Eagle Valley boys wrestling wins Western Slope League championship
Good and Ward take second place for Devils and Devins and Vasquez each place second for Battle Mountain
Eagle Valley wrestling won the match that really counted Thursday in Grand Junction.
After being defeated by Glenwood Springs and Rifle at an early-season triangular, the Devils claimed the Western Slope League wrestling title on Thursday, amassing 112.5 points to beat runner-up Glenwood Springs by 6.5 points.
“We didn’t have a good showing between them — that was kind of a bummer then, but it was kind of redemption yesterday,” Eagle Valley head coach Melvin Valdez said. “They came out firing on all cylinders.”
Rifle finished with 78.5 points.
Braiden Ward (120 pounds) and Cole Good (126 pounds) both placed second individually to lead the Devils. Logan Aoki (132) finished third and Liam Loff (144) and Roke Velasco (165) each placed fourth. Ward earned all-conference honors, but because Good did not participate in a wrestle-back with a Steamboat Springs athlete, he technically finished third in the Western Slope results. That meant he just missed all-conference recognition, despite placing second in the overall meet, which featured teams from both the South West League and the Western Slope League.
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Battle Mountain had two standout, all-conference performances as well, with Grady Devins taking second in the 106-pound class and Tyson Vasquez earning runner-up in the 157-pound class.
Valdez said the main difference between this year’s Eagle Valley team and last year’s team is experience. Last season, senior Will Geiman placed third at state,
“As far as rebuilding this team, basically I had a ton of freshmen come in last year and now they’re sophomores and they are building the team,” he said, noting that he rotates captains regularly to help hone leadership. “They’re young, but they’re doing great for sure.”
The boys varsity West regionals are Feb. 10-11 in Durango, with the girls regional taking place at Battle Mountain on the same dates. There are four (South, Metro, West and North) in 4A boys wrestling, with the top four individuals in each weight class advancing to the state wrestling tournament at Ball Arena in Denver on Feb. 16-18.
Good, who made it to state last year as a freshman, is ranked third in the West region and eighth in the state according to OnTheMatRankings.com’s latest regional breakdown. His stiffest competition will come from No. 2-ranked Chris Lalonde of Roosevelt and No. 4 Thomas Velasquez of Pueblo. All told, five state-ranked athletes fill Good’s 126-pound bracket; two ranked athletes are in Ward’s weight class (No. 6 Joey Meza and No. 11 Wyatt Faris).
“It’s going to be tough,” Valdez said of qualifying for state. “Braiden has a really good chance, Cole has a tough region but I think he can do it, and we also have Alejandro Mendoza — a first-time wrestler this year at 215 — and he has a good chance of getting there, just looking at the region.”
1 Fruita Monument 278.5
2 Durango 122.5
3 Central of Grand Junction 115.5
4 Eagle Valley 112.5
5 Glenwood Springs 106.0
6 Montrose 104.0
7 Palisade 97.5
8 Steamboat Springs 93.5
9 Grand Junction 91.0
10 Rifle 78.5
11 Battle Mountain 40.0
12 Summit 13.0