Central senior brings nothing-to-lose attitude to 5A state wrestling tourney
Tony Summers wasn’t surprised he placed in the top four at last week’s Class 5A Region 4 wrestling tournament at Central High School.
The thing that surprised Summers was that he didn’t win the 145-pound division.
“I was planning on taking first,” the Central senior said.
That was despite entering the tournament with a 7-18 record and missing two weeks in February because of eligibility issues and a staph infection.
“This might be all I have,” Summers said of knowing there was no tomorrow in his high school career.
“He didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes,” Central coach Laurence Gurule said of Summers’ success in the regional tournament.
After finishing fourth in the region and earning the last state tournament berth at 145, Summers is wrestling with that same nothing-to-lose attitude this week.
Not only will today’s first round of the Class 5A state championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver mark his first state appearance, but it is also the first time he’ll be attending the state championships.
“Oh yeah,” he said of the adrenaline rush he expects to feel tonight.
Although being hyped for a match can work to a wrestler’s disadvantage, Summers hopes to turn that into a positive.
In addition to not making errors, “You’ve got to be lucky,” Gurule said of working through a tournament bracket.
The 5A state tournament begins tonight at 7:15 at the Pepsi Center. Quarterfinal and semifinal action is Friday, with the state championship matches set Saturday evening at 6:30.
Although Summers will face Taylor Hollister of Air Academy, a No. 1 qualifier out of Region 3, in the first round, Gurule will tell his charge to go until the final whistle.
“You don’t know who’s going to show up,” Gurule said of the anything-can-happen (and often does) atmosphere at the state tournament.
Summers is one of seven Central wrestlers headed to state.
At the top of the list is junior Matthew Gurule (38-0), who looks to repeat his 103-pound state title of a year ago.
Like Matthew Gurule, Daniel Rodriguez (37-4) enters the state tournament as a regional champion, having won the 130-pound title.
Jaqub Gurule (39-6 at 112) is a No. 2 seed from the region. Zach Rosales (28-5 at 285) was a third-place finisher at regionals. Zach Short (26-12 at 135) joins Summers as a fourth-seed qualifier from the region.
The Warriors’ seventh qualifier, Jesus Rodriguez, was injured in Saturday’s 125-pound championship match and had to default. It appears he sustained a strain or possible tear of one of the rear muscles in his right shoulder.
Rodriguez (38-7) was being evaluated by a doctor this week. His status for the state tournament might be a match-time decision.
Grand Junction qualified four wrestlers.
The Tigers’ top regional finisher was Anthony Guillen (33-6), who was second at 119 pounds.
Jessie Hoffschneider (135) and Jace Casey (18-3 at 140) both placed third. Dylon Thompson took fourth at 103.
Guillen and Casey are both seniors; Guillen is competing in his fourth state tournament, Casey his second.
As freshmen, Thompson (25-11) and Hoffschneider (30-7) are getting their first experience at competing in a state tournament.
Fruita Monument also qualified four wrestlers.
Taylor Termentozzi (33-8 at 171) reached the finals of the Region 3 tournament. As a junior, Termentozzi qualified for the 152-pound bracket last year.
Jeff Gonzales (28-17 at 125) and Matt Remy (23-16 at 215) both juniors, both placed third at the regional tournament.
Anthony Martin (22-18), competing in his first season as a junior, qualified in the heavyweight division by finishing fourth at regionals.