Rifle handles Coal Ridge on the mat, 57-18
The Rifle Bears and Coal Ridge Titans squared off on the mat Tuesday evening inside Jack Smith Gymnasium in Rifle, for a rivalry matchup that saw the Bears put a convincing 57-18 win into the books over the Titans.
“I was very pleased with how aggressive we came out tonight. It was good to see,” Rifle Head Coach John Wisniewski said following the win.
Most pleasing to Wisniewski could have been the continued stellar wrestling of senior Brian De La Rosa, who ran his season record to 26-4 with a first period pin of Coal Ridge’s Colby Bilson in the 160-pound event. De La Rosa is fresh off an impressive third-place finish in last weekend’s Tournament of Champions in Vernal, Utah.
Freshman Alex Guardado, just up from the junior varsity squad, also gave his coach something to smile about as he scored a hard-fought fall win over Kaden Lord of Coal Ridge at 195 pounds, with just eight seconds showing on the second-period clock.
“We just put Alex up there tonight from the JV team, and he goes out and gets a win for us. Pretty exciting,” Wisniewski said.
At 138 pounds, recently back from a lengthy injury was Rifle’s Colt Rohrig. The senior, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, had a solid return to the mat in pinning Jared Richel in the first period.
Junior Pedro Guardado started off the evening in a positive manner for the Bears as he took an early 2-0 lead, then extended his margin to 6-2 at the end of the second period before taking an 8-2 decision from the Titans’ Couy Harrington. The Bears also got pins from freshman Bryan Soto at 120 pounds, Cauy Smith in a dominating performance at 126 pounds and sophomore Conrad Demann at 132 pounds, who turned a 14-1 lead into a pin with 1:17 left in his match against Eric DeVora.
The Titans, under coach Kalvin Deere, saw 113-pound Braxton Hauser turn a 4-0 deficit into a second period takedown and pin of Rifle freshman Gustavo Gonzalez. Colby Lord, in what could have been the most competitive match of the evening, took a 5-2 lead over Rifle’s Taylor Flynn at 152 pounds before closing out the match for Coal Ridge with a pin, as just 48 seconds showed on the third period clock. At 220 pounds, Coal Ridge’s Kevin Juarez pinned Rifle sophomore Alejandro Robles with 1:29 left in the second period.
Wisniewski was happy with his team’s dual match victory over the rival Titans, but the coach was most pleased with the improvement he is seeing from his young grapplers as crunch time of the season draws near.
“Everything we are doing right now is to try and get better and get ready for regionals in Alamosa on February 9th and 10th,” Wisniewski said.
Next up in the continued process for Rifle will be a trip to Craig on Thursday night, to take on the Moffat County Bulldogs. Rifle will then host the 10-team Rumble in the Rockies tournament Saturday, Jan. 20, inside Jack Smith Gymnasium in Rifle.
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