Paonia's defending state champ caps win over Grand Junction with pin in debut
Jesse Reed had to wait more than a month to begin the wrestling season.
The 120-pound Paonia High School sophomore, who won the Class 2A 113-pound state title last year, made his debut Friday night, but he had to wait some more.
The dual started at 126 pounds, so Reed had to watch all of his teammates wrestle before he could take the mat. By then, the Class 2A No. 1-ranked Eagles (7-1) had the dual victory against Grand Junction well in hand.
“I wanted to go first, but of course I went last,” Reed said. “It made the nerves build up as the dual went on. I had to be patient.”
It was worth the wait.
Reed (1-0) pinned Grand Junction’s Hayden Reynolds 18 seconds into the second period to put an exclamation point on Paonia’s 60-14 victory over the Tigers at Grand Junction High School.
“Jesse wrestled tough,” Paonia coach Andy Pipher said. “It’s good to get the first one over with. It’s been a long wait, and he had to wait a little longer. He knows he’s not where he wants to be.”
Reed was out with a minor knee injury, he said. Although it didn’t require surgery, he had to rehabilitate it to build strength.
“I tried to come back as soon as possible,” Reed said. “The injury just held me back. I finally did what the doctor told me and sat out the required time. Watching the other guys wrestle makes you want to wrestle, too.
“My focus first time back was: Don’t mess it up, go out and have fun. Try to get the season started off right with a win.”
Reed was one of six Paonia wrestlers to pin their Grand Junction opponent.
“I was real happy with a lot of the kids,” Pipher said. “I thought Ty Coats wrestled really well. A great, tough kid he’s wrestling against there (in Jacob Trujillo), and Ty goes out there and goes after him. I was real happy with Joel Simianer. Tyler Kendall is up at 95s because Morgan beat him out at 82s. I was real impressed there. I thought they all wrestled well.”
Andy’s son, Bo Pipher, struggled to score early in his first match at 126 pounds, but he eventually came through with a 6-0 victory over Jeff Christeleit.
Bo Pipher weighed in at 122 pounds Friday night but is considering moving down to the 113-pound class.
The Eagles are contemplating several changes with the postseason in mind, Andy Pipher said. The Paonia coach said he’ll give it another week before deciding on his lineup.
Another Paonia wrestler, Josh Altman, who wrestled at 113 pounds the first month of the season, moved down to 106. He pinned Grand Junction freshman Cody Lacy in 55 seconds.
“Josh Altman looked really big for that weight,” Pipher said. “It was real hard on him this week. If he can ease into it, I think he can win state hands down, but it’s a hard thing to do.
“I’ve told people there’s nothing I’ve ever done harder than losing weight. People say try to quit smoking. Well, try to quit eating and drinking.”
Grand Junction’s three wins came from Trujillo, Louis Guillen and Kohlby Wells. Guillen and Wells won by technical fall and Class 5A No. 1-ranked Trujillo (20-0) won a 16-4 major decision over Class 2A’s fourth-ranked Coats.
“We’re young in spots,” Grand Junction coach Cole Allison said. “We’ll learn from it.”
Grand Junction 195-pounder Johnny Pauli left school Friday with an illness and did not wrestle.