Starting strong

Paonia opens season with perfect mark at Maverick Duals

Paonia’s Joel Simianer, top, tries to turn Palisade’s Caleb Brown during their 220-pound match Saturday at the Maverick Duals at Brownson Arena. Simianer defeated Brown 5-2 and was one of eight Eagles to go 5-0 in the duals.

Palisade’s Kyauna Martinez tries to get Paonia’s Colton Godwin on his back during Martinez’s 16-5 victory in a 113-pound match Saturday.

Some of the Paonia High School wrestlers haven’t have many practices, but the lack of mat time didn’t matter.

The Class 2A top-ranked Eagles went undefeated along with Fruita Monument in the Maverick Duals on Saturday at Brownson Arena.

“We did pretty good,” Paonia coach Andy Pipher said. “We didn’t have some of the boys until this week because of the football state championship.

“We knew we’d be out of shape, and to wrestle on guts. That’s what they did.”

Pipher’s son, Bo, wasn’t on the football team, but still showed plenty of guts and smarts.

The 132-pound sophomore went 5-0 — all pins — including pinning a Utah state champion.

“It felt good,” Bo Pipher said. “I’ve been waiting a long time (for the season).”

He pinned Hunter Bowring of Monticello in the first period. Bowring won the Utah Class 1A 120-pound state title last year and is a three-time state finalist.

“I knew he was a state champ,” Pipher said. “I went out there like every other match to pin him.”

His father and coach was understandably proud.

“Bo’s tough,” Andy Pipher said. “He’s easy to coach. He works hard. His passion for it is incredible. You don’t get to be where Bo’s at as a sophomore without the best workout partners in the state. That’s what he’s got in Jesse Reed and Josh Altman.”

Reed, Altman, Ty Coats, Zach Milner, William Austin, Joel Simianer and Tony Darling each went 5-0.

“Josh just came out of football and didn’t have a lot of practices, but he started feeling better as the day went on,” Andy Pipher said. “He even said that.

“We still talk about the loss last year (to Fruita Monument) this season. You learn more from a loss.”

Coach Pipher had all his grapplers other than Gunnar Chesnik back and wrestling Saturday, but Pipher expects Chesnik to return next week.

The Eagles wrestle Fruita Monument on Wednesday.

The Wildcats went 5-0 and had four undefeated wrestlers — Jared Seely, Kaden Fife, Jacob Seely and Chase Clayton.

The Wildcats’ closest match was when they held on to defeat Delta 39-36. The Panthers were 4-1 in the duals.

“It was a fair day,” Fruita coach Dan Van Hoose said. “We have a lot of room for improvement. Delta matched up well with us. We gave them 12 points (forfeits) on top of it. Some kids wrestled well for us, some didn’t. That’s what it boils down to.

“I felt like we were well conditioned for the most part. Where they gassed was because of nerves, not because they weren’t in shape.”

Jacob Seely had three pins and two forfeits.

“I went out and got the fall in those matches,” Seely said. “I’m trying to build up my competition wind.”

Isaac Rodriguez didn’t wrestle because of a hand injury.

Palisade went 3-2, defeating Durango, Grand Valley and Olathe, but lost to Paonia and Fruita Monument.

“We’re not where we need to be yet,” Palisade coach Lonnie Tate said. “The kids need to get to their weight class they want to be at. We have a lot of kids wrestling up at least one weight class.”

Randon Espinoza was 5-0 with three pins, one technical fall and a forfeit at 106 pounds.

Kyauna Martinez was 4-1 with two pins at 113. Her only loss came to Fruita Monument’s Dartagnan McLean.

Dalton Hannigan didn’t wrestle because of an ankle injury and might miss the Warrior Classic in two weeks. Trevor Garcia reinjured a shoulder in his final match against Fruita Monument’s Kaden Fife. He was undefeated on the day before the injury. Garcia initially injured his shoulder in football.

“(Dalton’s) supposed to be out four weeks,” Tate said. “I don’t think he’ll be ready to go for the Warrior, but he’s still conditioning and lifting weights. He’s staying strong.”

Joing Delta with 4-1 records were Montrose and Cedaredge.


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