Bearly falling short: Rifle heavyweight holds own with one of Class 3A’s best
RUMBLE IN THE ROCKIES SCORES
Rifle 30, Moffat County 25; Basalt 33, Grand Valley 24; Delta 59, Glenwood Springs 18, Coal Ridge 42, Rifle/Moffat County JV 12.
Rifle 48, Grand Valley 30; Moffat County 48, Basalt 9; Delta 71, Rifle/Moffat County JV 0; Glenwood Springs 42, Coal Ridge 15.
Rifle 54, Basalt 6; Moffat County 47, Grand Valley 15; Delta 81, Coal Ridge 0; Glenwood Springs 53, Rifle/Moffat County JV 12.
Round 1: Glenwood Springs 48, Rifle 30; Delta 52, Moffat County 3.
Round 2: Moffat County 37, Glenwood Springs 30; Delta 50, Rifle 12.
Round 1: Coal Ridge 54, Grand Valley 12; Rifle/Moffat County JV 30, Basalt 27.
Round 2: Rifle/Moffat County JV 45, Grand Valley 25; Coal Ridge 45, Basalt 18.
RIFLE — Jose Prado and Marcus Garcia have a mutual respect for one another on the wrestling mat. But despite a high level of respect each wrestler has for each other, Garcia holds a decisive advantage in the wins column.
Garcia, one of the top heavyweight wrestlers in Class 3A, was given all he could handle by the Rifle High senior. But the Delta senior had to get creative during their matchup at the Rumble in the Rockies Dual Tournament at Rifle High School, taking an early lead before riding it out to a 3-0 victory over Prado.
“Ever since last year he’s wanted to beat me because I beat him every time,” said Garcia, a towering heavyweight who has only lost twice this season. “And every time we wrestle, he becomes a little tougher to beat. And that’s OK. He’s getting better, and that’s helping me get better.”
No doubt, even though Garcia holds a 7-0 record against Prado in the past two seasons — he won all four matchups last season — there’s not much of a gap between the two. That’s especially true this season, as Garcia has won all three matchups by scores of 4-1 (on Dec. 13), 1-0 (this past Thursday) and the three-point victory on Saturday.
“He’s definitely one of my top competitors in the region,” said Prado, who has lost three of his five matches this year to Garcia.
Garcia’s overall performance on Saturday — he finished the tournament 5-0 — helped the Panthers easily claim five convincing dual victories and the overall tournament title in the eight-team event. Glenwood Springs, Moffat County and Rifle each finished with 3-2 records, but Glenwood was awarded the second-place trophy for scoring the most points between he three. Garfield County schools Coal Ridge and Grand Valley also took part in the tournament.
Garcia took the lead for good when he scored a takedown with 45 seconds remaining in the first period. Then, starting from the bottom position in the second period, Garcia went up 3-0 with an escape just 13 seconds into the stanza. Prado tried to get on the scoreboard by scoring an escape in starting from the bottom position in the third, but Garcia’s sheer size gave him the advantage and kept Prado off the scoreboard for the remainder of the match.
“That’s the first time that I’ve been able to ride him,” Garcia said. “I’m sure we’ll meet up again. We’ll probably wind up meeting in the regional final and, maybe, in the state final too.”
Rifle had its share of success outside of Prado, who won each of his other matches by either pin of forfeit. David Fugita, who wrestled at 138 pounds for Rifle, went unbeaten in each of his four matches with one pin and three forfeits.
Also going unbeaten during the day was Glenwood’s Myles Wilson, who finished 5-0 with four pins and a technical-fall victory. The 152-pounder has lost just one match this season. Going 5-1 was 120-pounder Riley Prough, who suffered just his third loss this season (2-0 to Delta’s Jayden Chynoweth) but won each of his other matches by pin. Remaining unbeaten this season was Glenwood’s Cristian Gonzalez, who went 5-0 with four forfeits. The lone match he wrestled came against Delta’s Alejandro Medina, who he pinned in 24 seconds.
Up next, Glenwood competes in a triangular with Steamboat Springs and Eagle Valley in Steamboat on Tuesday. Coal Ridge is at a dual at Battle Mountain on Tuesday, Grand Valley hosts a four-way meet on Thursday, and Rifle hosts Moffat County and Olathe in a triangular meet on Friday.
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