Grand Valley wrestlers second at Palisade |

Grand Valley wrestlers second at Palisade

Staff Report Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Phil Sandoval/Grand Junction Free Press Grand Valley's James Drinkhouse battles Eagle Valley's Matt Kottenstet (top) in a 125-pound weight class match at Saturday's Palisade Invitational.

PALISADE – Applying a slow and steady approach in his championship match against Wesley Shingleton, Grand Valley’s Jared Tonder escaped Saturday’s Palisade Invitational wrestling tournament with the 135-pound title. His team did nearly as well.Tonder, a sophomore at the Class 2A school, finished off Shingleton, of Class 4A Palisade, to win by decision, 11-6. That, coupled with a second-place finish at the big-school tournament, made for quite the weekend for the Cardinals. Only 5A Grand Junction finished above Grand Valley.

“This is the best team we’ll have like ever, so I want to make the best of it,” Tonder said.The exhausting, three-period title match wore on the young Cardinal, though it paled in comparison to the rigors of practice.”I got tired but (head coach) Rick (Gallegos) has been really pushing us very hard in practice,” Tonder said. “I run out of gas in practice, so I tend not to run out of gas as soon as the other guys here.”Tonder wasn’t the only Grand Valley wrestler to stand atop the podium. Brothers Tyler (152 pounds) and Cody Miles (160) were also tops in their brackets. Tyler pinned Palisade’s Tanner Barnes at the 5 minute, 36 second mark in their final match, and Cody earned a 9-0 decision over Grand Junction’s Daniel Harris in his final.The Cards’ James Drinkhouse made the 125-pound final, falling to Conifer’s Nate Fisk in his bid for a title. Teammate Tyler Harris lost to Devon Brown of Paonia in the 171-pound title match.Of note, Grand Valley finished ahead of Class 2A power Paonia for a second straight weekend after knocking off the Eagles at Paonia’s home meet last weekend. Paonia is ranked No. 1 as a team in the 2A ranks by On The Mat, while the Cardinals sit at No. 3.That might just change soon.

VERNAL, Utah – Rifle coach John Wiesnewski loves the competition his team’s yearly trip to Utah provides.Facing strong programs from the states of Utah, Wyoming and Colorado, the Bears held their own by finishing 12th at the weekend’s 40-plus team Vernal Tournament.Several Rifle wrestlers finished high in their respective weight classes, with Tad Davis’ bronze in the 215-pound bracket leading the way. Brian Key took fourth at 189, while Abe Dennis (160) and James Conrardy (135) each placed fifth.

CEDAREDGE – Filling only seven weight classes, Coal Ridge didn’t expect a high finish at Saturday’s Cedaredge Invitational dual tournament, but the Titans did manage a few solid individual performances.Keenan Grumley, wrestling at 135 pounds, and 171-pounder Kevin Laidlaw each went 5-0 in Coal Ridge’s five dual matchups. Neal Schultz wrapped the tourney with a 3-2 record at 112.The Titans’ lone team victory was a 30-27 win over Center. They lost to Hotchkiss (66-18), Glenwood Springs’ junior varsity team (41-30), Lake County (30-27) and Cedaredge (36-30).After a slow start, Coal Ridge coach Rob Grumley saw a heightened effort from his squad.”We looked really bad the first round,” he said, “but the rest of the day they wrestled pretty tough. I was pretty happy with their performance. They were getting after it, being pretty aggressive.”Phil Sandoval of the Grand Junction Free Press contributed to this report.

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