Wildcats pin the competition
Expectations have been down for the Fruita Monument High School wrestling team in recent years, but not anymore.
The Wildcats expect bigger things this year and proved it Saturday, going 5-0 in the Maverick Duals tournament at Brownson Arena.
“It’s been a couple years of working hard,” Fruita coach Dan Van Hoose said. “A lot of blood, sweat and tears by everybody, parents, kids, us as coaches. They are coming around.
“They are doing a great job of believing in themselves and having confidence. That goes a long ways. They want to get better each week. This is the first of many steps of where we want to go.”
Fruita Monument defeated Palisade 57-18, Montrose 55-18, Grand Valley 80-0, Moffat County 75-3 and Delta 53-15.
“We lost very few matches,” Van Hoose said. “To be able to come in here and take care of business the way we did today is really satisfying for the kids.
“I knew we’d be good, but I wasn’t quite sure how good. We have two extremely tough tournaments in Utah and the Warrior Classic coming up. Anything can happen. It’s nice, we have a very balanced team, not too many seniors, juniors, sophomores or freshmen.”
Ian Conrad (120 pounds), Matt Bishop (126), Isaac Rodriguez (145), Kaden Fife (152), Jacob Seely (170) and Jace Clayton (195) were 5-0. Clayton Muller (132) and Aidan Woomer (160) were 4-1.
“It’s been a transition period, but it’s been good,” Muller said. “Change is always good.
“We love being the underdog and come from behind and surprise people. You got to wrestle with a chip on your shoulder. People think we lost it. We were the bottom of the valley for a bit. Now, we’re trying to get back on top and I think we’re getting there.”
The Wildcats (6-0), who had to forfeit at least a couple weight classes last year, have six returning varsity wrestlers and five returning state qualifiers.
“Now we have a full roster,” Seely said. “I don’t think that’s all of it. What makes us a special team is we believe in ourselves. We wrestle hard. We sacrifice so much because we want to be good. We want to be on top.”
The sophomore pinned four of his opponents. The one match he didn’t get a pin, he received a forfeit victory.
“I’ve got some stuff to work on, but I think I wrestled pretty good,” Seely said.
Paonia, the top ranked team in Class 2A, bounced back from a dual loss Friday to Fruita Monument, to go 5-0 in the dual tournament as well.
“It’s good for the kids,” Paonia coach Andy Pipher said. “You got to work. You’re not last year’s team. You’ve got to make your own way. Today they did. They got a little butt chewin.’ They don’t like getting beat. They decided if they don’t get after it, they’ll get beat and that’s what happened.
“The kids got better. You can’t ask for any more than that.”
The Eagles defeated Class 5A Grand Junction 58-21, Durango 66-14, Central 60-18, Class 4A Palisade 45-30 and Moffat County 66-12.
Josh Altman (113), Bo Pipher (120), Jorge Quinonez (160), Morgan Reider (195) and Tony Darling (285) were 5-0. Gunner Chesnik (138) and Ty Coats (145) went 4-1.