Warrior podium a tough climb for Rifle, Grand Valley

Phil SandovalGrand Junction CorrespondentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Phil Sandoval Grand Junction Free Press

GRAND JUNCTION – First-day success at the Warrior Wrestling Classic sometimes raises false hopes for competitors.Such was the case Saturday when the eight area quarterfinalists, all of whom won two matches in their respective weights, resumed action in the two-day tournament at Central High School.With a shot at earning a championship medal in the prestigious 35-team event, all eight fell short of the goal.That’s no slam against the six area wrestlers who earned a tournament medal. It proves how tough the Warrior Classic is.

In many ways, securing a spot on the Warrior award podium is harder to achieve that at the state tournament. Rather than go by classification, the Warrior matches competitors by weight only.Throw in additional outstanding wrestlers from Utah and Arizona, who were part of the field, and it becomes understandable how the annual event has become one of the region’s best high school tournaments.Longtime Warrior participant Rifle had the highest local finishes. Heavyweight Tad Davis and 140-pounder James Conrardy each took fourth place.Conrardy, possibly, could have finished third. But, due to a shoulder injury, forfeited the match to Justin Samora from Montezuma-Cortez.

Davis, who moved back through the loser bracket after suffering a quarterfinal loss to eventual Warrior champ Justin Blackmore of West Jordan, Utah, was pinned by Grand Junction’s Isaac Valentine at the 28-second mark of the third-place match.Bears freshman Marcus Arroyo finished sixth in the 125-pound bracket when he was pinned by West Jordan’s Nicko Paraso.For Grand Valley, making its first Warrior appearance, the results show how strong the Cardinals have become. Tyler and Cody Miles both earned fifth-place medals in the 152- and 160-pound divisions, respectively. Sophomore Ryan Gallegos was sixth at 130.As a team, Grand Valley bested Rifle in the standings. The Cardinals’ 85.5 points was good for 14th place. Rifle, which totaled 76 points, finished 19th. Johnstown Roosevelt, a Class 3A school, won the team championship with 191 points, well ahead of larger schools Grand Junction (153.5 points) and Broomfield (150).

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