Bulldogs expect tough matches at Palisade Invite

The Palisade Invitational Wrestling Tournament begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and features some of the better wrestling programs on the Western Slope.

Palisade wrestling coach Brian Rush said finals could begin around 2 p.m., but matches in the bracket-style tournament will begin as soon as mats are empty.

The top-ranked team by class in the tournament is Paonia, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A in the On the Mat rankings. Palisade is No. 9 in 4A and Valor Christian No. 13 in 4A. Other teams at the tournament will be Coal Ridge, Montezuma-Cortez, Grand Valley and Nucla.

Rush has been a coach at Palisade for 14 years and said the tournament has been around longer than he’s been at the school.

“There’s always a lot of tough kids,” Rush said.

Bulldogs’ 132-pounder Daniel Salazar, who placed third at state last season, said the tournament is always one of the tougher ones for him.

But Palisade, which recently won the Jackpot Duals, comes in with an 11-1 duals record.

“We just work real hard,” Salazar said. “Every day. That’s just how Palisade is. It’s how our football team is and how our wrestling team is.”

Cortez’s Ryan Daves, ranked No. 4 in 4A at 126 pounds, will be a wrestler to look out for. He could run into Palisade’s Justin Ray in the same weight class. Ray is ranked No. 3.


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