Grand Junction’s Hoffschneider captures 5A title
DENVER — Above his bed, taped to the roof, were two newspaper clippings that told of Jessie Hoffschneider being a runner-up at the state championship.
Each morning for two years, the senior awoke to a front-page picture of tears streaming down his face in defeat.
By sometime today, they’ll have been torn down. And in their place, Hoffschneider said there will be stories of triumph: A newspaper article and state bracket poster that says Hoffschneider did it — he is a Class 5A state wrestling champion at 170 pounds.
By way of a pin.
The senior’s 3 minute, 31 second sticking of Ponderosa’s Thad Gallegos (32-6) at the Pepsi Center on Saturday wiped out the runner-up finishes.
“It’s been three years I’ve had that pain inside me,” Hoffschneider said. “I wanted to take it back. My whole career I’ve competed for a state title, since nine years ago and I never won. When I was looking good to win, something would come up and I wasn’t able to win.”
Something came up again. Hoffschneider earlier this week came down with the flu. Throughout his matches, he battled shortness of breath and congestion. But Hoffschneider (45-1) told his parents at the beginning of the season nothing would stop him from getting a state title.
He said as he was warming up for Saturday’s final, he felt unable to breathe again. “I was getting nervous,” he said.
But he vowed to let nothing interrupt his dream.
“I didn’t let it stop me,” Hoffschneider said, “I wanted my state title; it was my last chance and I got it.”
Grand Junction freshman Jacob Trujillo had an opportunity to avenge one of his two losses this season. The 120-pounder recorded 35 victories with one of his losses coming to P.T. Garcia of Bear Creek last January at the Arvada West Invitational. Garcia pinned Trujillo in 3:30.
They met again in the 120-pound final. The outcome was the same, but closer —Garcia earned a 9-1 decision.
The Tigers placed fourth with 81 points. Pine Creek won the title with 143.5 points.
And Grand Junction succeeded beyond its redeemed senior. At 160 pounds, Gage Casey won a 6-4 decision for third place over Gabe Grimaldo, at 160 pounds. In the previous match, Casey (37-8), a senior, won a 15-0 technical fall over Fruita Monument’s Jacob Seely.
“This was my first year at state, so to make it to the semifinals is huge for me,” Casey said. “Going through the wrestle-backs and taking third is huge because I’ve gone further than anyone in my family.”
Seely (36-15) bounced back to score a 12-4 major decision over Pine Creek’s Alex Markowski to take fifth.
Also for the Tigers, Dylon Thompson (42-5), a senior who had lost a 5-3 decision in Friday’s semifinal, pinned Ponderosa’s Torry Williams in 4:11 to grab third place at 138 pounds.
“It’s my senior year and I was looking at winning state,” Thompson said. “So coming back was tough. I lost my head but going through wrestle-backs e_SEmD I’m so proud of it.”
Jacob Rubalcaba of Central lost a third place, 126-pound match, 8-3, to Fountain-Fort Carson’s Jacob Mondragon.
Central’s Anthony Feller ended his senior season on a high note. In the final seconds of the 145-pound fifth-place match, tied at 2-2, Feller prevented Austen Lindsey of Fossil Ridge to escape, and stuck Lindsey on his back for a near-fall to take fifth place with a 5-2 win.