Mavs ready to hit the mat

Miller, Mavs working to get in shape for season

Photo by William Woody—Mesa State wrestler Shane Miller right, battles his opponent Korey Kennedy in the 197-pound match during the Maroon and White Scrimmage at Brownson Arena Wednesday evening.

Shane Miller came out like he was trying to make up for lost time.

By the end of the match, Miller was holding on to defeat Korey Kennedy 9-7 in the Mesa State College Maroon & White scrimmage on Wednesday night at Brownson Arena. Miller’s decision over Kennedy in the final match wasn’t enough for the maroon team in its 22-19 loss to the white team.

“Shane dominated early, but he ran out of juice,” Mesa State coach Chuck Pipher said. “He cut too much weight too quick. Korey doesn’t run out of juice. He wrestles seven minutes hard. Both wrestled well.

“We’ve got to work on our conditioning a bit. The guys all made weight today.”

There was no heavyweight match because Mesa’s returning heavyweight wrestler, Trevor Stapp, will join the team next week after a week off to rest after the football season ended.

Mesa opens the season Saturday at the University of Wyoming Open in Laramie, Wyo.

Miller is wrestling this season for the first time since he won the California Community College Athletic Association 197-pound title in December 2007, but he wasn’t planning on wrestling again until he talked to his dad and got a call from Pipher.

“I was planning on living the dream and eating again,” Miller said. “The more time I was away, the more I wanted me to wrestle.

“Pipher is nice and the school isn’t bad. I hate big cities. Grand Junction is perfect for me.”

Miller transferred to Mesa State last year, but had to redshirt because he didn’t have enough academic credits.

He wrestled unattached in the Wyoming Open and placed sixth, defeating an eventual NAIA national runner-up along the way.

Miller is back for his junior season this year and has his sights set high.

“I want to start by trying to be an All-American,” he said.

Miller will wrestle at 197 pounds, but he hopes to be a couple of pounds under the 197-pound limit to be lighter on his feet and wrestle with more energy.

“He had a typical redshirt year,” Pipher said. “He didn’t train as hard as he could’ve. This year, he is different. He is cleaner cut and is doing better in school. I see a difference in him. I’m looking for some good things from him this year.”

Then again, Pipher is looking for good things from a lot of his wrestlers.

Pipher has eight returning wrestlers from last season, including All-American Chase Walker. The 157-pound senior, though, can’t wrestle this semester because of the NCAA 10-semester rule — he’s been in school nine semesters already.

Walker will join the team in time for the Midwest Classic on Jan. 2-3.

National qualifier Rhett Breed (133) returns, but sat out the scrimmage and will miss the Wyoming Open with an injury to his left foot.

Seniors Cole Johnson, a national qualifier in 2008, and Andy Laiminger return. Both won their matches at 165 and 184 pounds.

“They are the only guys left from the first year,” Pipher said. “They went through some hard times.”

The rest of the scrimmage was highlighted by a bunch of freshmen proving they can wrestle at the collegiate level.

Redshirt freshman Tyler Nelson held on for a 5-3 decision over freshman Chasen Tolbert at 125.

Chris Rubalcaba won by technical fall over Michael Lee 18-2 at 133. Redshirt freshman Jon Gappmaier took down Trevor Donarski seven times for a 15-6 victory at 141.

Freshman Tyler Juby pinned senior Mike White in 4:02 in one of two 149-pound matches. Jordan Sorenson won an 8-4 decision over James Conrady in the other 149-pound match.

Matt Chavez won a major decision over former high school teammate Scott Soto at 157 and Jake Goddard won a 10-4 decision over returning sophomore Kyle Brightman at 174.


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