Grand Valley’s Gallegos, Tonder win 3A state titles
DENVER — Ryan Gallegos and Jared Tonder have worked toward a goal of being state champions since they were in the second grade.
The Grand Valley High School seniors finally accomplished it Saturday night at the Pepsi Center.
“I didn’t want one of us to get it and the other not,” Tonder said.
Gallegos won a state title after being a state runner-up three consecutive years.
“I don’t want to ever go through being second again,” said Gallegos, who embraced his dad and coach, Rick Gallegos after the match.
“This makes (the three losses) forgotten,” Rick Gallegos said. “I always knew he had it in him.”
Gallegos (41-0) defeated Olathe’s Kris Nieto 4-0 in the Class 3A 145-pound final.
“I figured a mistake would happen,” Ryan Gallegos said. “I had to keep my head in the match.
“I felt confident since I beat him before.”
It was the third meeting of the season between Gallegos and Nieto.
“It is unbelievable to share this moment with him,” Gallegos said of his dad. “He’s helped me get through some tough moments. Now, we get to celebrate being a state champion.”
Tonder, who was a state runner-up last season, won the 140-pound title.
“I wanted to make the finals last year,” Tonder said. “This year, I didn’t want to settle for anything less than winning it.”
Tonder (41-2) pinned Rye’s Brandon Padilla in 3:54.
Olathe junior Kyle Piatt captured his first state title, but in more dramatic fashion.
Piatt (43-0) scored a takedown in the final seconds of the third period to tie his match with Centauri’s Iver Sandoval, then scored again in overtime for a 7-5 victory in the 152-pound final.
“Going in, I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Piatt said. “I thought I might lose it, but I got the takedown at the end. In overtime, I figured I might as well go for it.”
Olathe sophomore Zach Shank’s bid for a second state title came up short in a 5-2 loss in the 119-pound final.
Centauri’s Ben Polkowske (43-2) built a 4-0 lead before Shank (39-3) scored a reversal, but Polkowske escaped and held on for the win.
“We burned ourselves out with a lot of shots,” Olathe coach Harvey Starbuck said. “He blocked us off. We couldn’t get take him down.”
Hotchkiss 160-pounder Caleb Wyatt’s bid for his first state title came up short in a 16-6 loss to Matt Addington of Florence.
It was Addington’s third state title.
Centauri won the team title with 157 points. Lamar took second (132.5) and Olathe was third (103.5). Grand Valley placed fifth with 81.5 points and Hotchkiss was eighth with 69.
Grand Valley’s Tyler Miles, who won a state title in 2008, took third place at 152 pounds. The senior (39-6) pinned Bayfield’s Aaron Velasquez.
Olathe’s Dylan Markley took fifth place at 135 pounds with a 5-4 victory over Grand Valley’s Jerrod Busch.
Olathe junior Brenton Martinez (32-13) took sixth place at 130 pounds.
Hotchkiss had two wrestlers place third.
Ryan Spor pinned Curtis Blasberg of La Junta at 135 pounds and junior Kyle Douglas pinned Strasburg’s Zach Mars at 215.
Hotchkiss freshman Conner Beard was fourth at 189.
Cedaredge senior Martin Peterson (37-10) took third place at 119 pounds with a 3-0 victory over Lamar’s Darrick Adame.