Neely helps put Grand Valley on wrestling map
DENVER – Jesse Neely isn’t going to Disneyland, but his wrestling ability took him to the magic kingdom of Colorado prep wrestling this weekend.
In the two days the Grand Valley High School junior participated in the Class 2A state tournament Neely laid a foundation for all future Cardinal wrestlers to follow.
“When I came to Denver, I was nervous because the Pepsi Center is so huge,” Neely said. “But, It was awesome and it was worth making it.
“Pro hockey players play here and make millions of dolIars,” he continued. “I feel like I’m famous with all these people watching.”
Prior to being eliminated from the Class 2A, 103-pound tournament with a second-round consolation loss, Neely had already made a claim to fame.
On Thursday, Neely became Grand Valley’s first wrestler to compete in state championship match.
His 47-second pin of Merino’s Jason Trout was the second-fastest win in the weight that day.
“I beat him with my speed and strength,” said Neely. “But, no one out here is easy, to make the top 16 in the state you have to be good.”
Advancing to the championship quarterfinals Neely wrestled Jess Vialpando, the state’s No. 3 wrestler in Class 2A, to a 9-all tie at the end of the second period until Viapando took the lead for good with 1 minute, 19 seconds left in the match.
Neely managed an escape point later in the period, but failed to score again in a 16-10 defeat.
In his final match against South Park’s Jeff Parson, Neely had pulled to a 4-4 tie in first period until Parson took control to pull away to a 10-4 lead.
The Cardinal wrestler’s disappointment showed in his face afterwards, but Grand Valley coach Rick Gallegos was pleased with Neely’s performance.
“Nobody knew him before coming here,” Gallegos said. “Now everybody knows him, and they know Jesse’s a good wrestler.”
Neely is unsure of what weight he plans to wrestle at next year, but, he’s determined to return to the big show next year.
“I’m definitely going to put on some muscle during the summer,” he said. “And there is another year for me to make state – that’s what I’m going for.”
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I have read every book that Mitch Albom has written, most of them more than once.