Demons take down Titans |

Demons take down Titans

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The playful wrestling that went on between Guy Brickell and Rob Grumley after their teams’ Wednesday dual wasn’t an exhibition match, but it was a sign of a friendly rivalry.

Brickell’s Glenwood Springs wrestlers and Grumley’s Coal Ridge grapplers had just gone toe to toe at the varsity level for just the second time in the schools’ history, and what emerged is a rivalry in the making.

Albeit a friendly one.

Chalk the 2008 meeting up to Glenwood, which escaped with a 43-33 win over Coal Ridge on its home mat.

And in front of a rowdy crowd that represented both schools well. That’s no surprise considering the schools are separated by a 20-minute-or-so drive.

“They’re our neighbors,” said Glenwood sophomore Chris Ayala, who wrestled to an 8-0 win over Rylan Richards at 171 pounds. “We know each other well. I wouldn’t call us brothers, but I wouldn’t call us enemies either.”

Ayala was one of four Demons to notch a contested win against the Titans.

Joining him were 112-pounder Mike Mills, 130-pounder Vincent Tsosie and 152-pounder Hunter McCallum. Both Tsosie and McCallum scored first-period pins.

Coal Ridge countered with five contested wins, but not filling four weights cost them a shot at victory.

Collin Carbone (103), Neal Schultz (125), Keenan Grumley (145), Kevin Laidlaw (189) and Bradey Gasaway (215) all won their matches. Grumley, Laidlaw and Gasaway each pinned their opponent.

The Titans had a few ineligible wrestlers, forcing them to hit the mat shorthanded.

Regardless, the night didn’t fall short in the drama department.

Mills’ win over fellow freshman Trevor Larsen was down to the wire, with Mills racking up an early 5-0 advantage and holding on for a 7-6 win.

Mills, the younger brother of Demon senior Greg Mills, says he’s benefited from some informal grappling with his sibling.

“He used to come home and beat me up,” Mike joked, “so I always wanted to get into (wrestling). … He can still kick my butt.”

Greg, too, took part in one of the night’s more intense matches. After trading points the entire showdown, Schultz managed a pin over Mills with just 34 seconds left in their 125-pound match.

“I didn’t want to let that one go,” said Schultz, whose pin came with the score tied at 6. “It was crucial to get those pin points.”

The in-match drama gave way to the post-match playfulness between Brickell and Grumley, who, as longtime valley coaches, go way back. The mutual respect between the two isn’t difficult to uncover.

“Rob is a very good coach,” said Brickell, whose son wrestled for Grumley at Basalt High School. “He’s brought those kids along, kind of like what we went through. He’s brought them along since they were freshmen, and now they’re seniors.”

Both schools are relatively new to the wrestling scene. Coal Ridge opened in 2005 and Glenwood Springs revived its program after an eight-year hiatus back in the 2004-05 season.

And both have sent many a wrestler to state since hitting the scene.

With such a spirited, close matchup going down Wednesday, varsity duels will no doubt become a yearly fixture between the neighboring schools.

“Those intense, close matches got the crowd going,” Grumley said. “Every pin was a huge deal. What killed us were all those open weights.”

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