Vail Valley preps: Eagle Valley wrestling gives Palisade a fight |

Vail Valley preps: Eagle Valley wrestling gives Palisade a fight

GYPSUM – The last time Eagle Valley wrestling went up against Palisade, it wasn’t pretty. The Devils won just one of 14 matches in that dual.

“Last year, we took a beating, a physical assault,” Devils coach Ron Beard said. “It was horrible.”

Palisade is still Palisade – big and bad, and ranked No. 10 in the state, according to The Denver Post – but Eagle Valley showed it could hold its own its own in a 54-20 loss to the Bulldogs Thursday night in Gypsum. With the Devils missing wrestlers in three classes, Palisade topped Eagle Valley, 36-20, in contested bouts.

“We came out and competed tonight and that was really cool,” Beard said. “I’m very proud of those guys.”

The coach had two mottos for the week – “Make something happen or Palisade is going to make it happen to you,” and “Don’t be afraid to try something. Just don’t mess it up twice.”

There was also the less-witty, but equally-effective motivational technique. Beard told 145-pounder Cole Nielsen and 152-pounder Andrew Vigil that they had to win. And they did.

The Devils were down, 18-0 with two forfeits and a pin at 140, when Nielsen took the mat against Palisade’s Connor Charlesworth. Nielsen was in trouble in the first period, but rallied in the second with a reversal.

“I guess he tried to take me down and I came out on top of him,” Nielsen said. “That was really the main part.”

And Nielsen had all the momentum from there. He pinned Charlesworth at 5:06 for six team points.

Vigil followed with another six. From the stands, it looked like the sophomore was being hesitant in his bout with Price Hawley. That was not the case.

“I knew he was strong, so I had to use my technique,” Vigil said. “I worked really hard it practice.”

Methodically, Vigil built a 9-2 lead and got his pin at 3:56.

Eagle Valley’s Matt Kottenstette gave his team a major decision, 8-0, over Eddie Vial. Beard said Kottenstette was going for the pin, but Vial appeared content with taking the loss, simply trying to extend the match to the full 6 minutes, which he did.

Palisade got the better of Eagle Valley in the higher weights, winning at 189, 215 and heavyweight. Damien Attencio stemmed the tide a bit back down at 103, beating Kyanna Martinez, 15-5, for a major decision. Palisade’s Dalton Hannigan and Justin Ray brought back pins at 112 and 119, and the Bulldogs’ Daniel Salazar bested Taylor Wheeler, 9-3, at 125 to close the night.

“We definitely need to work harder and get stronger, but we’re definitely getting a lot better,” Nielsen said.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

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