On the mat Laiminger, Pipher know each other well

Mesa State College’s Andy Laiminger will be wrestling his former Paonia High School team-mate Charlie Pipher of Western State in the 184-pound bout at tonight’s dual.

An old rivalry is renewed and another one continues tonight.

Longtime Western Slope wrestlers Andy Laiminger and Charlie Pipher square off when Mesa State College (2-1-1, 2-1-1 RMAC) hosts No. 6 Western State (4-3, 1-0 RMAC) in an RMAC dual at 7 p.m. at Brownson Arena.

“I’ve known Charlie a long time,” Laiminger said. “We’ve both had a Pipher for a coach.

They coach the same go-get-’em style. I’m going to try to push him to the third. He goes and goes.”

Laiminger grew up in Paonia and wrestled for Andy Pipher and Charlie grew up in Hotchkiss and wrestled for his dad, Chuck Pipher. Laiminger and Charlie Pipher both led their high schools to team state titles.

Chuck Pipher is now coaching Laiminger at Mesa State.

“They have represented both programs well,” Chuck Pipher said. “It will be a tough one. The thing about it is, Andy won’t shy away a bit. He’ll battle. You never know with Andy. He is a dangerous wrestler. He showed that last week against (Adams State’s)
Kyle Sand. Andy was in it the whole match and nearly pinned him. It doesn’t look like it on paper, but he is that type of wrestler. He’ll be down and will still wrestle 100 percent.”

Although Laiminger (7-9) and Charlie Pipher have known each other since they were in pee wee wrestling, they never met in a match until college.

Tonight, the 184-pounders wrestle for the second time.

“I still coach Charlie a little bit,” Chuck said. “The toughest thing to do is to be there for that.”

Charlie (19-5) placed in three tournaments this season and was 5-0 in the National Duals a couple of weeks ago after missing last season with an injury. He is ranked eighth in the nation.

“He’s working his way back in it,” Chuck said. “He was an All-American and wants to be a national champion. The injury didn’t kill it for him. He’s come out strong.”

The Mountaineers have four other nationally-ranked wrestlers, creating several matchup problems for Mesa State.

“Our matchups with them are off,” Chuck Pipher said. “Rhett (Breed) will face one of the top wrestlers in the conference in Marques Bravo. Andy is wrestling well, but faces
Charlie. At heavyweight, they have a decent kid there. That’s what we’re going up against.

“It will be good for Rhett to see where he’s at and what he can do.”

Chase Walker (16-3) will likely wrestle Nick Ross at 157 and Cole Johnson (10-9) will likely wrestle Skye Wells at 165. Johnson and Wells are also from the Western Slope.

“We’re still putting six freshmen on the mat,” Chuck Pipher said. “If we have Keith Johnson back, we’ll have more experience. He’ll be a match-time decision. We want him to be healthy in the end, but he also needs mat time. It’s a catch-22.”

Johnson (9-10), a 141-pound junior, has been out with an undisclosed injury.


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