Glenwood’s Ayala, Vega take first matches of state tournament
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
DENVER – After dropping his first two matches and leaving last year’s state wrestling tournament much earlier than he wanted to, Chris Ayala arrived at the Pepsi Center with a different mindset on Thursday.
“Last year, I was pumped,” the Glenwood Springs senior said. “I was excited for it, but that’s all it was. I wasn’t thinking about how I was going to wrestle. I wasn’t thinking about what I was going to do out there. I went out there really fired up, and that’s good, but I wasn’t going out there with the conscious and the mind, thinking, ‘OK, this is what I’ve got to do.'”
Ayala won’t be going home after two matches in 2011.
Putting a flurry of points on the board after dropping into a 2-0 first-period hole, the 160-pound Demon scored an 8-2 win over Ridgeview’s Skyler Valesquez in the first round of Class 4A competition.
The two had met earlier this season at the Denver South Invitational. There, Ayala eked out an overtime win. He also learned a thing or two.
“I knew how he was going to wrestle,” Ayala said. “I knew what he did to me earlier and how he scored points.”
Ayala will face Mesa Ridge’s Devante Johnson in today’s quarterfinals.
Miguel Vega will join Ayala in the quarterfinals. The lanky junior stuck a two-point move in the final minute of his 103-pound match against Roosevelt’s Zach Courrejou to escape with a 6-5 win.
“The thing I did well was at the end of the match, when I did that pass and got my two points,” said Vega, who will face Windsor’s Joel Salomon in the quarterfinals. “That’s the only thing that I did that won me the match.”
The Demons’ only other state qualifier, Mike Mills, didn’t fare as well as his teammates. The junior 125-pounder lost to Northridge’s Chuy Melendez, 9-4.
Mills will face Conifer’s Hunter Shively in first-round consolation action today.
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UPDATE 5:27 p.m. — Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon has reopened in both directions Saturday evening after a safety closure due to a flash flood warning. There were no reported mud/debris slides.