Conrardy finally wins Warrior Classic title

140 lb James Conrardy of Rifle beats Justin Schumacher of Green River in champioship match

Winning his first title was Central’s Matthew Gurule. He topped Nick Babock 14-5 in the 103-pound title.

James Conrardy got tired of not making the championship.

The Rifle High School senior has finished third in three Class 4A state wrestling tournaments.

He had placed in three Warrior Classics, including a third place last year.

It was his turn to wear the championship medal.

Conrardy took care of business Saturday, winning his 140-pound championship match in the Warrior Classic championship with a 14-6, major-decision victory over Justin Schumacher of Green River, Wyo.

“Coming in here my senior year I really wanted to win,” Conrardy said after accepting congratulations from numerous Rifle fans.

Schumacher got a reverse at the end of the second period to pull to within 8-6. That’s when Conrardy knew it was time to go to work.

“That’s when I knew I couldn’t make any mistakes at all,” he said. “That’s when I wrestled my hardest.”

He got an escape and a takedown midway through the third period, then got a near fall with 18 seconds remaining and another at the end of the match for the final margin.

Earlier in the night he had watched two of his teammates, Brian Key and Tad Davis, win the 215- and 285-pound titles, respectively, before him.

“I got a whole lot of inspiration from (them) when they pinned their kids,” Conrardy said.

Conrardy, who is headed to Mesa State College to wrestle next fall, said knowing that has taken pressure off him this season.

“I don’t have to do anything for coaches,” he said. “I can just wrestle for myself.”

Roosevelt won its third consecutive Warrior Classic title. The Roughriders scored 202 points, the most of any team since 2003, to outdistance Broomfield by 10 points. The two schools joined Rifle in having three tournament champions.

Central was third with 166.5 points.

After finishing runner-up in last year’s tournament, Matthew Gurule finally has a Warrior Classic championship to add to his state title from last year.

The Central junior won the 103-pound title with a 14-5 major decision over Broomfield freshman Nick Babcock.

“I knew he was good,” Gurule said of Babcock, who had pinned his way to the title match. “I think my endurance helped me more, if anything else.”

Gurule said finishing second last year didn’t provide more motivation.

“It was just to work hard, wrestle hard,” he said of his mission, one he takes into every match.

Gurule’s cousin, Jaqub, ran into a tough match in his 112-pound final.

Courtland Hacker of Broomfield, ranked first in Class 4A by On the Mat, won by technical fall 16-1, getting his final points with eight seconds remaining in the match.

“That was the worst I’ve ever been beat,” said Jaqub, who entered the final with a 13-0 record.

Skills-wise, Hacker was the toughest opponent Gurule has faced all season, he said.

“He had hand control, and that was huge,” Gurule said.

As for motivation, “Don’t stop working now,” he said. “All I can do is go back to the wrestling room.”

Dan Frank of Roosevelt became the Warrior Classic’s eighth three-time champion when he defeated Derek Ruiz of Pueblo South for the 140-pound title.

Casey Lynn of Montezuma-Cortez came up short in his attempt to join Frank as a three-time champion when he lost 12-9 to Jerry Huff of Broomfield in the 125-pound final. Huff went on to win the outstanding wrestler award for the lower weights.

The award in the upper weights went to Dove Creek’s Colten Huskey, who became a two-time Warrior Classic champion after winning the 145-pound title.


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