Early season challenge: Maverick Duals give prep wrestlers chance to gauge readiness

Grand Junction’s Dylon Thompson, right, tries to turn Olathe’s Zach Shank during their 125-pound match Saturday at the Maverick Duals at Mesa State. Shank defeated Thompson 15-3, but the Tigers won the dual match with the Pirates 48-23.

The Maverick Duals wrestling tournament doesn’t allow anyone to ease into the season.

Saturday at Brownson Arena, 13 high school wrestling teams each competed in five dual matches.

“This is our third year of the event and it’s turned into a good event,” Mesa State College wrestling coach and tournament director Chuck Pipher said. “If you have a young team they are all getting five matches, so it isn’t a double-elimination tournament where they lose two and are done.”

It was the first action of the season for many of the schools, including all four District 51 schools.

Grand Junction finished the tournament 5-0 defeating Monarch 56-24, Delta 52-31, Holy Family 61-24, Central 41-36 and Olathe 48-23.

The Tigers had Jesse Hoffschneider (145), Chase Arrieta (130), Robbie Gonzalez (189) and Dylan Reed (215) all finish undefeated.

“It was a good start,” Grand Junction coach Cole Allison said. “There are a lot of areas we have to improve, but it was a better start than in years past.”

The Tigers are working in new wrestlers at different weight classes, and Allison said he expected some early season rust.

“We haven’t had a lot of time in the room so we are looking for them to use the things we’ve been teaching them,” Allison said. “More than anything when they aren’t in great shape yet, and their technique is behind, I look for hustle and heart.

“If you wrestle with heart, good things can happen.”

The Maverick Duals is a good way for teams and wrestlers to gauge how their early season training is paying off. Fruita Monument 160-pounder Dallas Bernal went 4-0 with wins over Paonia’s KC Christian 6-0, and had pins against Montrose’s Jacob Kirby, Cedaredge’s Alejandor Alejandre and Rangely’s Zakk Wenzel.

Bernal is ranked No. 9 in the On the Mat state wrestling rankings.

“I wanted to start the season off strong,” Bernal said. “This was good because it sets me up for the Wasatch (Utah) tournament next week, and I know I’ll have some tough matches there.”

Central finished 3-2, with losses to Grand Junction (41-36) and Paonia (41-34). Central coach Laurence Gurule said it was a day of mixed results.

“We had a lack of intensity (Saturday),” Gurule said. “We are working to get better, a lot of our guys are inexperienced and it showed.”

The Warriors were led by 119-pounder Cameron Deverick, who went 5-0.

Palisade finished 3-2 with wins over Delta, Rangely and Coal Ridge. The Bulldogs dropped dual matches to Olathe and Montrose by a total of 16 points.

“We had some kids wrestle well and others didn’t wrestle like they are capable,” Palisade coach Brian Rush said. “But no matter how you did, no one is going to be satisfied this early.”


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