Big men on the mat: Central tops Fruita led by four heaviest grapplers
The big boys carried the load.
Central High School’s four heaviest wrestlers racked up 24 points to carry the Warriors to a 47-24 victory Tuesday night over Fruita Monument at Fruita Monument High School.
“They could’ve caught us,” Central coach Laurence Gurule said. “This team (Fruita) is better than everyone thinks.”
The Warriors won two of those matches by forfeit, then Thomas Holman and Kyle Jamison pinned their opponents in the 215-pound and heavyweight matches for a 24-3 lead.
“Thomas is wrestling better as of late,” Gurule said. “I’d like to get him more confident on his feet.”
Central 103-pounder Oscar Ruiz rallied from a 5-4 deficit to defeat Ian Konrad 11-6 for a 27-3 lead.
“The Fruita kid (at 103 pounds) is a good kid,” Gurule said. “Oscar is doing well. You can see some confidence in him.”
Cameron Deverick won a major decision at 119, Jason Jarvis and Anthony Feller followed with technical falls for a 41-9 lead to clinch the victory, but the Wildcats didn’t quit.
Fruita Monument won three of the final four matches, including two by pin to close the gap.
Aaron Hicks got it started. The 135-pounder trailed 11-2 when he reversed Zane Balerio and pinned him with 35 seconds left in the second period.
“Aaron turned a corner last week,” Fruita coach Dan Van Hoose said. “I’m proud of our kids. They really battled. They believed in themselves and it showed. We are getting better each week. We want to peak at regionals. If things keep going like they’re going, we may take a number, who knows?”
Logan Smith jumped on the momentum and pinned Central’s Jon Sullivan in 1:22 at 140 pounds.
“Zane wrestled hard, but he makes too many mistakes,” Gurule said. “Both him and Jon (Sullivan). They wrestle hard, but they go to their back too easily.”
Two matches later, Dallas Bernal defeated third-ranked Zach Short 6-1 in the 152-pound match.
“Zach is not himself,” Gurule said. “I don’t know why. He’s been sick, but he’s not now. He didn’t wrestle hard.”
“I was really proud of Dallas,” Van Hoose said. “I think he has finally got over the hump. He lost a tight one in overtime last weekend. We knew he’d have a tough one tonight and he wrestled well.”
The Wildcats won five matches, including two by pin and one by forfeit.
Palisade 48, Rifle 26: The Bulldogs won six of their nine matches by pin for the Western Slope League victory.
Daniel Salazar won a 2-0 decision over Keaton Deere at 125 and Brice Hawley won a 13-6 decision at 152.
Kyuana Martinez (103), Justin Ray (119), Mason Day (135), Eddie Vial (160), Zach Judis (171) and Joey Dupre (285) all won by pinfall.
Rifle’s Larry Schmueser, ranked second in state at 140, defeated Marcus Vincent 9-0.
Palisade 75, Steamboat Springs 4: The Bulldogs won 10 matches by forfeit to roll to victory.
Trevor Garcia won a 2-0 decision at 130 pounds and Eddie Vial had a pinfall at 160.
Coal Ridge at Delta: The dual was canceled because of a lack of wrestlers for Coal Ridge.
Delta hosts Palisade at 7 p.m. on Thursday, then wrestles Saturday in the Nucla Invitational.