Two Grand Valley seniors to participate in college sports |

Two Grand Valley seniors to participate in college sports

Newly graduated Grand Valley High School seniors Peyton Nye and Hayden Grice may have a summer to enjoy. Once it’s over, however, they’ll be suiting up for collegiate athletics.

Just before their high school careers ended, Grice signed on to wrestle for Western Colorado University in Gunnison, while Nye signed on to rodeo for the University of Wyoming.


One could argue Nye was placed on this earth to do rodeo.

“I’ve been riding since I’ve been able to stand on my own,” she said.

Nye was a participating member of the Colorado High School Rodeo Association for two years as well as 4-H for five years.

With rodeos being a big part of her life, Nye said she wanted to continue riding in some capacity following high school. Come this fall, she’ll be back in the saddle with one of the most prestigious college rodeo programs in the country at the University of Wyoming.

She has her sights set on competing in barrel racing and breakaway roping, she said.

“It’s a really big honor to be able to continue my rodeo career for such a big school that’s known for rodeo,” she said. “I want to live up to those standards.”

But it’s not necessarily about the glory for Nye. Instead, it’s all about doing better than her last round with her horse, Whisky. Nye raised Whisky since a foal.

To end a rodeo two weeks ago, Nye said she and Whisky managed to break their best time set during a previous rodeo.

“If I mess up, we mess up together,” she said. “I trained my horse from the ground up, and when I got him, he knew absolutely nothing.”

Nye is the youngest child of Lant Kitson and Megan Evers, and the oldest of Josh and Kristi Nye. She has six siblings, three sisters and three brothers.

Nye plans to study agricultural business at Wyoming. Meanwhile, she said she’s excited to participate in rodeo as a Cowboy.

But that’s not the most important thing for her.

“I’m not really worried about being at the top,” she said. “I’m really worried that (my horse Whisky) and I are doing the best that we can do.”


Grice’s biggest feat came when he healed from a broken arm. The 285-pound Grand Valley wrestler was essentially sidelined all season and didn’t compete on the mat until regionals.

But that didn’t stop him from doing well enough to nab a third-place state tournament trophy this season.

He practiced only five times before accomplishing all this, he said.

“My mental state, I wasn’t really in it while I had my arm broken,” he said. “But when I got back to wrestling, it made my mindset go pretty well.”

Going on to wrestle collegiately for Western is a welcomed reality for Grice, who liked what he saw when he toured the campus.

“I really like the coach. They’re really nice people,” he said. “The energy in the room also feels really amazing.

“I’m really happy to pursue my future with them.”

Grice, the son of Charlie and Celeste Grice, said he intends to study subjects in biology or agriculture and environment.

This summer, Grice said he plans to work wrestling camps at Western as well as participate in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.

As for the upcoming season at Western?

“I think I’ll probably red shirt my freshman year,” he said. “But I’m really pumped to get into the room and start working again.”

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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