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Photo by Tamie Meck Bruin Taj Van der Linde scores the takedown leading to his pin over Bulldog Kevin Chavez last Friday in Cedaredge’s 65-12 win over Hotchkiss. Cedaredge is the No. 1 team in the most recent On the Mat team rankings, followed by Paonia and Hotchkiss.
Photo by Tamie Meck In the Bulldog’s only win of the night, Kylar Massano works toward a pin over Bruin Danny Mendoza in the 138-pound match.

Bruins dominate Dogs

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In a dual between two of the top three teams in class 2A state rankings, Cedaredge claimed all but one match and gave up six points to a forfeit to defeat Hotchkiss last Friday, 65-12.

The dual opened at 126, with No. 2-ranked sophomore Sean Dale pinning Bulldog freshman JD Miller in 1 minute, 54 seconds.

At 132, Cedaredge took a 10-0 lead when Traycer Hall, a top-10 ranked freshman for Hotchkiss, lost by major decision to fourth-ranked senior Alex McCracken. The Bruins' one loss came in the 138 match when Danny Mendoza was pinned in 3:37 by Kylar Massano. Head coach Cutter Garrison said Mendoza was returning to the mat for the first time in a month following an injury.

At 145, David Schippman pinned Bulldog JP Scriver in 3:14.

The 152-pound match saw the No. 4 wrestler defeat No. 5 when Bruin Colton Hoerr won by an 11-2 major decision over Jace Peebles. At 160, Bruin Jared Hulteen pinned Ethan Guy in 2:20.

At 220, Taj Van der Linde pinned Kevin Chavez in 5:13. At heavyweight, Derek Sanchez scored six points for the Bruins in a first-round pin over senior Nolan Egging, who was wrestling his second match of the season. Sanchez is one of three freshmen varsity wrestlers for Cedaredge. "He's big, he's tough and he's mean," said Garrison of Sanchez. "That takes you a long way in this sport."

At 113, Bruin Adrian Nieto trailed by two points throughout his match against freshman Robert Cochran. In the final seconds, Nieto scored a quick takedown and back points to win by a 5-2 decision, giving the Bruins a 59-12 lead.

The biggest upset of the night came at 120, with No. 2 ranked freshman Trey Geyer pinning No. 1 ranked junior, Sergio Campos in the second round. "I had a lot of confidence going in" said Geyer.

"He found a way to win," said Garrison. "Two versus one in the state, a big win." Like Sanchez, "He's a tough freshman," said Garrison.

Cedaredge gained 18 points from forfeits by Hotchkiss at 106, 170 and 182 pounds; Hotchkiss won by forfeit at 195.

Garrison said the team did well overall, but that he'd like to see a little more offense from his wrestlers. And while the Bruins celebrated the win, Garrison noted that winning is cyclical. "I'm giving my 'hats off' to Hotchkiss," he said. "I remember going up there my first year of coaching and they did the same thing as us. It comes and goes. We're just trying to ride that wave, stay on that high, and get the job done this year."

The win bumped Cedaredge's dual record to 6-1. In the first On the Mat ranking of the new year, the Bruins, who have wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in 10 weight classes, are first in Class 2A team rankings, ahead of No. 2 Paonia and No. 3 Hotchkiss.

"This could be the highest ranking in school history," said Garrison. While he was a little surprised at the rankings, he said this is what they have worked for the past three seasons. Wrestlers don't talk about rankings, but are aware of it, and are excited about it. "I'm excited," he said. "If they keep working hard and stay healthy, we'll be fine."

That being said, added Garrison, "There's still a long way to go before the state tournament."

Cedaredge wrestles at Paonia on Jan. 11. On Jan. 12, it hosts Rocky Ford, currently fourth in On the Mat rankings.

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