Grand Valley and Coal Ridge wrestlers ready to rumble
NEW CASTLE – Coal Ridge made huge strides with its wrestling program in 2006-07, sending five to the Class 3A state meet in Denver.Only three of those state qualifiers are back, and program numbers aren’t soaring through the roof, but coach Rob Grumley likes the quality of his dozen or so grapplers.”Getting over to that state championship exposure, it’s a great motivator for us,” he said. “They came in with a great attitude. They want to go back there, and they want to get on the podium.” Michael Cullen, Michael Larsen and Keenan Grumley all return for their junior season after state appearances, though they won’t be battling in the weight classes they tackled as sophomores.Cullen will likely start the 2007-08 campaign in the 135-pound weight class after making state at 140 last winter. Larsen will jump from 135 to 145 and Grumley, the coach’s son, will vault from 130 to 140. All is subject to change throughout the course of the season.
Josh Alsop and Bradey Gasaway are not returning after qualifying for state last year. Gasaway tore his anterior cruciate ligament during football, and Alsop didn’t go out for the team.Junior Kevin Laidlaw will step into Gasaway’s old spot at 171, and Coach Grumley likes his potential. “He didn’t qualify last year, but he’s doing a lot of good things,” he said. “I think he’ll turn the corner.”A talented group of youngsters also add promise to the Titans’ hopes. “We have a good class of freshmen,” Grumley said. “They might have a slow start because of lack of experience, but they’re just a hard-working bunch. They’re eager to learn and get good.”
PARACHUTE – Grand Valley wrestling coach Rick Gallegos couldn’t have asked for more from a talented group of freshmen last season. Four qualified to state and his son, Ryan Gallegos, finished as the Class 2A state runner-up in the 119-pound weight class.Now Gallegos, James Drinkhouse, Tyler Miles and Jared Tonder are sophomores, and ready to build on first-year success alongside the upperclassmen who joined them in Denver at state – seniors Cody Miles and Matt Cain.The elder Gallegos knew the Class of 2010 had some talent, but he never expected so much from them so quickly.”They shocked me with their mental toughness,” the sixth-year coach said. “I was excited to see what they’d do once they got to high school. I figured they’d take their lumps. They shocked me. They went above and beyond.”These youngsters have been wrestling together for years, first in Parachute’s pee wee program and then in middle school.”The sophomores this year have been together since, like, the first grade,” Ryan Gallegos said. “We’ve always been real good, done really well.”While most mentioned above wrestled in lower weight classes, Grand Valley also has some wrestlers in the fray that should pack a punch in some of the higher weight classes. Rick Gallegos named senior Tyler Harris (171), sophomore Colton Ostermiller (189) and junior heavyweight Joe Joiner as three Cardinals to keep an eye on.With the aforementioned state-qualifying cast returning, Grand Valley will remain tough as nails in the lower weight classes. As you’d expect with growing teenagers, there will be some lineup shifts in terms of who’s wrestling at what weight.After dominating the 119-pound weight class with a 34-2 record last season, Ryan Gallegos will move to 130. Drinkhouse, who last season wrestled 112s, will move to 119. Tonder will go from 130 to 135, Tyler Miles from 145 to 152, Cain from 135 to 142 and Cody Miles from 152 to 160.From top to bottom, Grand Valley should remain a contender in the Class 2A Western Slope League.”The 2A Western Slope League is one of the toughest regions,” said Coach Gallegos. ” I think we beat ourselves up before we ever get to state.”Not only do the Cardinals beat themselves up at meets, but also at practice.”They’re hard-working kids,” Gallegos added. “They do whatever I ask. I don’t get any complaints. I’m just lucky, I guess.”
“Sometimes he almost works me to tears,” Tonder said playfully. “Not really. We’ll do whatever he wants us to do. If everyone sticks with it, we should do pretty decent. It all depends on how hard we want to work.”
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