Huerfano– Due to the early press date of the paper, the state rankings are unavailable. Please visit the web site at www.huerfanojournal.com Thursday to see how the area grapplers have fared.
LA VETA- The Redskins hosted their annual holiday wrestling tournament last Saturday with three of their own standing on the winners′ podium. Adam Ortivez continued his winning ways and showed the hometown crowd why he is ranked as the number two wrestler in the state. The road to victory for Ortivez seemed easy when he pinned Adam Lanish of Buena Vista in 38 seconds in his first match. His next opponent gave him more of a match. Ortivez was trailing 5-2 going into the second round and was on the bottom in a near pin fall position when he reversed the hold, got on top and gained the three points to tie it up. Ortivez found himself in the same position in the third: time was running out when he broke the hold for two points and escaped with a 7-5 decision. He then went on to win his final matches to claim the title. Ortivez is 12-0 overall.
Teammate Stephen Kimbrel (11-0) also continued his quest for a state championship by claiming his third tournament in three weeks, ousting all his opponents in the 145-pound weight class. Kimbrel has one of the fastest pins in the tournament, a 14-second fall. Like Ortivez, Kimbrel struggled with his second opponent, Zach Conley of Buena Vista. He found himself in a pinning situation at the end of the first round, narrowly escaping as time expired. He went on to master his opponent, gaining points and a 10-3 decision. He also went on in the finals to claim his spot on the podium.
Ron Ortivez III (12-0), who was ranked sixth last week in the 152-pound class, defeated all opponents with ease, positioning himself to move up in the rankings and to return to state.
Nicholas Northup (9-2) came into the tournament ranked sixth at 189 and faced Luke Schroeder of Swink. Schroeder had defeated Northup two times in the past and Northrup was looking to avenge his losses. Northup dominated Schroeder in the first round and was leading 2-0. As the dominance continued in the second, Schroeder pulled on top of Northup in an instant, pulling him over for the pin fall at 3:08. Northup shook off the loss and went on to wrestle his next opponent to capture third place. So far, Northup has a first, a second and a third place medal in his trophy case.
The final Redskin to bring home the bronze was James Smalley (215). Within this weight class, a round robin format was used and Smalley wrestled five opponents, winning three to claim third place. Also on hand were Austin Taggart (112), Ryan Taggart (119) and Chuck Rapp (171).
John Mall Invitational
WALSENBURG- John Mall also held their own Invitational Wrestling tournament this past Saturday, hosting 15 teams from as far away as Broomfield (CO) and Taos (NM). Waylon Cordova of the Cats, who was ranked number four last week (10-2), breezed through the competition in his first two bouts. He won his first match by pin fall against Cuauhtemoc Torres of Ignacio and a technical decision over Michael Luca of Holy Family (Broomfield) 15-0. Luca pinned his first opponent in 18 seconds but was no match for Cordova, losing decisively. Cordova met Gadge Cole of Cripple Creek in the finals and was pinned in the second round. For the tournament, Cordova claimed second place. Cole was named the tournament′s Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Brian Aguirre of the Panthers won his opening bout in an 8-3 decision over Chris Pagnotta of Rye. He went on to face Garret Gibson of Crowley County, losing by pin fall, forcing him into the third-place round. Aguirre went on to lose his next match, claiming fourth overall in the tournament.
Tanner Valdez (145) won his opening bout over Kyle Shoop of Trinidad at the 3:50 mark but lost his next, eliminating him from the tournament. Stuart Pino (215) lost his opening round match, forcing him into the consolation bracket where he won his next match over Quint McGuire of Crowley County in a 19-second pin fall, the second fastest in the tournament. Pino went on to wrestle for fifth place.
As in previous weeks, the Panthers have been plagued with injuries and ineligibilities, unable to field all their weight classes. Those who are wrestling have been improving weekly and should be ready for the tournaments after the New Year.
Of note, former Assistant Principal Chuck Smithey returned to the school to watch his grandson Michael wrestle at 130 weight. Smithey finished fourth in the tournament. Smithey said afterwards he was excited and pleased by the warm reception from his former students, who said they missed him and hoped he was doing well at his new school. He said, "It makes me feel proud the students were so welcoming."