Great expectations? Hot start has Demons setting high goals on the mat
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The proverbial bar of accomplishment has been set a little higher this season for the Glenwood Springs High School wrestling team.
That’s because of the recent accomplishments of the Demons, who headed into Thursday’s dual meet against Grand Valley having won the Maverick Duals wrestling tournament at Mead. They also have a pair of unbeaten wrestlers in sophomore Riley Prough (120 pounds) and senior Cristian Gonzalez (195) to go with a one-loss season from sophomore Myles Wilson (152).
Those wrestlers, along with several other members of the Demons’ roster, did what was expected during Class 4A Glenwood’s 61-10 victory against Class 3A Grand Valley in the old gymnasium at Glenwood Springs High School. And with that success has come a new sense of confidence for the Demons, who were ranked No. 12 in the most recent On The Mat rankings that were released following the holiday break.
“Even the coaches were really excited when they saw that we were ranked as a team,” said Prough, who along with Gonzalez improved to 23-0 with a victory against his Grand Valley opponent. “We really feel we have a shot at doing well this season.”
How well has yet to be determined, but Glenwood is certainly off to one off its better starts in recent memory. Including Thursday’s victory, Glenwood has posted a 19-3 dual-meet record this season, going unbeaten in two of those dual tournaments.
“We knew at the beginning of the year that we were going to have some kids who were going to do something,” Glenwood assistant coach Miles Cook said. “But we’ve had some other kids who have stepped up since then.”
One of the kids Glenwood had high hopes for early in the season was Gonzalez, who is ranked No. 1 in Class 4A at 195 pounds. His opponent on Thursday, Grand Valley’s Evan Hoff, nearly prevented a first-round pin before Gonzalez overpowered him and ended it with a pin at the 1 minute, 49 second mark.
It was the 15th pin of the season for Gonzalez, who has won each of his other matches by forfeit.
“All I know is that all of the injuries I’ve had have kept me from reaching my potential,” said Gonzalez, who had season-ending injuries in both his sophomore and junior seasons. “This year, I know I can compete with the best of them.”
Wilson, a fifth-place finisher at the 4A State Championships in Denver last season, dominated against Miklo Apolinar and won by technical fall, 17-1, at the 2:47 mark. Prough’s technical fall didn’t take that long, as the sophomore won with a three-point nearfall at the end of the first period.
Grand Valley, meanwhile, has a younger team with wrestlers who are eager to compete and learn. Two sophomores — 220-pounder Johnathan Downing and 113-pounder Alia Poell — earned down-to-the-wire decisions against their Glenwood opponents. Downing used a takedown with 48 seconds remaining to pull off a 7-33 victory against Irvin Vasquez, and Poell got a takedown with 15 seconds left and escaped a reversal attempt in the final seconds to prevail against Porfi Perez. Also winning for the Cardinals was 132-pounder Kolten Rebel, who beat Juan Felan 11-1.
“We’ve got a lot of fight with everyone on this team,” first-year Grand Valley coach Ryan Frink said. “Even if we go down, we’re going to go down fighting. Just about everyone showed a lot of fight out there today.”
Earning wins by forfeit for Glenwood were Lance Page (138), Edgar Carbajal (160), Jose Diaz (170), Antonio Ordonez (182) and Gerry Viveros (heavyweight). Winning by pin was 126-pounder Larry Flores over John Riley (1:20). At 106, Felix Cano gutted out a 6-4 win over JT Lathem.
Glenwood heads to Evergreen to compete there in a tournament on Saturday. Grand Valley wrestles again on Saturday at the Rangely Invitational.
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