Devils grapplers take a step back at Warrior Classic
Eagle Valley wrestling coach Jeff Lueders wants his team to enjoy its two-week holiday break, but when school starts up again on January fifth, it’s back to work.
The Devils definitely didn’t wrestle up to expectations at last weekend’s Warrior Classic in Grand Junction, finishing in 11th place with 96 points.
The Devils finished behind 4A Meeker (fourth place, 128 points) and 3A Slope rival Hotchkiss (fifth place, 122 points) – both teams that the Devils beat at the Hotchkiss tournament on Dec. 6.
“I don’t think we wrestled really well,” said Lueders. “We need to work a little harder in practice. I hope this will make them work a little bit more.”
The Devils did have some good individual showings, in what was a deep 36-team field, but failed to put together a full team effort.
Chris Harvey had the best finish for the Eagles winning third place in the 152-pound class by beating Antonio Aguilar of Alamosa, 5-3.
Harvey lost a controversial decision in the quarterfinals to end up in the third place match – a no-call that cost him a shot at the title.
“He had a takedown right at the end and they didn’t give it to him,” said Lueders. “I thought it was a bad call. He ended up losing, 4-3.”
103-pounder B.J. Jaramillo also had a solid day for Eagle Valley, finishing in fourth place after losing to Montrose’s Taylor Gallegos in the third-place match.
Gallegos had scored a major decision over Jaramillo in an earlier match, sending him into the losers bracket. From there, Jaramillo went undefeated to earn a rematch.
Jaramillo gave Gallegos all he could handle the second time around, with Gallegos scoring the only points of the match with an escape point in the second period. Gallegos finally got Jaramillo on his back with 25 seconds left in the second period, and pinned him for the win.
Other strong performers were Chris Best, Tim Reitz and Gabe Velasquez.
Best made it all the way to the quarterfinals in the 135-pound division before losing to Crowley County’s Danny Geringer,19-9, and Reitz, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury sustained during the football season, also lost in the quarterfinals of the 145-pound weight class to Uintah’s (Utah) Kyle Bentley, 6-3.
“Tim lost a couple of close matches,” said Lueders. “I felt bad for him because he has only wrestled for two weeks. I think he’ll be there, though, when it’s time for state.”
Velasquez, who came into the weekend undefeated like Jaramillo, ended up taking fifth place in the heavyweight class by registering an injury default over Pueblo South’s David Muckel.
Velasquez lost earlier to Battle Mountain heavyweight Cody Stackpole to end up in the fifth-place match.
Stackpole made it all the way to the 275-plus championship before losing a hardfought decision to Sam Safken of Fruita Monument.
The Huskies ended up placing 23rd out of the 33-team field.
Nate Peterson is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 608 or via email@example.com
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.