Daniel Rodriguez’s regional title marred by sibling’s injury

Mathew Gurule of Central takes down Chris Buccieri of Cherokee. Gurule won the champioship easily.



Anthony Guillen of Grand Junction and Phillip Grout of Northglen flip on the mat. Grout took first Guillen second.



Daniel Rodriguez had to put his concerns behind him and worry about his own match.

The 130-pound junior wrestler for Central High School was competing in Saturday’s championship round of the Class 5A Region 4 tournament at Central. That was his primary concern.

His secondary concern tugged at his heart, however.

Rodriguez had just watched his twin brother, Jesus, injure a shoulder that forced him to default in the 125-pound championship match.

“It didn’t really distract me,” Daniel said. “It actually pumped me up.”

Daniel used his brother’s injury as motivation to win the regional title, taking an 8-1 decision over Centaurus’ Drew Dondelinger.

Daniel Rodriguez was one of two regional champions for Central, which finished third in the 16-team tournament with 171 points.

The other regional champ was defending state champion and No. 1-seeded 103-pounder

Matthew Gurule, who ran his record to 39-0 with a technical fall of Chris Buccieri of Cherokee Trail in the title match.

Although Gurule’s match was a runaway, the team race was tight throughout the tournament.

Heading into Saturday afternoon’s championship round, only three points separated four teams from first place.

Rocky Mountain, which was tied for third with 159 points, won all four of its championship matches to take the title with 185 points. The Lobos edged Northglenn by five points.

The 130-pound title match looked to be a tight battle as well.

It took one minute and 20 seconds for Daniel Rodriguez to score the first points. Once he broke the ice, he rolled.

“I always start slow,” he said. “Once I get going, I just go.”

It was Rodriguez’s first regional title.

“It feels good to know I’m going to get a good position in state,” he said.

Rodriguez will earn one of the top four seeds in the 130-pound division at this week’s Class 5A state tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

He qualified for state last year but didn’t place, and Rodriguez is ready for the big event this year.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence,” he said.

Jesus Rodriguez, seeded first in the region and ranked second by On the Mat, took a 3-2 lead in the first period despite injuring his shoulder 25 seconds into the period.

After being reversed in the second period, Jesus fell behind and the injury worsened. He had to default the match and was taken to a hospital later in the afternoon. His status for the state tournament will be determined early this week.

The Warriors qualified seven wrestlers for the state tournament. Jaqub Gurule (112 pounds) took second to No. 1-ranked Jeremy Schmitt of Rocky Mountain.

Zach Rosales placed third at 285. Zach Short (135) and Tony Summers (145) both finished fourth.

Grand Junction, which placed seventh with 1101/2 points, qualified four wrestlers.

Anthony Guillen was second at 119, falling to top-ranked Phillip Grout of Northglenn in a first-period pin.

Jessie Hoffschneider (135) and Jace Casey (140) both took third. Dylon Thompson (103) qualified by finishing fourth.

After being upset in the first round by Liberty’s Chad Myers in the quarterfinals, Casey came back to win four matches in the consolation bracket, including an 11-6 decision over Myers in the third-place match.

Casey trailed late in the match and was nearly pinned in a cradle but got an escape, a takedown and a near fall to win.

“After I got out of the cradle I knew I had to escape,” he said.


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