Demons, Bears gear up for the coming wrestling season
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Last year, the Glenwood Springs wrestling team didn’t have any seniors. This season, the Demons have a senior class like no other. Blake Newby, Matt Davis, Lance Tsosie, Tyler Rossow, Nick Croissant and Shea Nickel were the first freshmen to wrestle for Glenwood when it came back as a varsity program in the 2004-05 season.”They are the original group of freshmen that got the team back,” said 20-year coach Guy Brickell, who was with the team all through its junior varsity years. “…Pretty cool to see that, to reap the benefits.”While Rossow was the only Glenwood state qualifier last year, Newby has wrestled in the state meet in the past. However all six seniors are very experienced and could make for the most successful season since the Demons came back to varsity. Their athleticism will also help.
“They are basically the foundation of the football team,” Brickell said.Another factor that helps the Demons’ squad is Brickell’s consistency. Not only does his background as a wrestler at Coronado High School in Colorado Springs and Western State College in Gunnison help, but so does the fact that his grapplers love wrestling for him. And he loves coaching them, even after 20 years.”It changed a little bit, but wrestlers are wrestlers. They are just a different breed,” Brickell said. “The like hard work. They are loyal as can be, they are different, a lot of character. … They are just good guys, good kids.”The seniors will make for a strong contingency on the team, but there are also 14 freshmen on the squad. Between varsity and junior varsity, Glenwood has 35 wrestlers out, almost doubling last year’s size. Brickell’s position as the freshman football coach for Glenwood helped increase the numbers.”We pretty much recruited the freshman football team,” he said.Brickell’s goals for the team are the same this year and they have been the past three seasons the Demons have competed at the varsity level. This season, he believes his seniors can take it a step further.”Their goal has always been to re-establish the program, and that is pretty much what they have done,” Brickell said. “A lot of these kids are in there because they (the seniors) have done some heavy recruiting, and the kids look up to them. More than anything else, we just want to be competitive on the mat. If they’ll be competitive, the rest will come.”
The Demons will hit the mat for the first time on Dec. 6 when they host Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley at 6 p.m.Four state qualifiers return for Rifle RIFLE – Rifle may have graduated four state-qualifying wrestlers, but the good news for the Bears is they also have four returning.Senior Abram Dennis, juniors Brian Key and James Conrardy as well as sophomore James Martinez will all bring their experience and talent to the mats this year, looking to lead the Bears’ traditionally strong program. Around 20 wrestlers are on the team and third-year coach John Wisniewski is pretty pumped about the squad’s talent and its inspired high goals.”The No. 1 goal is to place first at every tournament we enter this year, that includes regionals and state,” Wisniewski said of his team, which holds a No. 9 ranking at the Class 4A level according to RockyPreps. “That’s the ultimate prize. As a team we want to have the most take downs at state, and most pins.”A strong core of juniors, along with two seniors, should contribute to that goal.
“We have a lot of juniors this year (six), and all of them are really stepping up and toeing the line,” Wisniewski said. “Big guys that are stepping up and starting to lead right now are James Conrardy and Brandon Brown.”Conrardy took third in the 119-pound division at state last year, whereas Brown missed most of the season after breaking and dislocating his elbow. Wisniewski expects Brown, one of the team’s two seniors, to make a big impact this year. Three freshmen, Larry Schmueser, Keaton Deere and Marcus Arroyo, have also jumped in for the Bears and assumed three varsity spots. The three youngsters, as well as the rest of the varsity Bears, will see their first test on Saturday in the six-team, dual tournament at Fruita Monument High School.”All of our wrestlers get five matches instead of the possibility of two,” Wisniewski said. “That’s especially good for our young guys that are going to be filling varsity spots for the first time.”For the first tournament, Wisniewski and assistant/fitness coach Alfonso Alfini are expecting their wrestlers to be in shape.”Conditioning is really good right now. That is always the key element in wrestling,” Wisniewski said. “I came in with the attitude this year to really bust them with some conditioning so that maybe in that first tournament if we lack in some of the wrestling that we can overshine in the third period when everybody else is sucking wind.”Good fitness will probably come in handy for Rifle’s first dual matchup of the tournament, which happens to come against Western Slope rival Moffat County, which is ranked No. 7 in RockyPreps. The Bears will also take the mat with Palisade in the season opener. Wisniewski believes the Bulldogs will be very good.
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