Back on the mat

GJ senior Wells wins in first match of season

Grand Junction’s Kohlby Wells, right, gets Fruita Monument’s Josh Vincent on his back during Wednesday’s 132-pound match. Wells got the pin, one of seven by the Tigers in a 52-30 victory over the Wildcats. The match was the first of the season for Wells, who is coming off an injury.

Grand Junction’s Josiah Rider turns Fruita Monument’s Eli Konrad upside down on the way to a major decision in the 138-pound match.

Kohlby Wells admits he needs to get into better shape, and he needs to get some matches under his belt.

Wednesday marked the beginning of that quest as the Grand Junction High School senior, a fifth-place finisher a year ago in the Class 5A state wrestling tournament, took the mat for the first time this season after being sidelined by an injury.

He controlled his match at 132 pounds from the outset, but Fruita Monument’s Josh Vincent was determined not to surrender a pin. With 44 seconds left in the match, however, Wells finally scored the fall, one of seven pins the Tigers used to defeat the Wildcats 52-30 in a Southwestern League dual.

“My nerves were going a little, just because it was my first match of the year,” Wells said.

He’s cutting weight to slot in at 132 pounds in the Tigers’ lineup, and making weight and being able to wrestle Wednesday was important to Wells, who needs 16 matches to qualify for a regional seed.

Wells’ return was a welcome sight for Tigers coach Cole Allison, who said, “It’s nice to have the team we envisioned we’d have this year all together on the mat.”

And Wells is glad to be part of a lineup that has emerged as one of the best in Class 5A. The Tigers are ranked third in the state in 5A, and they own a dual win over No. 1 Arvada West. Wednesday’s win over Fruita was impressive, too, given the Wildcats’ No. 10 ranking.

Allison said the Tigers could have competed better in a few weights, but, “For the most part, we came in and did what I thought we would do.”

The dual started at 106, and that helped the Tigers grab the momentum and keep it through 160 pounds, at which point they led 46-6. Dylan Martinez (106), Cody Lacy (120), Wells, Isaac Rider (145), Seth Latham (152) and Jacob Trujillo (160) won by pin for Grand Junction, which also got a forfeit (113) and major decision by Josiah Rider (138).

Fruita Monument’s lineup is strongest in the upper weights, but the Tigers’ lead was insurmountable after Trujillo’s pin.

The Wildcats got pins from Ty Taylor (182) and Jacob Seely (195), plus forfeits at 170 and 285 to close the gap.

Grand Junction’s final match win came from Tyler Zook, who won by pin at 220.

“Right from the beginning (our lower weights) pushed the pace and let them know we were here to wrestle,” Trujillo said.

The win was nice, as Allison said, “If they’re keeping score, we’re trying to win.”

But the more important dual with Fruita, he said, is still to come at the end of the regular season in the SWL Duals.

That’s where the Tigers avenged a loss to Fruita last season, and the Wildcats will try to turn the tables this year.

Fruita coach Dan Van Hoose took Wednesday’s loss in stride and praised Grand Junction, saying, “That’s a really good team.”

He also said he’s proud of the effort he got from his wrestlers.

“I feel like everyone went out and did their best, and that’s all we can ask,” he said.


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