats off to Eagle Valley.”
The Devils head to Northglenn for a tournament this weekend, while the Bears host their home tournament, The Rumble in the Rockies, Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
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Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org