GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The Fruita Monument wrestling team hosted one of 2A's strongest contenders - the Paonia Eagles.
After the Eagles pulled ahead 12-0, the Wildcats came rallied back in it, taking 3 straight matches including 2 pins. However, last year's state runner-up Tony Darling stole that lead right back in a single round with a pin of his own over Clayton Voytilla.
The fight didn't stop there. The two teams knotted up the score at 21, but from there on out Paonia dominated. Two-time state champion Jesse Reed displayed his talent opposite Fruita's Ian Konrad. Konrad tried to keep up early, but Jesse proved too much to handle, walking away with the 8-2 win.
Another state runner-up, Bo Pipher of Paonia won by technical fall 16-0 as the Eagles powered through the end with a 44-24 victory.
Though Paonia has long been known for their successful wrestling program, Coach Pipher knows it hasn't affected their mindset.
"They're hard workers and you can say, well are they over confident or whatever, [but] these guys are just even keel, they work hard. When you're as good as these guys are, and they are a great team, there's just no laying in the weeds. Everybody knows they're tough and they go out there and wrestle like they're tough week in and week out," said head coach Andy Pipher.