Gutierrez wrestles well in Palisade’s wins

Meeker’s J.C. Henderson, top, gets the upper hand in his 138-pound match with Hotchkiss’ Mitch McCurdy during the Cowboys’ 48-16 victory at Palisade. Meeker lost to Palisade 35-31.



Alejandro Gutierrez is wrestling with a newfound aggression and confidence.

The 120-pounder picked up two victories against ranked opponents Thursday as Palisade beat Hotchkiss and Meeker in a triangular meet at Palisade.

“Alejandro Gutierrez is just fantastic,” Palisade coach Lonnie Tate said. “He’s coming on so fast. A few weeks ago he was just a middle-of-the-road wrestler, but the last couple weeks he’s been really turning it on.

“He didn’t wrestle in middle school, and he’s always saying how he should have done this in middle school. So, he’s kind of wrestled to survive.

“He got praised for wrestling hard and being tough, but him wrestling tough was not getting pinned or not getting teched. As a senior, when we went over to Palmer Ridge in Colorado Springs, he was going back to hanging on and hoping he didn’t get pinned.

“I’m not a butt-chewing coach, but that didn’t sit well with me. I jumped him during a match and told him quit wrestling not to get pinned. He looked at me with big eyes, and since then he’s started wrestling to win, aggressive, and in the last few weeks he’s just been tearing into guys.”

Against Meeker, the Bulldogs picked up three forfeits to secure the 35-31 win. Palisade then cruised by Hotchkiss 58-15.

Dalton Hannigan, who still is recovering from an ankle injury he suffered in the summer, picked up two victories.

“Dalton is coming off that injury, and I think he knows his conditioning is not where it needs to be,” Tate said. “He wrestled well, and for the first five minutes was going strong, but then started fading toward the end. He can see that he still needs to work on his conditioning a little more if he wants to get that gold medal again.”

5A playoff decision delayed

The Colorado High School Activities Association is still pondering how Class 5A football teams will qualify for the playoffs in the future.

After failing to approve a solution at its legislative council meeting Tuesday, CHSAA announced a decision will come at the next meeting in April.

At December’s football committee meeting, it was decided to drop the wild-card points system to determine playoff qualifiers in 5A. The new plan was to have a seeding committee determine the qualifiers, but that plan was dropped at Tuesday’s meeting.

If the legislative council in April fails to approve a new system to determine postseason qualifications in 5A football, it will continue to use the wild-card points system.

The 5A schools will meet prior to the April meeting to determine whether another qualification format is better.

The legislative council approved other measures, including a new 2A class in girls soccer, which will include a 12-team postseason format. Class 2A will begin play in the spring of 2015, meaning girls soccer will have classes 2A, 3A, 4A and 5A. This change does not affect boys soccer, which has 3A, 4A and 5A. Class 3A will also go from a 32-team bracket to 24 teams.

A proposal was approved giving CHSAA discretion to add a class if growth would allow it. This could mean a Class 6A could be added in the future.

Teams that play down a classification based upon a lack of success will still be allowed to compete for a state championship after a proposal was denied at Tuesday’s meeting. The proposal called for barring play-down teams from competing for a state title. The issue came up in part because Coronado, a Colorado Springs school, won the 3A football title while playing down last fall. Coronado moves back into 4A next season.

Next season, Central will play down from 4A to 3A in football for the next two years and will compete in the 3A Western Slope Conference.


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