Fruita's Seely motivated to add a third Warrior Classic title to his collection
Jacob Seely remembers when he was a young boy watching the Warrior Classic with big eyes.
He remembers thinking how impressed he was with the high school wrestlers.
“Growing up, I thought it was this tournament I would never win when I was a little kid,” Seely said. “I never thought I’d win the Warrior Classic. As I drew closer to high school, I realized it is attainable. My dad even won one back in the day. It was like, I’ve got to keep up with him. It’s been one of my best tournaments.”
The Fruita Monument High School senior is a two-time Warrior Classic champion and two-time Warrior Classic upper weights outstanding wrestler.
Seely, the Wildcats and the rest of the valley high school wrestling teams meet for the annual tournament Friday and Saturday at Central High School. The first round starts at 10 a.m. on Friday.
Teams to watch for include Class 5A No. 1-ranked Arvada West, defending Warrior Classic champion and fifth-ranked Rocky Mountain, fourth-ranked Grand Junction, Class 2A No. 1 Paonia and Thunderbird, Arizona. The Tigers host Arvada West at 7 tonight.
Meeker is in the tournament for the first time in several years. The Cowboys have a challenger for a Warrior Classic title in two-time state champion T.J. Shelton.
Although Seely’s main goal is to win an elusive state title, it’s still important to him to win the Warrior Classic.
“It’s in town, plus I get to wrestle in front of people that don’t usually get to watch me,” Seely said. “It does motivate me to do well at the Warrior. It’s in my hometown, so it’s a pride thing also.”
Seely was so hungry for the season, he started cutting weight before football season was over to get down to 195 pounds for wrestling.
“That was extremely hard,” he said with a chuckle, looking back. “I definitely wanted to stay at 195s this year because that’s where I’m nationally ranked.”
Seely, who is ranked 16th in the nation, dropped 22 pounds to make 195 pounds in a couple weeks, he said. He plans on wrestling at 197 pounds next year at the University of Northern Colorado.
Seely has participated in numerous wrestling tournaments since the high school season ended last year and believes he is mentally stronger this season.
“Last year, I hadn’t beaten a nationally ranked opponent,” Seely said. “Now, I’m in close matches with the top three-ranked guys in the country. Mentally, I was able to overcome a huge obstacle of wrestling very good kids.
“This year, it doesn’t really faze me as much. Mentally I’m a much better wrestler and smarter wrestler.
“You’ve got to believe you’re going to win.”
Seely (11-0) is off to a great start this season with seven pins and one technical fall. The other results were forfeits.
“I have every bit of confidence in the world in him,” Fruita coach Dan Van Hoose said. “He’s mental (aspect) this year is the best I’ve seen it in four years. He’s very relaxed and seems to enjoy every weekend and let things come to him.”