GJ's Trujillo, Fruita's Rodriguez to square off for 145-pound state crown
DENVER — Jacob Trujillo expected to be there.
Isaac Rodriguez believed he could be there, too.
For the first time in 21 years, two School District 51 wrestlers will meet in the state wrestling championship finals.
Trujillo, a Grand Junction Tiger, and Rodriguez, a Fruita Monument Wildcat, wrestle for the Class 5A 145-pound state title tonight at the Pepsi Center.
“I’m excited,” Rodriguez said. “I’m really excited. Two valley kids. We’ll be ready to go.
“I expect everything and be ready for anything.”
Trujillo had his mind set on getting back to the state finals, where he lost in the 120-pound final last year.
“It’s a state of mind,” Trujillo said. “I don’t think about who I’m facing. I just want to get that taste out of my mouth from last year.
“Coming here, I definitely had a flashback. I’ve learned from it and won’t let it happen again.”
Trujillo (46-0) defeated Deyaun Trueblood of Gateway 11-5.
Right after that, Rodriguez (29-5) pinned Prairie View’s Alec Wyatt (34-2) in 4:37.
Wyatt was ranked second in state most of the season, but that didn’t matter to Rodriguez.
“Usually when I wrestle, I don’t pay attention to rankings, but I knew Jacob was the No. 1 seed,” Rodriguez said.
“I was told (Wyatt) throws a lot of headlocks, so I was really prepared for that,” Rodriguez said. “That’s the last thing I want, to get thrown into a headlock.”
Trujillo handled Trueblood in a rematch of the Northglenn Invitational final earlier this season.
“He guarded his right leg a little bit more because I singled that side,” Trujillo said. “I can shoot the other side also. He takes away one thing, but he gives me another. I still set that side up.”
Trujillo defeated Gabe Marquez of Poudre 15-5 in the quarterfinals.
Rodriguez won a wild affair in the quarterfinals, defeating Pine Creek senior Derrik Oritz 11-10.
“That was a really bizarre match,” Rodriguez said. “It came down to who wanted it more.”
The two were tied 7-7 with 38 seconds left when Rodriguez intentionally cut Ortiz loose. Rodriguez went right back at Ortiz and took him down for a 9-7 lead, but Ortiz slipped out of Rodriguez’ grip and scored a takedown for a 10-9 lead.
Before either could take a breath, Rodriguez reversed Ortiz and held on for an 11-10 victory.
“He was tired and had his hands on his knees,” Rodriguez said. “He surprised me with the headlock.”
The last time two School District 51 wrestlers met in the state finals was 1992 when Grand Junction’s Richard Valdez defeated Fruita Monument’s Lucas Archuleta 3-1 for the Class 5A 130-pound title at McNichols Sports Arena. Both were seniors.