Two from Grand Valley reach the finals |

Two from Grand Valley reach the finals

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen Post IndependentGrand Valley High School senior Ryan Gallegos breaks free of a hold during Friday's 3A, 145-pound semifinal match at the state wrestling tournament in Denver.

DENVER, Colorado – Elation didn’t appear to be Ryan Gallegos’ go-to emotion after earning a chance to wrestle for a state title.

The Grand Valley High School senior still has some work to do.

“I’m pretty excited,” Gallegos said moments after pinning Platte Valley’s Jordan Smith in Friday’s 3A, 145-pound semifinal at the state wrestling tournament. “But I’m still not there yet.”

Gallegos, who’ll be making his fourth straight appearance in a state title match, has yet to win one. He badly wants to change all that tonight when he faces Olathe’s Kris Nieto at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Gallegos has wrestled Nieto twice this season, beating him both times – but not by much.

“One was by one point and the other was a two-point match,” Gallegos relayed.

Gallegos, who wrestled in state finals at 119, 130 and 145 pounds the previous three years, says he’s mentally ready to bag a long-awaited state title.

“I think, mentally, I’ve gotten stronger,” he said. “I don’t think I was ready before. I was still a young wrestler.”

Joining Gallegos in the finals will be teammate Jared Tonder, who defeated Valley’s Cole Cunningham, 4-0, in Friday’s 140-pound semifinal.

Tonder was the state runner-up at 140 pounds last year. He said he’s doing his best to enjoy the state experience this year. He hopes it leads to a state title.

“When I’ve wrestled bad is when I’m not enjoying the mat,” the senior said. “When I do have fun, that’s when I do well, I think.”

Tonder will face Rye’s Brandon Padilla, a wrestler he knows little about.

“I didn’t even know who he was until today,” Tonder passed along.

Tonight’s finals start with a parade of champions at 6:30 p.m. The title matches start immediately afterwards.

Grand Valley’s Jerrod Busch (135 pounds) and Tyler Miles (152) weren’t as fortunate as their Cardinal teammates.

Both were tripped up in their semifinal matches on Friday.

Busch dropped a heartbreaking, 8-7 decision to Lamar’s Darrian Adame. Miles, a 2A state champion in 2008, lost a 12-10 decision to Centauri’s Iver Sandoval.

Miles held a 10-2 lead at one point in his match.

Both can still finish as high as third. They’ll next wrestle in today’s consolation semifinals.

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