GJ grappler with star's nickname shows his stuff at Warrior Classic
His coaches and teammates call him Bieber because he has a haircut similar to the famous teen pop singer.
Kohlby Wells tried cutting his hair to shake the Bieber nickname, but it didn’t work.
“I’m used to it,” he said. “When people call my name it seems weird.”
The Grand Junction High School sophomore may not shake the nickname, but he’s earned the respect of his teammates and caught the attention of his opponents after he upset the top seed Friday during the first day of the 35th annual Warrior Classic wrestling tournament at Central High School.
“I was really surprised. I was really happy I got it,” Wells said of the win.
Wells defeated Wyoming state runner-up Jared Flores of Green River 10-7 in the 113-pound quarterfinals.
“I wrestled him last year at the Warrior in the first match, and he destroyed me, but stuff changes,” Wells said. “I was nervous going in. After the whistle, all the nerves go away. I just wrestled. I didn’t think.”
Wells wrestles Matt Lavengood of Durango in the semifinals, which begin at 9 a.m. today. The finals are scheduled for 6 p.m.
Wells wasn’t the only wrestler to pull an upset.
Paonia 120-pound freshman Bo Pipher pinned an Arizona state runner-up in Ryan Felipe of Thunderbird (Ariz.) in the third period in the quarterfinals.
“I had to keep it close,” Pipher said. “I knew I had a chance as long as I wrestled smart. I went behind him and caught him off balance.”
All semifinalists will place in the top six.
“I thought I could place coming into (the Warrior),” Pipher said.
Pipher is one of six Paonia wrestlers in the semifinals. The Eagles lead the team race with 115.5 points through the semifinals. Rocky Mountain is second with 110 points, and Arvada West is third with 93.5.
Palisade’s Dalton Hannigan reached the semifinals at 126 pounds with three wins Friday.
“Every win in the Warrior is big,” he said. “It’s good to see new kids and different styles.”
Hannigan reached the semifinals last year, but ended up placing fourth.
“I want to place higher this year,” he said. “It’s a pretty big deal. The level of wrestling here is easily as comparable to the level of wrestling at state.
“If you do good here, you probably will do good at state.”
Delta’s Shane Anderson is looking to place for the first time, but the senior will have to come through the back door to do it.
Devon Zavala of Denver East defeated Anderson 11-4 in the 132-pound quarterfinals.
Anderson pinned Grand Junction’s Louis Guillen in the second round.
“I haven’t looked at the bracket,” Anderson said. “I just want to do my best.”
He was one win away from placing last year, but lost his match to the No. 1 seed, denying him.
“Last year I thought I’d at least place,” Anderson said.
He needs to win two matches today to medal this year.