Demons battle back to top Cardinals on the mat, 42-31
Facing deficits of 12-0 and 19-12 early in Thursday’s dual against the host Grand Valley Cardinals in Parachute, the Glenwood Springs Demons wrestling team was able to battle back before pulling away late for a 42-31 win over the Cardinals in the local dual.
“We’re pretty happy with the way the boys responded because it’s hard to respond if you fall behind early,” Glenwood assistant head coach Miles Cook said. “They got on a little bit of a roll there once Erik [Krauth] came out and won his match for us and then Mathew [Flores] took care of business quickly. Once we got to Juan Felan, we felt alright. He had his head in the game and was very focused tonight, which rubbed off on some of our other guys as well. We’re young, so it’s fun when you see your kids play off of one another.”
Following four quick junior varsity matches prior to the start of varsity, Grand Valley freshman Caleb Frink picked up a forfeit win in the 113-pound weight class, giving the Cardinals a quick 6-0 lead on its home mat. Standout junior AJ Serna added to Grand Valley’s lead in the 120-pound match with a pin in the first period with just 12 seconds left moments after taking a quick 2-0 lead via takedown against Glenwood’s Max Burrell.
Holding a 12-0 lead, Grand Valley sent Nick Wells to the mat in the 126-pound weight class against Glenwood’s Erik Krauth, but the strong Demon wrestler controlled the match from start to finish, recording a takedown, scoring a point on a technical violation on Wells, escaping from the bottom to start the second period and then scoring three near-fall points for an 8-0 lead. After coming up short of a pin, Krauth continued to force Wells to his back before scoring the fall win with just 16 seconds left in the second period, getting the Demons on the board trailing 12-6 through three matches.
Building off of Krauth’s win by fall, Glenwood’s Mathew Flores followed up with a win by fall of his own, defeating Grand Valley’s Isaac Tigert with 1:07 left in the third period after the two wrestlers traded blow for blow on the mat in a hotly contested match.
“Mathew really kept the pressure on and kept the pace at his pace, which is higher pace,” Cook said. “When he was on top, he didn’t give Tigert time to breathe. Eventually, the kid sort of wilted to the pressure Mathew was applying.”
Tied at 12-12 through four matches, Grand Valley’s Hector Arzate and Glenwood’s Chase Vigil squared off in the 138-pound match in what turned out to be arguably the match of the night.
Both Arzate and Vigil spent the first minute or so of the match feeling each other out before Vigil drew first blood, scoring a takedown to take a 2-0 lead. Arzate then responded to start the second period with a takedown of his own to tie the match at 2-2 before the Grand Valley junior scored three near-fall points to take a 5-2 lead. Vigil was able to avoid the fall, escaping back to his feet to make it 5-3, but Arzate then scored an escape of his own working from the bottom to start the third period, stretching his lead to 6-3.
A takedown by Arzate midway through the third period made it 8-3 before Vigil was able to escape, pulling to within 8-4, but that would be it for scoring in the period as Arzate held on for the 8-4 decision win, giving Grand Valley a 15-12 lead.
“We been telling him [Arzate] to commit to his shots because he’s got a mean double-leg takedown,” Grand Valley Head Coach Clint Whitley said. “He was finally able to hit them nicely tonight. It was one of the better matches I’ve seen from Hector this year, and I’m very pleased with his progression.”
Holding a 15-12 lead, Grand Valley sent standout junior Jonathan Pena to the mat to square off with Glenwood’s Josh Sanchez.
From start to finish, Pena controlled the match, scoring three takedowns, two near-falls and four reversals to cruise to a 17-3 major decision win, stretching Grand Valley’s lead to 19-12 midway through the match.
“Jon worked on top really well tonight,” Whitley said. “His takedowns are unreal, and he showed that tonight. His speed and ability to see opportunities for takedowns are pretty impressive. The last couple matches he hasn’t been able to come close to near falls, so to do that twice tonight was good to see from him.”
Looking to build off of Pena’s major decision win, Grand Valley sent Carlos Flores to the mat in the 152-pound match to take on Glenwood’s Juan Felan. Much like Pena’s match, it was all Felan, who scored three takedowns and two near falls to take a commanding 11-1 lead before pinning Flores with just 1:44 left in the second period, pulling Glenwood to within one point at 19-18.
Glenwood followed up with a forfeit win in the 160-pound match to take a 24-19 lead before Amos Wilson quickly dispatched Grand Valley’s Levi Nolan in the 170-pound match, stretching Glenwood’s lead to 30-19.
“I was trying to get Amos’ attention early in the match to slow down the pace because Levi was pushing the pace, but he was comfortable with how it was going,” Cook said. “He went with it. Levi’s a pretty strong kid. Amos was able to stay in good position and capitalize on mistakes.”
Following a quick Glenwood run to take an 11-point lead, Grand Valley’s Michael Kelly hit the mat against Glenwood’s Vincent Villegas in the 182-pound match and quickly pinned him, righting the ship briefly for the Cardinals. Kelly scored a quick reversal and then two near-fall points to push his lead to 4-0 before picking up the win by fall with just 13 seconds left in the first period.
“The last two weeks or so, Michael’s kind of been my own personal project,” Whitley said. “He’s worked hard and has really impressed me this season. He’s aggressive and doesn’t make mistakes, which makes him hard to deal with.”
Trailing by five late in the match, Grand Valley ran out of wrestlers as Glenwood picked up forfeit wins in the 195-pound and 220-pound weight classes to take a 42-25 lead before the Cardinals picked up a forfeit win in the 285-pound match, closing out the scoring at 42-31 Glenwood.
The Demons will be off until next Thursday when they travel to Coal Ridge for another local dual, while the Cardinals will wrestle three straight days, starting in Summit Friday evening.
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Fans, players and coaches on both sides of Stubler Memorial Field seemed to know it would come down just the way it did, regardless of who had the ball at the end.