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Cardinals host league wrestling meet

Joelle MilholmPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kara K. Pearson Post Independent file photo
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PARACHUTE – They’ve done it twice. Now they’ll see if they can do it three times.As the Grand Valley Cardinals host the Class 2A Western Slope League wrestling meet on Saturday, they will once again be pitted against Paonia – ranked No. 1 by to On the Mat, though the Cardinals have beaten them twice.The Cards have knocked off the Eagles the last two weekends, including topping them 225-208 at the Screaming Eagle Tournament on Paonia’s turf and finishing higher than them at the Palisade Invitational.Both times the Cardinals have entered tournaments with Paonia, there has been a mix of classes ranging from 5A to 2A, and that’s why Grand Valley head coach Rick Gallegos believes they have stayed in the No. 1 spot and Grand Valley has stayed at No. 3. “I know what On the Mats is doing, they are looking when we go to these tournaments, there are a lot of tough teams at these tournaments that are helping clean Paonia up a little bit,” Gallegos said. “These are all 3A, 4A, 5A teams.”On the Mat rankings are based on how a team will do at state and don’t really look at who wins and loses tournaments and duals each week.”When it comes to a 2A format, they are a lot deeper than us as far as they have kids that will place in every tournament,” Gallegos said of Paonia. “We have kids that will potentially place in every tournament and we have our studs and then we have some guys on the fringe. They have their studs and then guys that are in the mix. That is the difference between us when it gets to regionals and state.”It doesn’t change the fact that the Cards have beaten them twice and will look to do it again when the eight WSL teams come to Parachute on Saturday. Grand Valley is loaded with talent from the Miles brothers who have wrestled their way to back-to-back tournament championships the last two weekends (Tyler at 152 pounds and Cody at 160) to Jared Tonder, who is fresh off a 135-pound title last weekend at Palisade. Matt Cain (145 pounds), Ryan Gallegos (130), James Drinkhouse (125) and Jerrod Busch (119) are also threats to take anyone down.The Cardinals will again have their hands full going against Eagles’ wrestlers like Devon Brown, who is 17-0 this season, has five tournament wins under hit belt including a Warrior Classic title and is currently ranked No. 1 in the 2A 171-pound weight class. He is the only Paonia wrestler ranked No. 1 in the state and Cody Miles is the Cardinal boasting a top ranking for Grand Valley.After hitting the mat together two weekends in a row, the teams have gotten to know each other well.”We are familiar with them and they are pretty familiar with us,” Gallegos said.Usually Meeker is another talented squad the league, but it, like most WSL teams, is down in numbers.”North Park has four kids, Soroco has five kids, West Grand has five kids, so the brackets won’t necessarily be full,” Gallegos said. “Paonia will bring their varsity and five or six JV kids. We have four JV kids. “Even Meeker’s program, they’re a powerhouse, they are down. I think they have eight.”Gallegos said that lots of Meeker wrestlers turned away from the sport and joined the basketball team. It is something that has happened to him in the past, like when Danny Manzanares, a 2007 GVHS graduate, wrestled for two years and then went to basketball. Despite being a freshman at Mesa State College, Manzanares has now rejoined the Cardinals as a volunteer assistant coach.So for the third time in as many weeks Grand Valley will be gunning for a win over 2A’s top dog and the action starts at 10 a.m.The Cardinals have one stop before the tournament however, as they will host 4A Glenwood Springs for a dual at 6 p.m. on Friday night.


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