Practice is over |

Practice is over

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen Post IndependentGrand Valley's Michael Salazar (top) wrestles to a win over Cedaredge's Daniel Martinez during Saturday's 3A Western Slope League duals in Parachute.

PARACHUTE, Colorado – As Grand Valley High School wrestling coaches Rick Gallegos and Ryan Frink pored over season records in the Parachute school’s main office on Saturday, Gallegos did his best to sum up exactly what those records mean.

“All that is just for regional entries,” the veteran coach said, pointing to a sheet listing records for each of his wrestlers. “Right now, everybody’s tied.”

With the conclusion of Saturday’s 3A Western Slope League duals, the door slammed shut on the regular season.

Next up: regionals and state.

“This is all just practice,” Gallegos said, again referencing that record sheet.

That said, Gallegos’ Cardinals turned in a solid day of practice on Saturday.

With a roster short on numbers, Grand Valley went 2-2 in duals. The Cardinals defeated Hotchkiss (31-30) and Gunnison (38-24) and lost to Cedaredge (39-33) and Olathe (47-15).

Several individuals came through with big days for Grand Valley.

David Witt pushed his season record to 36-0 with four wins at 170 pounds. Three of the senior’s victories came by pin.

Michael Salazar went 4-0 at 152 pounds and Miguel Valles had a perfect day at 120s.

Tucker Schultz (126 pounds) and George Stagg (132) both compiled 3-1 records.

Witt, who’s been to state three straight years, is as determined as ever as wrestling’s version of the playoffs approaches.

“This is definitely the path I want to be on so far,” he said. “All that matters is how I do next week. That’ll be it.”

Next weekend’s 3A Western Regional will play out Friday and Saturday at Montrose High School. There, wrestlers will vie for berths to the Feb. 16-18 state tournament, which will be held at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

“I think our team has a lot of heart,” said Salazar, a junior. “I think we can take all our guys to state this year.”

Rifle’s wrestlers pieced together a 4-1 record in five Saturday duals.

The Bears bested Hotchkiss (52-21), Coal Ridge (61-12), Gunnison (45-27) and Cedaredge (45-25). Their only loss of the day was to Olathe (44-28).

Senior A.J. Cordova racked up three pins en route to a 5-0 day at 170 pounds. Freshman Isaac Rider breezed to a 5-0 record at 120s, pinning three opponents and winning two matches by major decision.

“Isaac’s a machine out there, just going and going and going,” Rifle coach John Wisniewski said.

Austin Shepherd, a freshman, went 4-1 at 152 pounds.

“For this being his truly first year of competition, he just keeps going and going and going,” Wisniewski said. “He’s been really impressive.”

Coy Zang (132), Brandon Kittle (138), Tony Galaviz (160) and Clayton Coombs (182) all went 4-1 for the Bears. Rogelio Navarro (113), Saul Cerros (195) and Jose Prado (285) all finished with 3-2 records.

Kittle had a memorable match against Coal Ridge’s Devon Godeski, defeating the Titan in three overtimes, 8-7.

“Talk about exciting,” Wisniewski said. “That was probably my favorite match of the day.”

Godeski went 3-1 at 138 pounds and Collin Carbone 2-2 at 120s to pace Coal Ridge in Parachute on Saturday.

As a team, the Titans lost duals to Olathe (60-12), Rifle (61-12), Gunnison (42-28) and Hotchkiss (47-14).

“We knew we weren’t going to win matches since we didn’t have the numbers, but I think the kids did well at times,” said Coal Ridge coach Mike Mikalakis, whose squad has seen a drastic drop-off in numbers as the season’s worn on. “Overall, I think we’re on the upswing headed to regionals.”

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