Palisade’s Wagler, Barnes removed from tournament

Casey Thornton of Palisade wrestling Tony Pena of Conifer in the 4A 112lb

DENVER — Palisade High School’s shot at a state title came crashing down Thursday when the team was informed two seniors would be held out of the Class 4A state tournament.

Tanner Barnes (152 pounds) and Aaron Wagler (189) were notified Thursday after they traveled with the team to the Pepsi Center they would not be allowed to compete.

“Information was provided to us (School District 51) today,” School District 51 Athletic Director

Paul Cain said Thursday at the Pepsi Center. “As a result of the information, the action was taken this afternoon.”

Palisade coach Brian Rush had no comment on the situation and Cain declined to elaborate on the information that led to the wrestlers’ disqualification.

Heather Benjamin of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday night that neither student’s name appeared in any report at the sheriff’s department.

Wagler, 37-2, entered the tournament as a No. 1 seed at 189 pounds and Barnes went 31-9 in
his senior campaign.

After the wrestlers were pulled from the tournament, Palisade’s first two wrestlers lost their opening matches. Freshman Daniel Salazar, the second overall seed at 103 pounds, was upset 4-2.

Of the seven wrestlers Palisade sent to state, only 130-pounder Kelly Davis and 145-pounder Wesley Shingleton remain in the winners’ bracket. Davis won by pin in the second period and Shingleton won by a 16-0 technical fall.

After his match, Shingleton said he hoped his team could rebound from their slow start and start winning matches today.

Palisade is currently tied for 20th place with 7.5 points with two other teams, including Montezuma-Cortez.

Rifle’s 135 and 140-pound combination of James Martinez and James Conrardy powered Rifle to 18 points and into third place by pinning their opponents in the first period. Conrardy’s fall came in 49 seconds. Conrardy has qualified for the tournament four times, and has finished third the past three years.

Rifle coach John Wisniewski said Conrardy is in top form right now and has progressed every tournament he has wrestled this season.

Justin Samora from Montezuma-Cortez won by pin in just over a minute and has his eye on a rematch with top-seeded Justin Gonzales from Northridge in the finals. They have split in two matches against one another.

Samora predicted teammate and top-ranked 125-pounder Casey Lynn would reach the finals.

Lynn won by technical fall, 16-0.

Montrose sent eight wrestlers to the tournament, but went 3-5 in the first round.

Geordon Hudson (103), Drew Schumann (112) and Clancy Garoutte (171) all won first-round matches.

The Indians are tied with five other schools with 10 points, good for ninth place.


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