Hitting the Jackpot: GJ’s Reed ready to wrestle at Jackpot Duals
Dylan Reed doesn’t plan to miss the Jackpot Duals this time.
The Grand Junction High School senior hopes to win the 215-pound weight class in the valley-wide tournament, which begins at 5:30 this evening at Palisade High School.
Reed, a three-year varsity wrestler, didn’t show up for the tournament last year, quitting the team.
“I had my priorities in a different spot,” Reed said. “I quit to get a job.
“It was just a stupid decision on my part. I didn’t need (the job).”
It was a decision Reed regrets and has used as motivation to succeed this season.
“He came back this year with a completely different attitude,” Grand Junction coach Cole Allison said. “He traveled with us this summer to a few camps. He’s doing a great job this year.
“I think he’s always had it in him. More than anything, it’s a maturation process and self-confidence. He’s leaving it all out there. It’s his last shot. Sometimes your head and heart make all the difference.”
Reed dedicated himself to wrestling, going to a couple of camps this summer with the team, and was ready to go when the season started at the end of November.
“I think I’ve worked harder than I usually have,” Reed said. “(I learned) to not quit and (to) persevere. It made me a better wrestler this year.”
Reed’s approach is paying off.
He caught the attention of other wrestlers by reaching the Warrior Classic finals nearly three weeks ago. He is ranked sixth by On the Mat Magazine.
“Our goals are set pretty high for him,” Allison said. “Set the bar high, even if you fall a little short, you still end up higher than if you set the bar low. At this point, if he’s not winning (a tournament), he should be competing for it.”
Reed’s ultimate goal is to place at state.
For now, Reed (14-1) hopes to prove he’s the best 215-pound wrestler in the valley.
“It’s a big deal,” Reed said. “It’s more about the team and what team is the best in the valley. You want to be the best in the valley.”
He could get a rematch with Palisade’s Trevan Gardner, whom Reed defeated 7-2 in the Warrior Classic semifinals.
Gardner wrestled on junior varsity last season behind state placer Nick Stephanus.
The Bulldogs, with returning Jackpot Duals champions Daniel Salazar and Marcus Vincent, should compete for the team title against the three bigger schools in the valley.
“We’ve got a solid dual team,” Palisade coach Brian Rush said. “The kids like to see where they stack up in the valley.”
Central has some confidence going into the Jackpot Duals after placing fourth at the Warrior Classic.
“I attribute that to these kids are stepping up to a different level,” coach Laurence Gurule said. “They have to. If they don’t, they’re not going to place at state.”