Grand Valley’s Tonder cruises to state title |

Grand Valley’s Tonder cruises to state title

Dale Shrull
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Photo by Chad SpanglerGrand Valley High School wrestler Jared Tonder works for a pin to win the 3A 140-pound Colorado State High School Championship at the Pepsi Center on Friday night.

DENVER, Colorado – Jared Tonder got the job done and he’s a champion.

With so much focus being on the fabled story of Grand Valley’s Ryan Gallegos and his three second-place finishes at state, Tonder was almost an afterthought.

Almost. State wrestling titles are never afterthoughts.

The 140-pound senior made no doubt of his wrestling legacy with the Grand Valley Cardinals Saturday night as he crushed his opponent in the Class 3A Colorado State Wrestling Championships title match at the Pepsi Center.

Tonder, who like Gallegos knows what it’s like to come close and come home with a silver medal.

Last year, he lost the title match by only two points. He was not going to be denied this year.

Tonder dominated Brandon Padilla of Rye, pinning the sophomore with six seconds left in the second period. Tonder ended his senior season 41-2.

“Being my senior year I wanted to get at least one [title],” Tonder said.

Tonder was the aggressor throughout the first period, but he was patient, waiting for his chance to strike. With both wrestlers on the mat, Tonder rolled Padilla onto his back right before they went out of bounds to take a 2-0 lead. But the move was quick and a little awkward, leaving the Grand Valley senior not sure who got the points.

“I wasn’t even sure who go the points on that. I looked up and the score is 2-0 so I looked down and it was my anklet [with the points,]” he said smiling.

The smile overtook Tonder as soon as the referee’s hand slapped the mat.

Since Gallegos won the 145-pound state title right after Tonder’s victory, there were lots of smiles on the faces of Grand Valley wrestlers, coaches and fans.

Tonder’s domination, which included wins of 17-0, 14-1 and 4-0 to get to the title match, didn’t surprise head coach Rick Gallegos.

“Jared has been that way all year,” Rick said. “Honestly, I didn’t have any doubts about Tonder’s state title, like I did with Ryan’s, only because we’d been there three times [with Ryan].

“Coming in, I honestly knew Tonder would come over here and take home a state title,” Rick said, then grinned. “I just didn’t want him to be alone.”

Tonder said he wanted to try and wear down his sophomore opponent and that’s what he did.

“I knew he’d come out fast, but I knew that he’d wear down. In the second period I knew it was my chance,” he said.

Late in the second, Tonder powered Padilla onto his back, and the match was over.

Even as a state champ, Tonder was as humble as they come.

“It’s just amazing. I just hope I did everyone at home proud,” he said.

Tonder said there wasn’t much strategy involved, just a simple philosophy.

“I know that if I wrestled Jared Tonder’s match I’ll do just fine,” he said with a big smile.

The Class 3A state champ at 140-pound division. That’s mighty fine.

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