Paonia barely tested in rout of Center

Paonia’s Ty Coats looks for a pin Thursday night in his 132-pound match with Center’s Gustavo Nungaray. The Eagles defeated Center 73-3.

At Reedy’s Service gas station in Paonia, the buzz tends to be about the wrestling team. Word is, coach Andy Pipher’s 2011-12 squad is one of the best he’s had.

Paonia still hasn’t lost a dual.

Its success continued Thursday in a 73-3 win over Center at Colorado Mesa University’s Brownson Arena.

Meanwhile, they’ll keep talking at Reedy’s, owned by Mike Reedy, one of Paonia’s wrestling coaches.

“A lot of guys, like older, retired guys who wrestled for us, they ask (at Reedy’s) if we’re going to win the state title,” said Paonia’s 145-pounder Dustin Braslin, who pinned Center’s Christian Espinosa in 52 seconds.

The talk is flying around town in such places as Reedy’s, but Paonia wrestlers say they’re not paying much attention. Their focus, of course, is on improving enough to win a Class 2A state crown Feb. 16-18 at Pepsi Center.

The chatter also is emerging in some online sites, said Braslin.

“I read how bad some teams in 2A want to beat us,” Braslin said.

So far, Paonia’s biggest competition has sometimes been itself.

What is practice like?

“It’s tough,” said 160-pounder Kyler Bear, who pinned Center’s Marco Ledezma in 1:08. “Every kid is tougher than the next kid. Half of the team is ranked in state. It’s hard to find someone in the room to pick on.”

So they pick on others. Paonia took second place at the Warrior Classic at Central High ­­— a tournament that featured a few of the area’s better Class 5A teams.

So when they hit 2A competition, things happen like Paonia 152-pounder Jorge Quinonez’s 20-second pin of Center’s George Weatherford.

“I wasn’t thinking about what people we’re saying about us,” Quinonez said.

Not that he had time.

Neither did Paonia 126-pounder Cody Clawson, who won by forfeit.

“We try not to get caught up in what people are saying, that’s when you start to choke in matches and that kind of stuff,” Clawson said.

Olathe 48, Grand Junction 28: The Pirates won eight of 10 matches over the Tigers at Olathe.

Grand Junction rested some of its top wrestlers, including Jacob Trujillo and Dylon Thompson.

“You always want to wrestle those guys,” Olathe coach Tee Jay Rose said. “It was a no-win situation for them.”

Olathe’s two-time state champion Zach Shank improved his record to 33-0 with a 57-second pin of Robert Fairbanks at 132 pounds.


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