Colorado Mesa responds after loss to beat Highlands
Colorado Mesa University wrestling coach Chuck Pipher challenged his team and it responded.
The Mavericks (6-7, 1-2 RMAC) bounced back Friday night, winning eight matches to defeat New Mexico Highlands 27-10 in an RMAC dual at Brownson Arena. The previous night, Chadron State defeated CMU 20-13.
Colorado Mesa sophomores Dylan Granard and Zak Slotten were two particular wrestlers Pipher called out Thursday night. Both answered on Friday.
“They wrestled a lot better,” Pipher said. “Zak beat the kid that was the wrestler of the week last week. He had a good, sound match. He scored like we know he can score.
“For one, you’re hot. Sometimes you let your emotions overcome because you know they can wrestle better than that. Both of them. You light them up pretty harsh the first 30 minutes. You just don’t like how they performed. Sometimes they need a reality check and you’ve got to light them up. You let them sleep on it a little bit, then build them up. They wrestled a lot tougher.”
Granard rolled to a 19-4 technical fall victory over Highlands’ Chris Apodaca at 165 pounds. There was one second left when the match was stopped.
“I’ve been in a slump lately,” Granard said. “It’s been frustrating and disappointing for me. I had a good talk with my coaches, especially after (Thursday) night. I shouldn’t have lost that match. I wanted to come out here and kick some butt, I guess.”
He nearly pinned Apodaca in the first period with a turk move, hooking one of the opponent’s legs and cross-facing him while cradling his head like a football.
“I figured I would win and wanted to get a pin early on,” Granard said. “The first period I put him on his back twice. All refs are different. Some are a little more picky with pins. I couldn’t quite get that shoulder down. I tried to readjust my position.”
Granard gave up a late takedown on Thursday to force overtime, then was taken down in overtime.
Slotten bounced back from a loss Thursday with a 9-4 decision over Easton Hargrave at 174. Hargrave was the most recent RMAC wrestler of the week.
“Me and Zak are good buddies,” Granard said. “We don’t really talk, but we were on the same page. We were going pretty hard. Coach had a good talk, I’m sure, with both of us.
“Me and Zak got after it today. We were both so frustrated. It feels good to dominate.”
Granard and Slotten combined to score eight points for the Mavericks.
Highlands (2-4, 0-2 RMAC) scored its 10 points on a forfeit and a major decision at 197 pounds.
Justin Rockhill defeated Korey Kennedy 14-4 at 197. Kennedy wrestled in place of Jordan Passehl, who was banged up from a physical match Thursday.
“Korey’s been with us for five years,” Pipher said. “He’s been there anytime we needed him. With Jordan getting banged up last night, we decided to hold him out and put Korey in there. He deserved the opportunity. He kept battling and battling. He’s a great kid.”
The Mavericks won seven consecutive matches up to the 197-pound match for an insurmountable 24-6 lead. It included Granard’s technical fall, five decisions and one major decision.
Freshman Brayden Humphreys dominated Danny Perales for the 14-4 major decision at 141.
“Brayden wrestled tough,” Pipher said. “He’s a solid kid. Very deceiving. He just goes out and battles hard. He might make a mistake, but tonight he was a lot more sound.”
Swimming & Diving
Colorado Mesa men’s diver Brock Martin took first place in 1-meter diving with 502.15 points in the Colorado College Classic in Colorado Springs.
The sophomore scored 20 team points for the Mavericks, who are in fourth place through two events in the three-day meet.
CMU women’s divers Amanda Jennings and Savannah Craft took third and fourth place in the 1-meter competition.
Jennings scored 372.80 points. Craft scored 327.2. The Mavs are in third place with 31 points.
The meet continues today and tomorrow.