GJ's Sanders gets first win in place of injured teammate
It wasn’t the opportunity Tyler Sanders wanted, but the Grand Junction High School wrestler plans to make the most of it.
Sanders replaced Robbie Gonzalez in the Tigers’ lineup and pinned his opponent Wednesday night in the Tigers’ 54-24 victory over Montrose at Grand Junction High School.
Gonzalez, a state qualifier a year ago, broke and tore all of the ligaments in his left ankle in the Warrior Classic last weekend. He had surgery Saturday morning and is out for the rest of the season.
“It’s a sucky way to get a spot,” Sanders said. “I was wrestling heavies, but it is what it is. Hopefully, I can fill his shoes the best I can.”
Sanders wrestled at heavyweight in the Tiger Duals earlier this season, but he didn’t need to lose weight to wrestle at 220. He weighs just under 210 pounds.
“I was not as nervous as I was for my first varsity match,” Sanders said. “But nerves were kicking in. I went out there and do what we do.”
Sanders (2-3) pinned Montrose’s Cody Rollo in 3:15 for his first varsity win against a non-Grand Junction wrestler. He defeated a junior varsity teammate in the Tiger Duals. The JV team filled in for a Front Range school that couldn’t make the tournament.
“(Sanders) did his job tonight,” Grand Junction coach Cole Allison said. “I was proud of him.
“We had a few kids get in the lineup for the first time tonight. A couple of them won and a couple of them competed hard.”
Jesse Carcamo won his second varsity match, pinning Ethan Davis in 5:50 in the 145-pound match.
Jacob Crawford wrestled his first varsity match but was pinned by Matt Sandoval at 138.
“It was a tight dual,” Allison said. “We caught all the breaks tonight. I expected some pins, but I thought we could get a pin at 106 or 113. Kudos for their staff, they had their lightweights ready to wrestle. (Kohlby Wells) was down 5-0 when he woke up and battled back (at 113). That’s why they’re still young.”
The Tigers (7-0) won 10 matches, including eight by pinfall.
“No matter how young you are, you should be able to fight off your back,” Montrose coach Neal Samples said. “There were some young mistakes out there, but once you go to your back, you should be doing everything you can to get off it, and we’re not doing that right now.”
Montrose had four wins, including two forfeits.
Jacob Trujillo (17-0) pushed his pin streak to 17, but he was pushed to a third period before he pinned Montrose freshman Joe Sandoval in 5:09 in the 152-pound match. Allison bumped Trujillo up a weight to give him a tougher challenge.
“With a kid like (Trujillo), you’ve got to go out and wrestle,” Samples said. “Our kid is a tough kid, but you can’t wrestle timid against kids like that.”
Montrose’s Terrell Banuelos gave Cody Lacy a tougher match this time around, but Lacy still persevered with a 4-2 decision. Lacy pinned Banuelos in their first meeting during the opening weekend of the season.
“I went out there flat,” Lacy said. “I was a little dizzy from cutting weight and not drinking enough fluids, I guess.
“I went out there to do good, expecting to get the W, and I did.”
“Terrell wrestled a lot better this time,” Samples said. “They caught us sleeping a couple times. That’s all it takes.”