Star-studded Grand Valley squad looks to make noise … again |

Star-studded Grand Valley squad looks to make noise … again

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PARACHUTE, Colorado – With a core of state-seasoned wrestlers returning, Grand Valley’s wrestling program shouldn’t skip a beat in 2009-10.

The Cardinals, who were third-place state finishers in 3A last season and 2A state champs in 2008, boast five ranked wrestlers as they embark on the 2009-10 campaign.

Among those five: A 2008 state champ in Tyler Miles, a three-time state silver medalist in Ryan Gallegos and Jared Tonder, who owns second-, third- and fourth-place state finishes.

“It’s an all-new season, but we have the same great core of kids that we put out every year,” coach Rick Gallegos said. “They’re going to work hard.”

Miles, a senior who won Class 2A’s 152-pound crown in 2008, will wrestle at the same weight and is rated first in the class by On the Mat Rankings.

Senior Ryan Gallegos is ranked first at 145, the class in which he finished as 3A’s runner-up in February. He owns 3A’s top ranking in that weight class.

Tonder returns to the 140-pound weight class after placing second in 3A there last season. Like his teammates, the senior owns a No. 1 ranking.

Also ranked for the Cardinals are sophomore David Witt (No. 9 at 160 pounds) and junior Jerrod Busch (No. 6 at 135).

Busch is recovering from a wrist injury he suffered while playing football and will miss the season’s early going.

Some others Coach Gallegos expects to see contribute include Anthony Rhodes (171), Kelcey Satterfield (171), Dayne Culver (119) and Junior Stagg (112).

As a team, the Cardinals are ranked fourth behind No. 1 Centauri, No. 2 Lamar and No. 3 Valley.

No matter the level success that lies in Grand Valley’s wrestling future, Coach Gallegos can’t wait to get the season going.

“Our kids are experienced,” he said. “There are no prima donnas. These kids have been around the program for years and they’re just an awesome bunch. Even Witt, being only a sophomore, it feels like he’s been around forever. That little core group, I can’t ask for a better bunch. … They’re the crew I’ve raised since coming out of diapers. I don’t know if this will be my final season or not, but if it is, I’m going to enjoy the heck out of it.”

PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – Losing five seniors from last year’s team, first-year Coal Ridge wrestling coach Mike Mikalakis has some rebuilding to do. That said, the former collegiate wrestler does have plenty of young talent to work with.

“We’re kind of building up,” said Mikalakis, a Michigan native who wrestled at Olivet College. “We have a really good group of young kids. We have about 17 solid kids. It’s about as big as it’s been in a while.”

Among the group is 135-pound junior Neal Schultz, who qualified for state as a freshman and wrestled to a 29-14 record at 125 pounds as a sophomore. Schultz is ranked fifth in the 130-pound weight class by On the Mat, though Mikalakis said he likely won’t wrestle at that weight.

Others Mikalakis expects to see chip in are 171-pounder Rylan Richards and 119-pounder Trevor Larsen. Tucker Schultz should contribute in the lower weights and Alex Hunt in the upper weights.

“Practices have been going really well,” said Mikalakis, who was an assistant coach last season. “[Former coach] Rob [Grumley] had a good group of kids. He built the program up really nicely. I’m glad to be coming in and continuing what he started.”

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