GSMS wrestlers enjoy season of successes |

GSMS wrestlers enjoy season of successes

Post Independent staff report
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Contributed photoGlenwood Springs Middle School eighth-grader Jose Diaz won the wrestling team's "Cougar" award.

With the ping of baseballs hitting metal and the sight of the Cougar track team heading up Mitchell Creek for distance training, it’s hard to believe that only a few short weeks ago, the Glenwood Springs Middle School Cougar wrestlers finished their season.

Five weeks from start to finish, the middle school wrestling season was a whirlwind of practices, duals and meets.

“Learn fast, and pay attention,” as head coach Miles Cook said, “or you’ll be counting lights [on the gym ceiling as you are pinned to the mat].”

Over the course of their season, the GSMS Cougars enjoyed both individual and team successes.

The Cougars’ opening meet was hosted by Riverside Middle School, where athletes from the PEG league (Pitkin-Eagle-Garfield counties) competed in a round-robin format, allowing each wrestler valuable early season mat time.

Several Glenwood athletes were medalists at the Riverside meet.

The 75/80-pound champion was Alex Barragan. Ivan Alvarez and Jakub Richards placed first and second at 90 pounds, respectively.

Second place at 95 pounds was Quest Christensen, and Juan Vigil placed second in the 105s.

In the 110-pound division, Alex Rachesky placed second, and Noe Camarena was third.

In the 125-pound division, Kaden Weller was third, and Shaddrach Biggs placed third in the 135-pound division.

In the combined 145/150-pound division, Cristian Gonzalez placed first, and Jose Diaz was second.

Gabe Arana was third at 155s and Gerry Vivieros was third at 170 pounds. Devin Romero placed third at 185.

Humberto Sandoval placed third in the heavyweights, and Eddie Ortiz was the heavyweight champion.

The following week, the Cougars traveled to Gypsum Creek Middle School for its annual Invitational, seeing competition from outside the league for the first time in the season.

Alvarez and Richards placed second and third, respectively, in the 90-pound division. Juan Vigil took second in the 105s, losing only to a PEG rival – Basalt’s Alex Nakagawa.

Irvin Pallares placed third, and Camarena was fourth in 110s. Carlos Muro was second at 135s, and Gonzalez was the 150-pound champion.

After traveling midweek to a dual hosted by a talented Basalt squad, the GSMS team departed the middle school at 5 a.m. on March 12 to compete at the Panther Invitational in Delta.

Seventeen schools from throughout western Colorado competed in the meet. The Cougars finished ninth with 110 points.

Rookie wrestlers Solomon Wheeler and Augie Hernandez placed sixth and fifth, respectively, in the 105 B bracket, while the veteran Camarena was fourth.

The fifth-place finisher in the 105 A bracket was Vigil. Fourth at 130 pounds was Lance Brevig, and Diaz placed second at 145 pounds.

For the first time since Glenwood began attending the Delta tournament, the Cougars had a first-place finisher – Gonzalez at 155 pounds.

Glenwood’s bus pulled into the middle school parking lot at 9:44 p.m., and the exhausted yet inexplicably energetic athletes headed home.

In the final meet of the year, Rifle hosted the PEG league championship.

Barragan was the league champ at 80 pounds.

Diego Mayo placed second in 85s, winning a hard-fought match against Jacob Hegwood of Grand Valley.

At 90 pounds, Alvarez placed second. In the 100-pound division, Pallares placed fourth.

At 105, Vigil placed second. Camarena (105), Rachesky (110), Kaden Weller (125), Brevig (130) Muro (140), Diaz (145) and Conlan Fullenwider (170) all placed third in their respective weight divisions.

At 150 pounds, Gonzalez was the league champion, placing first.

Gonzalez placed first in every tournament of the year and compiled a 21-0 record on the season. Weighing in at 142.5 pounds but competing for the most part at 150 or 155, Gonzalez was consistently the lightest competitor in the classification.

He had particularly entertaining matches, both at the Delta meet against River Panish of Hotchkiss Middle School, at which he won in a 7-2 decision. At the PEG league tournament, he defeated Austin Shepard of Rifle in a match ending with a pin at 3 minutes, 27 second.

At the conclusion of the season, Gonzalez continued to compete at the Rocky Mountain Nationals Regional Middle School Tournament in Grand Junction, where he placed first in the 145-pound division. He then continued at the Colorado Middle School State Tournament, placing third at the National Western Complex in Denver on April 2 and 3.

At the conclusion of the season, the athletes celebrated their successes with plenty of pizza and soda.

Recognition for most outstanding wrestlers were awarded to Alex Barragan, a seventh-grader, and Gonzalez, an eighth-grader.

Most improved wrestlers were Mayo (seventh grade) and Camarena, an eighth-grader.

The “Cougar” award was given to Diaz, an eighth-grader, in recognition of his amazing two years of GSMS wrestling.

Diaz, who stands 6-foot-1 with an equidistant wingspan, was a compelling competitor. Opponents found Diaz’s signature cradle move hard to escape, and his technique hard to outmuscle. Diaz’s work ethic, sportsmanship and attitude earned him the Cougar Award.

Middle school wrestling has been proposed as one of the budget cuts for the 2011-2012 school year, leaving a corps of talented seventh-graders without access to competitive wrestling next year.

Contact Lisa Hartert at 384-5543 if you are interested in helping Glenwood Springs Middle School create opportunities for these students to compete next year.

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