Tigers' Trujillo wins featured match at Jackpot Duals
The old Grand Junction High School gymnasium wasn’t packed like it was for the old wrestling rivalries, but the crowd was riveted.
Many spectators moved over to watch one of the most highly anticipated wrestling matches in some time Wednesday night at the Jackpot Duals.
“There was a lot of talk about it,” Grand Junction sophomore Jacob Trujillo said. “There was a lot of hype.”
Trujillo (19-0) saw his 18-match pin streak come to an end, but he still handed Fruita Monument’s Isaac Rodriguez (12-1) his first loss of the season. Trujillo won 4-1 in the 145-pound final.
“It’s tough to pin the whole way through,” Trujillo said. “I don’t let it affect me mentally. I’ve got to keep going and push toward the next match.”
Trujillo took Rodriguez down immediately in the first period, then cut him loose for a 2-1 lead.
In the second period, Rodriguez took a shot but couldn’t finish the single-leg takedown.
“I had that single leg in,” Rodriguez said. “Once I had his leg, I got spooked and let it go.
“I think it would’ve been better if I got it for sure. I would’ve had more confidence. I was getting a little sloppy toward the end. I should’ve put my mind-set on offense more than defense.”
Trujillo scored another takedown later in the second period for the 4-1 victory.
“It’s hard to wrestle kids that don’t want to get pinned or beat by a lot of points, so they wrestle defensively,” Trujillo said. “It makes it a challenge when they wrestle not to lose.
“When someone comes after you, they make mistakes or leave themselves open. When they wrestle defensively, it’s hard to get in on them and turn him.”
It was Trujillo’s second Jackpot title.
“I was really excited to wrestle him,” Rodriguez said. “I knew we’d go in and bash each other, but we’re friends. We have a lot of respect for each other.”
Fruita Monument won the Jackpot team title for the first time since 2010, totaling 175 points.
The Wildcats had five individual champions, all first-time winners. Fruita Monument senior Aidan Woomer pinned Palisade’s DJ Garner in 3:07 at 160.
“The confidence was there, but I try to keep it in perspective,” Woomer said. “It means a lot to the team.”
Palisade took second with 154 points and two individual champions. Central was third with 147 points and three champions. Grand Junction was fourth with 141.5 and four champions.
Palisade’s Justin Ray won his second Jackpot title with a 10-1 victory over Central’s Jon Sullivan at 132 pounds and the Bulldogs’ Braxton Stewart (182) won his first Jackpot crown.
Central’s Jacob Rubalcaba won the 126-pound title, pinning Fruita Monument’s Matt Bishop in 1:44 in the final, and previous Jackpot winners Dalton Hannigan of Palisade and Jeff Christeleit of Grand Junction wrestled for third place at 126.
“I wanted to prove something to myself,” Rubalcaba said. “I didn’t look at the brackets. I came out here to see what I can do for myself.”
Rubalcaba wrestled a varsity match last weekend for the first time since spraining his ankle the first weekend of the season.
“It felt good,” Rubalcaba said. “Obviously there are going to be some things with your conditioning that affect you. I’ve been out three or four weeks. I wasn’t able to go full.
“This week I got out and was able to run and get my conditioning up a little better. That helped me get through the last periods because they were tough.”
Rubalcaba was runner-up the previous two years at the Jackpot.