Coming of age
Guillen focused on having memorable senior year
Louis Guillen III comes from a long lineage of wrestlers.
His grandfather, Louis Guillen, was a three-time state champion back when freshman weren’t allowed to wrestle in high school.
Louis Guillen III was respected when he got to high school, but he found out that didn’t accomplish anything.
He didn’t qualify for state until his junior year last season, but went 0-2.
This year, the Grand Junction High School senior is focused and wrestling well from the start.
“It’s my senior year,” Guillen said. “I’ve got to put it all out there. I can’t leave anything (behind). I’m trying to take it one match at a time.”
The 145-pound senior (13-0) went 5-0 and defeated three ranked wrestlers to lead the Tigers to a second-place finish in the Tiger Duals on Saturday at Grand Junction High School.
“The first weekend he beat the No. 2-ranked kid in 4A,” Grand Junction coach Cole Allison said. “Today, the Cortez kid is ranked. The Eagle Valley kid looked tough. We were beating the Center kid last year and did something dumb, so we got a little revenge. When Louis’ head’s on, he’s about as tough as anybody in the state. He’s got a shot with about anybody.”
Center, a Class 2A school with an enrollment of 191 students, won the team title, defeating Grand Junction 40-33 in the championship match. The 10th-ranked Vikings went 5-0 in the tournament, defeating three Class 5A schools.
“We’re a senior-dominated team,” Center coach Brian Ullery said. “I’ve been with them 10 years, when these kids were in the pee wee program. I don’t want to think too much about it right now, but we’re looking all right. I think we’re under-ranked, but I’m good with that.”
The Tigers split the number of wins with Center, but the Vikings won five of their seven matches by pin and another by forfeit.
Grand Junction had two pins, two forfeit wins and three decisions.
“They’re tough,” Allison said. “In a dual like that, you’ve got to try to eliminate mistakes. We were behind the 8-ball wrestling without a few guys (including returning 5A state champion Jacob Trujillo), but they wrestled well.
“There were a couple big swing matches in there you’re not sure how it’s going to play. At 120, we’re up by eight and pinning him, then we get rolled through and pinned. If we pin him there, we win 39-34. There were a lot of matches to follow, but in hindsight…
“They were the better team today.”
Grand Junction’s Nick Gordon was leading Erik Perez 16-10 in the third period when Perez rolled Gordon and pinned him.
Guillen said he was motivated to defeat Center’s Jeremiah Moreno, who is ranked third in 2A.
“I had to go out there and wrestle,” Guillen said of his 5-4 win. “I had to put that one (last year’s loss to Moreno) in the past.”
Guillen, ranked fourth in Class 5A, also beat Moffat County’s fifth-ranked Brayden Peterson 10-4 and Montezuma-Cortez’s Justice Ramos, ranked 13th in 4A.
Although Guillen had some tough draws, he no longer gets caught up in who he’s wrestling and their credentials.
“I did too much thinking,” he said of the past. “I would try to do too much.
“I just need to do what I do best, shoot shots. Open up and shoot.”
Grand Junction defeated Moffat County 39-31 in the semifinals. Center defeated Class 5A ThunderRidge 51-25.
“The tricky thing about duals is it all depends on how you match up,” Allison said. “You can have four matches where your stud wrestles their stud and four matches where your not-so-good kids wrestle each other. It could be a great dual, but the score could be 60-5 because one team got them all.
“It’s all matchup-based. When you have to forfeit Trujillo’s weight, it can be a 12-point swing. We just can’t afford the mistakes. We’re a young team. We’ll learn from it and get better, but everybody competed, and that’s all you can ask.”
Moffat County downed ThunderRidge for third place. Eagle Valley was fifth.
Grand Junction freshman Tyren Castonguay (106 pounds) and sophomore Cody Lacy (113) went undefeated. Sophomore heavyweight Tyler Zook was 4-1.
“Tyren’s tough, Lacy’s solid. Lacy and Louis are unbeaten still,” Allison said. “Tyler Zook, I’m not sure where he’ll end up right now. He’s a light heavyweight. The ThunderRidge kid is huge. I know he’s ranked in the top five. Zook spotted him a 5-0 lead and scored 12 in a row. He’s going to be good.”