‘Cats send 8, Junction and Central 5 to state tourney
Led by two regional champions, Fruita Monument on Saturday qualified eight wrestlers for the Class 5A state championships next weekend in Denver.
The Wildcats placed three wrestlers in the finals of the Region 4 tournament at Standley Lake High School, and Jacob Seely (170 pounds) and Ty Taylor won their matches, while Fruita coach Dan Van Hoose held out Isaac Rodriguez in the 145-pound final.
Van Hoose said they decided to rest Rodriguez’s knee for the state meet rather than send him to the mat against undefeated Grand Junction sophomore Jacob Trujillo, who has beaten Rodriguez twice this season.
“They’ll be on opposite sides of the bracket (at state),” Van Hoose said. “We’ll try to get him healthier. Maybe they’ll meet in the final. We’ll see what happens.”
Joining Seely, Taylor and Rodriguez at state from Fruita will be third-place regional finishers Ian Konrad (120), Kaden Fife (152) and Colt Chatfield (220) and fourth-place finishers Matt Bishop (126), Clayton Muller (132).
“The whole team just really wrestled well,” Van Hoose said. “I feel like we’re peaking at the right time. ... Most of the kids outwrestled their seeds.”
The Wildcats finished third in the team standings with 181.5 points after sitting in first place after Friday’s first two rounds. Chaparral won the team title with 203 points, followed by Coronado with 201.5.
Grand Junction qualified five wrestlers for state, including four for the first time, and tied for fifth in the team standing with 127 points.
“We wrestled pretty well,” Tigers coach Cole Allison said. “We lost a couple close ones I thought we could’ve got.”
Trujillo (45-0) is going to state for the second time. He pinned his way to the 145-pound final where he received the forfeit victory over Rodriguez.
Jonathan Pauli (31-8) reached the 195-pound final before losing to top seed Payton Tabia 7-0.
Cody Lacy took third at 106, Matt King placed fourth at 182, and Louis Guillen won a wrestleback to qualify for state at 138.
Guillen (31-13) won four matches in the consolation bracket, including a rematch with Boulder’s Martin Selby, who beat Guillen 12-6 in the quarterfinal. Guillen beat Selby 5-3 for fifth place, then followed it with a 10-8 victory over Camden Roach of Chaparral to qualify for state.
“I thought Louis was one of the best in his bracket, but that’s why you wrestle them,” Allison said. “He finished strong. He showed what he’s made of.”
Class 5A Region 3
Central qualified five wrestlers for state Saturday as the Warriors placed fifth in the Class 5A Region 3 tournament with 136.5 points. Rocky Mountain won the team title with 257 points.
“The region was tougher than I thought,” Central coach Laurence Gurule said. “I thought we’d take seven or eight. The kids that are going did a good job. The rest need more mat time.”
Jacob Rubalcaba (26-9) reached the 126-pound final, where he lost to defending state champion Emilio Martinez of Greeley West 18-3. Rubalcaba qualified for state for the second time.
Caleb Hendricks bounced back from a quarterfinal loss to take third. The 170-pound senior avenged a quarterfinal loss over Rocky Mountain’s Alex Klaer in the third-place match.
Seniors Dusty Sanchez (138 pounds) and Martin Paredes (220) placed fourth and qualified for state for the first time.
Freshman Kolton Maybury placed third at 152 pounds.