Rifle’s Conrardy advances in state tournament
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
DENVER Colorado” Joaquin Marquez was trying every trick in the book. He scrambled, he flipped, grabbed wrists and did everything in his power to hold his shoulders off the mat.
It didn’t matter, he couldn’t do anything that would shake the grip of Rifle wrestler James Conrardy, who pinned the Ranum 135-pound junior in 1:22 in Thursday’s first round of the Class 4A state tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Conrardy, a junior in his third trip to state, secured Marquez early and never let him
go for Rifle’s lone winner of the day.
“Getting it under the belt is a good thing the first day, getting day one over with,” Conrardy said. “It’s a good confidence booster.”
Fellow Bear Brian Key drew one of the toughest matches in the 189-pound bracket, facing Greeley West’s Justin Waterman, who’s only lost one match this year. Key lost by a major decision 10-0. At 215, Tad Davis fought hard, but fell to Broomfield’s Nick Zissimos by a close 4-1 decision.
It wasn’t hard to spot the Rifle wrestling team on Thursday as the Bears stood out with their died-golden locks.
Facing two top wrestlers with only seven losses between them, Rifle’s 103 and 119-pounders, Larry Schmueser and James Martinez both fell in their matches on Thursday night. Schmueser, a freshman, and Martinez, a sophomore, can still place by battling through the consolation rounds slated to follow the championship quarterfinals, which start at 1 p.m. today.
Rifle athletes have been known for the look for a few years, with players from football to basketball and wrestlers bleaching their hair. Normally, on each team, there are a few Bears that don’t go for the yellow-top style. Not this team, not this year.
“On the way up here everybody had their hair died except our coaches and one kid, our 160-pounder Abe Dennis,” Conrardy said. “We all pushed him into doing it and his mom didn’t want to because graduation is coming up, and so we finally got it okayed with his mom like an hour before we left to come here. Then last night when we went to bed, woke up and the coaches had their hair done. It was pretty funny.”
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