Garcia leads way for Rifle wrestlers
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
Rifle High School’s wrestling team came away with plenty of victories during its annual Rumble in the Rockies dual tournament, which was held at the Rifle High school gym on Jan. 24.
The Bears came away with three dual victories, finishing in the upper half of the eight-team tournament with a 3-2 dual record. That wound up being good enough for a tie for second place with Glenwood Springs and Moffat County, though the rival Demons earned the second-place trophy thanks to its overall point total.
Still, that’s an accomplishment in itself considering many of the teams in the tournament field — including tourney champ Delta with its 5-0 dual record — are expected to compete for a regional team championship in their respective classifications. That said, many individual Bears more than held their own during the day long event.
At the top of that list was Isaiah Garcia, Rifle’s 113-pound wrestler, who finished the tournament with a 5-0 record. And although he’s the only member of the squad to accomplish that feat, there were others on the team (Alex Rivas at 170, Alex Cordova at 126, David Fugita at 138) who also posted winning records during the tournament.
Garcia was the most successful of the Rifle wrestlers, though. He won three of his matches by decision and two by pin, with the most convincing coming when he pinned Grand Valley’s Alia Powell in 1 minute, 13 seconds. His other pin came against Basalt’s Albert Marquez in 1:21.
Rivas nearly equaled Garcia’s effort, winning two matches by pin, one by forfeit and one by decision before falling 7-3 to Kory Mills in his final match of the day. Fugita went unbeaten on the day, but four of those victories were by forfeit. He now has 14 victories in his past 16 matches, according to statistics posted by the team on http://www.trackwrestling.com. Cordova finished the day 3-2, finishing with a pair of pins and a 7-5 decision against Larry Flores of Glenwood.
With the victories on Saturday, Garcia improved his win-loss record to 16-10. Others who improved their overall record were Fugita (22-6), Cordova (11-10) and Prado (24-5). Rivas is right behind Fugita for the team’s best overall record, improving to 22-8 with his 4-1 performance on Saturday.
Grand Valley has some success on the mat as well, even though the Cardinals were unable to come away with a dual victory as a team.
Sophomore 195-pounder Jonathan Downing came away from the tournament with a 19-7 record following five wins by forfeit during the tournament. Grand Valley 106-pounder JT Latham went 3-2 with a victory by pin to go with a pair of forfeits. Grand Valley’s Evan Hoff also won five matches by forfeit.
Rifle will wrestle again on Friday when the Bears host a triangular meet against Olathe and Moffat County. Grand Valley hosts a four-way wrestling meet at The Nest today against Basalt, Cedaredge and Moffat County. Both teams will tune up for their respective district tournaments on Feb. 7 when they compete in the Meeker Cowboys dual tournament.
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Local teams just missed out on qualifying for state as teams but will be sending individual representatives following Friday’s regional meets.