Adding reinforcements

Mesa bolsters team with 13 wrestlers, including three from valley

Grand Junction High School’s Jesse Hoffschneider, top, was one of 13 wrestlers added to the Colorado Mesa team. Hoffschneider, who won the 2012 Class 5A state title at 160 pounds will be joined by two other valley wrestlers, Central’s Willy Holdren and Palisade’s Daniel Salazar.

Colorado Mesa University wrestling coach Chuck Pipher has most of his team returning, but that didn’t stop him from adding a baker’s dozen of wrestlers in this year’s recruiting class.

Pipher officially announced the addition of 13 wrestlers, including four four-time state place-winners and three others who were state finalists in high school.

“There’s such an attrition rate with wrestling,” Pipher said. “We try to have 40 to 45 guys to start with and end up with 25 to 28. We wanted to pull in 13 to 15 guys this year. We’re trying to get a couple more.”

Pipher landed at least one wrestler for each weight class for the 2012–13 season, including locals Jesse Hoffschneider of Grand Junction High School, Willy Holdren of Central High School and Daniel Salazar of Palisade High School.

“The three guys out of the valley will be great additions,” Pipher said. “They come from great families that support wrestling, and they are all great students. They are all close to a 4.0 GPA. Any one of them could start next year.”

Hoffschneider, a four-time state place-winner and 2012 state champion, likely will compete at 174 pounds, Pipher said. Holdren is a two-time state place-winner and will wrestle at 165. Salazar, a four-time state placer, will compete at 133 or 141 pounds.

Pipher signed two wrestlers to compete at 125 pounds in Jon Stelling of Broomfield High School and three-time New Mexico state placer Mac Borrego. The Mavericks had to forfeit at 125 toward the end of the season and at regionals.

“Stelling is a great kid,” Pipher said. “He’s only been wrestling for four or five years, but he’s got a high ceiling.

“Borrego had some good college coaches in high school. We’re excited about him.”

Four-time Washington state placer and two-time state champion Shannon Maris signed with Colorado Mesa and likely will compete at 141 pounds, which will be vacated by national qualifier James Martinez, who likely will move up to 149 pounds.

Broomfield four-time state place-winner and two-time state champion Nick Swanson and two-time Texas state finalist Cougar Babin likely will compete at 149 pounds with Martinez, Trevor Donarski and Montrose’s Drew Schumann, who redshirted last year. Texas has only one state tournament for all classifications.

Rifle’s Aaron Codova and Trevor Behr of West Covina, Calif., will come in and compete at 157 or 165 pounds with Hoffschneider and Holdren and returning national qualifier Jon Gappmaier.

Two-time Kansas state placer Jake Eggers will wrestle at 184 pounds and Legend High School graduate Brendan Vinyard, who placed fourth at state this year, is projected to wrestle at 184 or 197 pounds.

Carlos Turner, a Utah state champion, Reno Nationals champion and Greco-Roman All-American, will provide depth at heavyweight, where undersized Paco Retana qualified for nationals.


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