Rifle finishes 3-0 at home tourney | PostIndependent.com

Rifle finishes 3-0 at home tourney

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

RIFLE, Colorado – Nick Mellon had to be talked into giving wrestling a whirl. Now, he couldn’t be happier his coaches sold him on the sport.

“Well, the coaches really pushed me,” the Rifle High School senior said. “They gave me two weeks to do what I want, to see if I liked it. I stuck with it.”

Sticking with wrestling has reaped big rewards for the 6-foot-6 Mellon, who’s rather quickly developing technique and an IQ for the sport. With a towering frame to go along with the newfound technical knowledge, the heavyweight is starting to come into his own.

Mellon demonstrated as much on Saturday, going 3-0 with three pins at Rifle’s home dual tournament, dubbed the Rumble in the Rockies.

“He keeps on improving each week,” Bears head coach John Wisniewski said.

Mellon wrestled briefly as a freshman in Wisconsin, but didn’t stick with it. Finally, in his third school year at Rifle, he’s back on the mat.

What’s kept him out there this time around?

“I think it was the unity of the team,” Mellon said. “It’s a great bunch of guys that I wrestle with.”

Winning doesn’t hurt, either.

“It’s been a lot more fun, especially when you start winning,” he said with a smile.

Mellon wasn’t the only Rifle wrestler to rack up the victories on Saturday.

Devon Godeski (112 pounds), Keaton Deere (119), Marcus Arroyo (135), James Martinez (140), Kyle Shaw (160) and Tyler Davis (171) all matched Mellon’s 3-0 record.

Matt Barrett (145) won two matches.

The Bears won all three of their duals to finish atop the four-team tournament’s standings. They beat Delta (45-25), Coal Ridge (50-16) and Pueblo West (61-18).

“You know, the whole team stepped up,” Wisniewski said. “I think they were a little excited to wrestle at home. It’s our first home dual of the year, the first time they’ve wrestled at home.”

His team stepping up at this time of the season is exactly what Wisniewski wants to see.

The Western Slope League dual tournament, which will be hosted by Rifle, is coming up Feb. 5-6 and the 4A Western Regional, where state meet berths are earned, is Feb. 12-13 at Mullen. The state tournament, held at the Pepsi Center in Denver, is Feb. 18-20.

“I think we can have a lot of kids at state,” said Godeski, a sophomore who scored two pins on Saturday. “The pressure at regionals is going to be there, but I believe if everyone goes out there and wrestles to their full potential, and if everything works out, I think we could have eight to 10 going to state, if not more.”

Anthony Walker led Coal Ridge’s contingent at Saturday’s Rifle tourney. The 189-pounder went 3-0 for the Titans, who dropped duals with Delta (55-7), Pueblo West (50-15) and Rifle (50-16).

Tucker Schultz (103) and Stephen Mobley (152) were both 2-1 on the day.

“I see little victories every time they step out on the mat,” Titans head coach Mike Mikalakis said. “I see kids picking up moves, running them and doing things properly.”


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