‘Dogs have 7 wrestlers in 4A wrestling regional semis

GYPSUM — Having Roosevelt High School in the same regional wrestling tournament hasn’t dampened the Palisade Bulldogs’ resolve. If anything, it’s strengthened it.

“We might have a target on our backs, but Roosevelt always has a target on its back,” Palisade senior Daniel Salazar said. “That’s who we’re aiming for.”

The Bulldogs were hitting the proverbial bull’s-eye all day Friday. Seven of them moved into the semifinals and four more earned consolation round victories at Eagle Valley High School, helping Palisade stay within striking distance of the Rough Riders after the first day of the Class 4A Region 1 Tournament.

“They’re a good program,” said Palisade coach Brian Rush in reference to Roosevelt, a program that has been a state-tournament threat for the past two decades. “But there’s a lot of good teams here. No doubt we’d like to win it, but the main thing we’re looking to do is get as many kids through to the state tournament.”

Palisade is in a position to do that, with the possibility of sending 11 to next weekend’s state championships in Denver. Four Palisade wrestlers —Randen Espinoza (106 pounds), Quinn Day (113), Trevor Garcia (138) and Brice Hawley (160) —are still alive in the consolation rounds.

Championship semifinals begin at 9 this morning, with consolation-round matches beginning at 1 p.m. Regional finals begin at 4 p.m.

Roosevelt, which moved 10 wrestlers into the semifinals and has 13 remaining, finished the day with 91.5 points. Palisade is second with 80 points, followed by Durango (68), Montrose (60), Valor Christian (53) and Delta (52).

Palisade’s Justin Ray had the Bulldogs’ most impressive day, needing only 72 seconds to earn pins of Evergreen’s Zack Hamptonstall (48 seconds) and Tristen Wolf (24 seconds) and improve to 37-2.

Salazar improved to 35-4, wrestling only a little more than six minutes to earn pins of Justice Ramos of Cortez (4:25) and Glenwood’s Edwin Meraz (2:55).

Also moving into the semis for Palisade was Dalton Hannigan (120), Eddie Vial (170), Zach Judis (182), Matt Pitton (195) and Luis Medrano (220).

Montrose still has six wrestlers alive in the championship bracket, including top-seeded Cole Painter of Montrose (195 pounds) and Geordon Hudson, the tournament’s top seed at 145.

Class 5A Region 2

Grand Junction is in second place at the Class 5A Region 2 tournament at Westminster.

Pomona leads the tournament with 78 points.

Central is in fifth place with 61.

For Grand Junction, Louis Guillen (132), Dylon Thompson (138), Gage Casey (160), Jessie Hoffschneider (170), Jonathan Pauli (182) and Sam Monaham (285) all advanced to the semifinals.

Central’s Jacob Rubalcaba (126 pounds), Anthony Feller (145), Willy Holdren (152), Caleb Henricks (170) and Thomas Holman (220) are in the semis as well.

Hoffschneider, who advanced with a 55-second pin and a 17-1 technical fall, will wrestle Hendricks in the semifinals.

Class 5A Region 3

Fruita Monument is in sixth place with 49.5 points after two rounds at Bear Creek.

Rocky Mountain leads the tournament with 85 points.

Wildcats 170-pounder Dallas Bernal had a 20-second pin in the first round and followed that with a 2:18 pin of Hinkley’s Christian Currier in the second.

Jacob Seely (160), Aidan Woomer (152) and Isaac Rodriguez (145) also advanced to the semifinals for the Wildcats.

Class 3A Region 1

After the first round, Rifle is leading the tournament at Montrose High School with 74 points.

Olathe (63) is in second, followed by Hotchkiss (54) Grand Valley is in fifth (40), Cedaredge eighth (28) and Coal Ridge ninth (16).

At 106 pounds, Olathe freshman Austin Shank (33-3) faces Grand Valley’s Cody Pfau (27-8).

Class 2A Region 1

Paonia advanced all 14 weight classifications to today’s semifinals at Central High School.

First-round pins for Paonia came from Myles Cumpston (220 pounds) in 1:21, Kyler Bear (160) in :48, Morgan Rieder (182) in 3:45, Jesse Reed (113) in 1:01, Blake Duval (12) in :31, Cody Clawson (126) in 5:11, Ty Coats (132) in 1:03, Adrian Lopez (138) in :41 and Dustin Braslin (145) in :27.


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