Central’s Rubalcaba scores ‘weird’ victory at state

Grand Junction 120-pounder Jacob Trujillo defeated Doherty’s Nathan Gonzales 12-5 on Thursday night during the Class 5A state wrestling tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

In his years of wrestling, Central’s Jacob Rubalcaba had never seen it before.

And it came in the first round of the Class 5A state wrestling tournament at Pepsi Center Thursday.

Rubalcaba’s opponent in the 126-pound bout, Pine Creek’s Andrew Wallace, did not take the standard stance on all fours when in the bottom position. Instead, he sat with his legs crossed, or, as Rubalcaba called it, “criss-cross applesauce.”

At this, Rubalcaba, a sophomore, gave a confused look to the referee. The referee nodded for Rubalcaba to get on top. All was legal.

Rubalcaba got in position and did not grab an arm or make any other aggressive moves. Instead, he chose to react, preferring to figure out the stance instead of attacking it.

On all three occasions he faced the unorthodox stance, Rubalcaba chopped Wallace back to the mat during a 7-2 victory.

“It was weird,” said Rubalcaba, 28-14. “I wasn’t used to seeing it. I thought to myself, ‘There’s no options. I have to win no matter what.’ “

Central’s Willy Holdren, who won his 152-pound match over Arvada West’s Collin Pearce by decision, watched as Rubalcaba deciphered criss-cross applesauce. Holdren, a 42-8 senior, had hardly seen such a stance, especially at state.

“There’s only a few kids in the state I’ve seen do it,” Holdren said.

Holdren is not considered the No. 1 seed in his bracket. That would be Loveland’s Sam Kreimier (29-5).

“Just have to get it done,” Holdren said with a confident smile. “My last high school experience, under the lights of the Pepsi Center, might as well get it done.”

Central’s Anthony Feller also advanced at 145 pounds in a 10-2 decision over Arvada West’s Tony Silva.

The Warriors are ninth with 11 points; Grand Junction 11th with 10 and Fruita Monument 14th with 8.

“I’m not going in to win or to lose,” Feller said. “I’m going in to wrestle. If I wrestle, winning will come.”

Grand Junction advanced Jessie Hoffschneider and Jacob Trujillo, the Tigers mostly likely to win a state title in terms of their rankings.

Hoffschneider, 42-1, a three-time medalist and two-time state runner up, defeated Palmer’s Nick Benson 15-2 at 170 pounds.

No. 2 Trujillo, a freshman at 120 pounds, won his first state tournament match 12-5 over Doherty’s Nathan Gonzales.

“I just had a bad match,” said Trujillo, 33-3. “I didn’t do what I need to do if I’m going to win in higher rounds.”


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