The team to beat: Montrose dominates to win Palisade Invitational
All season long, Montrose has had the team to beat when it comes to wrestling, and on Saturday at the Palisade Invitational, that continued to be the case.
The Indians finished with 155.5 points and four champions, beating their closest competitor by 12 points.
Not bad considering they were a little off their game.
“They’ve been working hard for so long and this is really our first tournament where we’ve been sluggish. You can expect it,” Montrose coach Kevin Passehl said.
Their first champion came in the 112-pound weight class, where Geordan Hudson beat Palisade’s Justin Ray in a 6-2 decision that was a rematch of the championship of last weekend’s Indian Invitational, which Hudson also won.
“Every time I wrestle him, I’ve got to wrestle him at the top of my game,” Hudson said. “I know what he does, he knows what I do. I respect him a lot.”
The Indians’ Drew Schumann at 125, Bryce Gaber at 171 and Jordan Passehl at 189 also were champions.
But Montrose got plenty of competition from Fruita Monument, who finished in second place, a spot it held most of the day.
The Wildcats had three champions, including senior Matt Remy, who learned from mistakes in prior matches to hold onto a 3-1 lead against Montrose’s Braxton Franz.
“I didn’t want to get hit for stalling (at the end),” said Remy, who noted he was hurt earlier in the year by stalling penalties.
“I just kept moving and tried my best not to stall.”
Anthony Martin, Fruita’s 285 pounder, joined Remy as a champion, pinning Paonia’s Zach Solaas in 1:22.
Jeff Gonzales won the 130-pound division for the Wildcats in a match that was tied at four points each going into the final period. Gonzales scored three points in the final period to beat Paonia’s Adrian Lopez 7-3.
Fruita also came within seconds of a championship in the 160-pound division, where Kyle Hamaker lost to Paonia’s Justin Smith. Down 7-6 with a half a minute left, Hamaker scored two points, and as the final seconds ticked off the clock, Smith was given two points for the win, a call Fruita fans weren’t happy about.
Palisade finished in third place, with sophomore 119-pounder Daniel Salazar taking home the team’s only championship. Salazar beat Montrose’s Kordell Bradshaw in an 8-2 decision.
Salazar, who has wrestled against Bradshaw since they were pee wees, tried to avoid his opponent’s strong points.
“I knew he likes to throw a lot and tie up, so I just made sure I didn’t tie up with him and stayed outside and low,” Salazar said.
The Bulldogs had four of their wrestlers finish in second place, including Wes Shingleton, who lost 4-2 to Grand Valley’s Ryan Gallegos at 145, in a match Shingleton tied after trailing 2-0 early.
Grand Valley, who took fifth behind Paonia, also crowned champions in the 140-pound weight class, which Jared Tonder won by technical fall with a 16-0 score. At 152, Tyler Miles beat Eagle Valley’s Matt Kottenstette in a 6-0 decision.