Grand County high school athletes are back in action with winter sports |

Grand County high school athletes are back in action with winter sports

Tracy Ross
For Sky-Hi News
Joseph Gallegos works for a takedown against his opponent from Standley Lake during a dual-format tournament at Golden High School on Friday, Dec. 3, 2022.
Brian Stuart/Courtesy photo

Grand County’s high school sports teams entered a new season and girls and boys basketball and boys and girls wrestling have all started their seasons.

West Grand and Middle Park girls basketball

The West Grand Mustangs varsity girls basketball team won their first non-conference game against their in-county rival Middle Park Panthers, 49-26 in a home game in Kremmling on Nov. 30.

“It felt great to be back on the court and playing the game,” said West Grand assistant coach Karrah Baker. “With a young team, head coach James Holmes put four starting sophomores on the court with senior post player Morgan Nelson.”

Bake said the Mustangs were able to build a big lead in the first quarter which the Panthers couldn’t overcome.

Sophomore Sage Whealtey led the Mustangs in points with 16. Sophomores Sara Lechman led the team with 13 rebounds and Luci Bruchez snagged seven steals.

On Wednesday, Dec. 6, the Mustangs lost to Gilpin County 54-2.

As a part of their tournament play, the Mustangs are playing at home against Olathe Thursday, Dec. 8, and away against Mancos on Friday, before facing a yet-to-be determined foe on Saturday. Middle Park is playing away at Manitou Springs on Thursday, Dec. 8 before returning home to face Battle Mountain on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

West Grand and Middle Park boys basketball

The boys teams also started out the season against each other for the Foundations basketball game, Middle Park won that game and followed it with by two tough losses: a 71-34 loss to DSST: Green Valley Ranch on Dec. 2 and a 102-69 drubbing by Kent Denver on Dec. 3.

“This weekend we are looking to bounce back at a tournament at University High School in Greeley on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We open the tournament at 3:30 versus Manitou Springs,” said head coach Todd Williams.

The West Grand Mustangs have had two tough losses to start off their season. The first was a 80-15 home loss against Aspen on Dec. 2, which was followed by a 62-7 loss at Roaring Fork. West Grand basketball returns to their home court Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m., when they take on Moffat in the South Park Tournament. On Saturday, Dec. 10, they’ll play an away game against South Park, and then take on Lake County at home on Wednesday, Dec. 14.

From left, Middle Park High School girls wrestling coach Brian Stuart, Annika Stuart, Allison Life, Steve Quesada and Ella Quesada are pictured during their tournament at Greeley West High School on Dec. 3, 2022.
Brian Stuart/Courtesy photo

Middle Park High School girls wrestling

The Middle Park Panthers girls wrestling team wrestled at Greeley West on Friday, Dec. 3.

Junior Allison Life put in a strong showing going 2-2 on the day and pulling off a physically exhausting win with a hard-nosed double leg in sudden victory overtime, according to head coach Brian Stuart.

Junior Ella Quesada went 3-1 on her way to a third place finish. After suffering a defeat in her first match of the day, Quesada dominated the consolation bracket by reeling off three consecutive pins to capture the bronze medal.  

Senior Annika Stuart went 3-1 to capture second place. Stuart returned to the mat healthy for the first time since last December, and defeated a tough Eaglecrest opponent in the semifinals to secure her second-place finish.

Middle Park High School boys wrestling

The Middle Park boys competed at a dual-format tournament at Golden High School on Friday, Dec. 3, as well. 

Junior Adam Zeleznikar went 3-2 on the day. 

“Zeleznikar is an extremely strong kid both physically and mentally. What (he) lacks in experience he more than makes up for in grit,” Stuart added.

Freshman Tanner Hoover surprised Stuart with his ability to keep every match a close one.

“He wrestled extremely well in a tough weight class to finish 2-3 on the day,” said Stuart.  

Stuart said sophomore Joseph Gallegos brought his usual fiery style to the mat, and finished 3-2. 

“Gallegos always sets a high pace in every one of his matches, and always seems to generate a lot of points,” said Stuart.

Freshman Jacob Zeleznikar, who Stuart said has a bright future as he is a consistent hard worker in the practice room, suffered a lower back injury in his second match of the day.

Freshman Xander Dennis secured a victory in his first day of competition, and Stuart said he keeps getting better every night in practice.

Freshman Tony Crane will look to get on track as the season progresses as he’s been battling some health issues. Stuart called Crane “another consistently positive member of the team … with … such a refreshing perspective on things.”

Junior Heath Tighlman finished 2-3 on the day, improving drastically from a year ago.

Sophomore Daniel Kelm, who Stuart called “a valuable teammate inside our wrestling room,” put in a solid and consistent effort, but was unable to secure a win. 

Sophomore DJ Kohlwey wrestled his way to a 2-2 finish, causing Stuart to say he will have a solid and productive season this year. 

Senior Jacob Barr was able to battle through some nagging injuries, and finished the day at 4-0. Barr has goals for February, and kicked off his season the way he needed to, said Stuart.

Junior Eli Broady, who started of his season going 5-0, dominated his opponents on his quest towards some February hardware this year, added the coach.

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