Palisade sweeps wrestling triangular with big wins
Palisade High School wrestled as if it might be making some amends Wednesday.
After going 1-3 in last Saturday’s Wildcat Invitational duals tournament at Fruita Monument, including 39-36 losses to both Fruita and Central, the Bulldogs felt they needed to ratchet up their work ethic a bit.
They did that in convincing fashion in their Western Slope League season-opening triangular, defeating Eagle Valley and Delta in convincing fashion.
After Delta opened the triangular with a 60-18 victory over Eagle Valley, Palisade defeated both teams, downing Eagle Valley 71-6 and Delta 67-6.
“They weren’t happy with how last weekend went,” Bulldogs coach Brian Rush said, speaking collectively for the team. “We didn’t show any intensity.”
That changed with two hard days of practice Monday and Tuesday. Normally Rush has a lighter practice the day before a meet, but he pushed the tempo both days this week.
“Our intensity was better,” he said.
He was most disappointed in how quickly his wrestlers went to their backs in their four duals at Fruita.
That wasn’t the case Wednesday.
“Even the matches we lost, I thought we wrestled well,” he said.
Leading the way was Bulldogs 103-pound freshman Danial Salazar, who defeated Eagle Valley’s Kris Moya with a second-period pin and won by major decision over Delta’s Mykal DeHerrera.
Salazar, who wrestled only twice in Fruita — winning both matches and earning victories in the other two matches by default, improved to 6-0.
He was a winner in the 105-pound division in last year’s middle school state championships, so moving up to the high school varsity level wasn’t that big of a step for him.
“I’ve been going to Rocky Mountain Nationals the last two years, and it’s the same (type of) competition,” he said.
Salazar finished fourth in both of those tournaments.
He’s focused on two things in particular since practice began in mid-November.
“(I’ve been doing) my outside shots (on single-leg takedowns) and (trying to) get in shape for the six-minute period,” he said.
Fortunately for Salazar, he’s only had to wrestle one full match this season, that coming in a 15-4 victory over DeHerrera.
Josh Wagler also improved to 6-0 by recording two first-period pins. The 189-pounder has yet to wrestle past the first period this season.
Casey Thornton (112), Jason Logsdon (125), Wes Shingleton (145) and Eddie Vial (160) all earned two victories for Palisade. Kelly Davis (135), Nathan Corle (140), Clay Allen (171) and Nick Stephanus (215) all won one match by forfeit and earned victories in their other match.
The Bulldogs compete in the Sheridan Invitational in Denver on Saturday before returning home next week for the Warrior Classic.
“Nothing’s ever decided in December,” Rush said. “That’s the thing now. It’s about getting better every match.”