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  • Frederick's Victor Rangel, top, and Holy Family's Hunter Branson jostle...

    Kira Vos / For the Daily Camera

    Frederick's Victor Rangel, top, and Holy Family's Hunter Branson jostle for position on Thursday.

  • Frederick's Jonah Gardner, top, gets the upper hand on and...

    Kira Vos / For the Daily Camera

    Frederick's Jonah Gardner, top, gets the upper hand on and Holy Family's Logan Erickson on Thursday.



BROOMFIELD — Progress isn’t always measured in wins and losses.

Sometimes the journey is long and arduous and other times it happens faster than expected.

Such is the case for Frederick coach Joey Gardner and his Warriors team that is starting to garner attention around the state. You need to look no further than Tim Yount’s On The Mat ranking — where four Frederick grapplers are currently listed — to figure that out.

On Thursday night Frederick, which earned its first wrestling trophy since 2010 last month with a second place finish at the Weld Central Tournament, warmed up for this weekend’s Gary Daum Tournament at Niwot with a strong (and very quick … 20 minutes to be exact) victory over Holy Family 65-12.

“It’s just a matter of grinding and getting after it and I think good things are going to happen,” said Gardner, who has been with the core group of Warriors since they were six years-old. “The numbers are growing, we are getting more competition in the room.

“And a lot of those kids that were freshmen when we started this are now juniors and have been a part of the varsity squad for several years.”

One of those ranked wrestlers is Gardner’s son, Jonah at 106 pounds. Currently No. 15 in Class 4A, Jonah Gardner won his match on Thursday against the Tigers’ Logan Erickson by pinfall at 2 minutes and 50 seconds.

“This team took a big step over the summer,” Jonah Gardner said. “Our new assistant coach, Anthony (Medina), really got on us and motivated us to do well this year.”

Jonah and his brother JT — who won his 120 pound match over Braidon Caffarelli in 28 seconds — don’t feel any extra pressure being the coaches’ kid. And even though there is a lot of wrestling talk around the dinner table in the Gardner household, “I don’t even act like his son when we are in the room. He’s my coach at wrestling and he’s my dad at home.”

The Warriors’ Cruz Jimenez, currently No. 12 at 113 pounds, made quick work of Holy Family’s Christian Florez, winning by pin in 38 seconds.

The lone bright spot for Holy Family was 152 pounder Hunter Branson (No. 3 in Class 3A) . The Tigers sophomore got off to a bit of a slow start against Victor Rangel (No. 16 in 4A) and had to endure a longer than usual second period after the clock failed to start on time, and ultimately won by fall at 4:40.

It was a good test after the break for Branson, who will also be looking for big things this weekend at Niwot.

“Right at the beginning, I felt good and as it got closer to the second I started to get a little tired,” said Branson, who is the cousin of Holy Family state champion Kolsen Welham (now at Arizona State). “It was just a mental block and you just have to push through it.”

Jon Yunt: or


At Holy Family

106 — Jonah Gardner, Frederick pinned Logan Erickson, 2:50; 113 — Cruz Jimenez, Frederick pinned Christian Florez, :38; 120 — JT Gardner, Frederick pinned Braidon Caffarelli, :28; 126 — Josh Dean, Frederick won by forfeit; 132 — Cole Hoffman, Frederick won by forfeit; 138 — Jonah Sanders, Frederick tech. fall Vivianna Hernandez, 24-9 (2:29); 145 — Joe Szymanski, Holy Family won by forfeit; 152 — Hunter Branson, Holy Family pinned Victor Rangel, 4:40; 160 — Braydon Wingart, Frederick pinned Benito Hernandez, 1:55; 170 — Robby Saldi, Frederick won by forfeit; 182 — Justis Ornelas, Frederick won by forfeit; 195 — Uncontested; 220 — Chris Espindola, Frederick won by forfeit. 285 — Jonathan Watts, Frederick won by forfeit.

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