Late pins lift Colfax grapplers to PVL victory

By: Journal Sports Staff
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LAKE OF THE PINES — With four key wrestlers missing Thursday night due to injury, illness or school commitments, Colfax High coach Jerry Sinkey would have been happy just to see his team keep the score respectable against Bear River. The Falcons did better than that. They won — and in dramatic fashion, no less. Colfax got pins in four of its last five matches, including the last three, to edge the host Bruins 40-39 in a Pioneer Valley League dual at Jack McCrory Gymnasium. The Falcons (3-2 PVL) needed every one of those pins. They trailed 33-16 going into the 160-pound match, in which senior Greg Garza pinned Bear River senior Brett Bothelio to get the rally going. “In my 33 years of coaching wrestling, I think this is one of the few times I’ve been able see one of my teams come back from that far,” Sinkey said. “A win’s a win, no matter how you do it.” After Bear River’s Kent Merrill pinned fellow senior Dan Wallenberg at 171 pounds to give the Bruins a 39-22 advantage, Colfax needed three straight pins — worth six team points apiece — to win. The Falcons got them. Senior Kale Ormmons topped Bruins freshman Michael Merrill at 189 pounds, freshman Kan Matthe brought down junior Blake Hedenland at 215, and senior Dave Proffitt got a first-round pin over Bear River senior Nate Soares to give Colfax the come-from-behind victory. “I thought there was no way we were going to come back,” Sinkey said. “The kids proved me wrong.” For Bear River coach Kevin Figueroa, the toughest part about losing was knowing the dual could have at least ended in a tie. “We lost one team point off an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in first round,” Figueroa said. The Bruins (3-2 PVL) had three straight victories before Colfax’s furious rally got under way. Justin Chirigotis got the run started by pinning fellow junjor Jesse Cunningham at 140 pounds. Bruins senior Josiah Georgeson followed by topping junior Vinnie Coralejo — fresh up from the Falcons’ junior varsity squad — at 145, and junior Jarett Paoletti pinned Colfax junior Joe Petersen at 152. “We got three (wins) in a row, and then the momentum swung to Colfax’s side,” Figueroa said. “It was a heck of a battle. They did a good job capitalizing on our weak points.” Colfax also got pins from senior Jason Funk at 135 pounds and sophomore Tyler Rios at 103. Sophomore Alex Chaney posted a major decision over Bear River senior Alex Loza at 130 pounds. Chris Hankins earned a major decision at 112 pounds for Bear River, topping fellow junior Jack Moran before the Bruins won their next two matches by forfeit. Sinkey had to tip his cap to Bear River for making Colfax work to earn the win. “Bear River’s kids did a great job,” Sinkey said. “We just had a little bit more gas in the tank at the end.”