Colorado Mesa records big victory over Western State College

Colorado Mesa records big victory over Western State College

Colorado Mesa 141-pounder James Martinez, top, works toward pinning Western State College’s Matt Dunham on Friday night during the Mavs’ victory in an RMAC dual at Brownson Arena. It was Mesa’s first win against Western State since the program was reinstated five years ago.

Colorado Mesa University’s wrestling team turned a big corner since the program was reinstated five years ago.

The Mavericks, who moved to No. 18 in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association Division II poll, defeated Western State 21-15 in an RMAC dual on Friday night at Brownson Arena.

It was Mesa’s first win over what has been a nationally ranked Western State program in the five years since the Mavs’ program started up again.

“It was a good win for us,” Colorado Mesa coach Chuck Pipher said. “We needed that, but Western wrestled tough. You can tell they have some good things going on in their room. They have some good young kids.

“The field got a lot more even when they lost eight seniors. We’ve been getting beat up by those guys for five years now. The playing field was a lot more even and it worked out in our favor.”

Western State was picked to finish sixth in the RMAC and Mesa was picked seventh.

“The coaching staff had our back the whole time,” Colorado Mesa redshirt freshman James Martinez said. “They were on us the whole week about this dual. We’ve been bustin’ it this week. All in all we did pretty good. There were a couple wins we should’ve had, but other than that we performed pretty well as a team.”

Martinez led the way after moving down a weight class to 141.

“James did a good job,” Pipher said. “He had a good week of practice and wrestled real well.

“I think (cutting down to 141) will pay off. He’ll go 149 tomorrow. We’re trying to take it a little easy on him. It’s a good pull for him.”

Western State won the first two matches by decision for a 6-0 lead before Martinez quickly turned the momentum.

Martinez (8-3) took down Matt Dunham with a single-leg, caught Dunham out of position and pinned him in 44 seconds.

“One thing led to another,” Martinez said. “I took him down and he was out of position so I turned him (to his back).”

Trevor Donarski won by forfeit at 149 pounds for a 12-6 lead, Jon Gappmaier followed with an 11-6 decision at 157, then fourth-ranked Dylan Granard won an 8-4 decision at 165 for an 18-6 lead.

Mesa sophomore Zak Slotten fell behind to Western State freshman Elliot Copeland in the 174-pound match.

Copeland, who defeated Western teammate Kyle Piatt for a high school state title last year, shrugged off a Slotten shot and scored a takedown for a 5-1 lead in the second period.

“I kept battling,” Slotten said. “He was a tough kid. He had some good shots. I didn’t wrestle like I should’ve, but a win’s a win, so I’ll take it.”

Slotten (6-3) scored a couple of escape points and two takedowns to win 7-5.

“Zak wrestles a little slower pace, but found a way to get it done,” Pipher said. “He really got him on shape there in the end. That kid was coming back from injury and ran out of gas a bit.”

Piatt followed Copeland with a 4-3 upset over junior college national champion Nick Petersen.

Petersen (8-3) scored first with a takedown, but Piatt (9-3) scored a couple of escape points and eventually took Petersen down in the third period for the win.

“My coaching staff is awesome,” said Piatt, the former Olathe High School standout. “We’re getting pushed every day. I’m getting pushed to a point I’ve never been pushed and I love it.

“I’m happy, but I’ve got so much to work on. I’m nowhere close to where they want me to be and I want to be. I just want to keep working.”

Western State’s Sam Mangum won a 9-4 decision over Jordan Passehl at 197 and Kyle Graulus defeated Trevor Stapp 5-3 at heavyweight. It was Stapp’s first match since returning from football.

“Trevor dislocated his elbow Monday in practice,” Pipher said. “He had to get sedated to get it popped back in.”


UP NEXT: Colorado Mesa Open, 9 a.m. today, Brownson Arena


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