Grand Valley’s Grice third, Cardinals teammate Jacobs fifth at 3A State Wrestling Championships

Glenwood’s Meraz, Rosenmerkel finish off the podium in 4A states

Grand Valley High School senior Hayden Grice, second from right, stands in the third-place spot on the podium at the 3A State Wrestling Championships at Ball Arena in Denver Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022.
Courtesy photo

It was a long road back for Grand Valley High School senior wrestler Hayden Grice just to make it to state, and a wild ride through the heavyweight brackets to take third at the 3A State Wrestling Champions in Denver Saturday.

Early this season, Grice broke a bone in his right arm when he got thrown hard to the mat.

“I had to have surgery and didn’t get to practice for about a month,” Grice said Sunday while reflecting on his comeback. “There was definitely a lot of trying to overcome that adversity. It was basically all mindset, because I knew I had the skill to get back to where I was going into the season.

“I definitely had to push through a lot of tiredness and pain to get there this weekend.”

Get there he did, wrestling his way Thursday and Friday to the 285-pound semifinal at Ball Arena with wins in the first two rounds over Conifer freshman Ben Metzger in 33 seconds, then defeating Manitou Springs senior Terry Lindh on a 12-7 decision.

“That second match was probably the hardest of the tournament, because it was my first time wrestling a full six minutes since last year,” said Grice, who finished sixth at state in both his sophomore and junior years and entered this year as the No. 2 seed with a record of 14-9.

His bid for a state championship got upended in the semifinal match when he was pinned at the 5:45 mark by the eventual state runner-up, senior Kane Fobare of Weld Central, who came in at an impressive 34-8.

Grice went on to pin Strasburg senior Jesse Burt in 2:47, which led to a familiar opponent in Platte Valley senior Lane Weimer.

“I had wrestled him last year and lost by pin,” Grice said. “This year I was more dominant and felt in control of the match.”

Grice got the pin over Weimer at 3:41 to take third-place honors.

“I knew I had to step it up to get third place, and I’m just glad I had the stamina to do it,” said Grice, who hopes to wrestle for Western Colorado University next year.

Following his third-place match, Grice got to watch junior teammate Teagan Jacobs take fifth place in the 113-pound class, pinning Sterling junior Aden Young in 2:14 on Saturday.

Jacobs entered the tournament at 36-5, scoring a 3-2 win over Mullen sophomore Antillon Gilbert to open, then beating Severence sophomore Devante Sisneros by fall in 2:52.

Jacobs then fell in the semifinal in 3:11 to freshman Brock Fry, the eventual runner-up, of Gunnision in 3:11, and lost 8-4 to Brush freshman Nick Dardanes, knocking Jacobs to the fifth place match.

“I enjoy seeing my teammates do well, and I was excited to see him place. We’ll see what he can do next year,” Grice said of Jacobs.

Eleven other wrestlers from Garfield County and Basalt competed at the state championships over the weekend.

In the 4A tournament, Glenwood Springs senior Ray Rosenmerkel lost his 138-pound opening-round match by technical fall, 16-0, after 4:42 to Grand Junction Central junior Dagen Harris, then lost 2-0 to Standley Lake senior Sampson McClung.

At 132 pounds, Demons sophomore Leo Meraz lost by a fall in 5:21 to Roosevelt senior Jorge Torres before pinning Cheyenne Mountain senior Brennen Feign in 4:13. He fell just short of wrestling for a medal when Pueblo County junior Boden White got the pin in 4:28.

In other 3A state wrestling action this weekend, for Grand Valley: senior Aydan Fisher (152 pounds) lost on technical fall 15-0 in 1:42 to Sterling senior Casteus Combs, then lost to Florence senior Jacob Kennedy 9-2; Cardinals senior Bryden Harper (220 pounds) fell in 1:29 to James Irwin senior Jack Hustoles, then fell in 3:47 to Jefferson junior Hector Hernandez; Cardinals junior Dominic Mendoza (160 pounds) lost by fall in 1:36 to Eaton freshman Gunnar Clary, then lost on a 4-3 decision to junior Bobby Holt of Severence.

For Coal Ridge, junior Angelo Perea (220 pounds) lost to Classical Academy junior Tanner Eide, won by fall in 1:36 over Mullen freshman Ami Hall, then lost 4-3 to Skyview senior Brandon Gutierrez; Titans sophomore Cooper Thurmon was pinned in 0:47 by Sierra senior Daryl Mills, then won 4-3 over University junior Drew Ayres, before bowing out with a 7-1 loss to Moffat County senior Anthony Duran.

For Rifle, sophomore Parker Miller (138 pounds) fell in 1:11 to Skyview junior Isaac Ibarra, won a 13-7 decision over JFK junior Gabriel Little, then bowed out with a 7-5 loss to Eaton junior Jake Hergenreter; and Bears senior Levi Miller lost on a technical fall 20-4 in 5:17 to Resurrection Christian senior Eddie Lemons, then lost 9-3 to Fort Lupton senior Isaac Rodriguez.

For Basalt, junior Jose Munoz (285) lost in 1:45 to Eaton senior Lucas Cass of Eaton, won in 2:43 over Abraham Lincoln junior Alex Bilbrey, then lost to Platte Valley’s Weimer in 0:45; Longhorns junior Brady Samuelson lost to Eaton freshman Cal Sidwell, then pinned Jefferson senior Valentino Duran in 4:15, but bowed out on a 11-4 decision to Middle Park sophomore Eli Broady.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

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