Gurule adds 2nd state title to his résumé
DENVER — Matthew Gurule was the last wrestler to enter the Pepsi Center on Saturday for the Colorado State Wrestling Championships Parade of Champions.
He was the first wrestler in the tournament, however, to have his arm raised as a state champion.
The Central High School junior successfully defended his Class 5A 103-pound state title.
But, oh, did he have to work for it.
Gurule got a reverse with 40 seconds remaining and held on for dear life to defeat Pine Creek sophomore Josh Martinez 4-2.
The bout featured the only two wrestlers in the finals going against each other with unbeaten records, and it was a far cry from Gurule’s previous three tournament matches.
Gurule (42-0) won by technical fall twice and by a second-period pin en route to the finals. He knew Martinez (45-1) would provide ample competition.
“It was a good match,” the unassuming Gurule said. “Thank God I worked hard in the wrestling room or it would never have happened.”
His coach and uncle, Laurence Gurule, agreed.
“He’s probably one of the hardest-working kids in the room,” Laurence Gurule said.
Neither wrestler scored a point in the first period. Martinez, taking the down position to start the second, got an escape midway through the period. For one of the few times all season,
Gurule trailed in a match. He got a takedown 26 seconds later, but Martinez tied it with an escape as the second period ended.
“I just kept pushing until that third period,” Gurule said. “I got tired but I kept pushing.”
That paid off when, wrestling from the down position, he got a reverse with 40 seconds remaining and held Martinez through the remainder of the match.
His finish helped Central finish sixth in the team race with 77.5 points.
Fruita Monument’s Taylor Termentozzi came within two points of winning his first state title.
An escape and a stall point against Termentozzi were the only points of the match as he lost to Mike Morgan of Lakewood 2-0 at 171.
Termentozzi had lost 12-4 to Morgan in the Region 3 finals the previous week. He expected Saturday’s rematch to be a lot closer.
“I knew I wasn’t going to give him anything,” Termentozzi said.
Termentozzi nearly got a reverse with seconds remaining, but couldn’t turn his opponent.
“Two points was all the difference,” he said. “You’ve got to aim for the stars and see where you land. Second in Colorado is not that bad.”
Central got three wrestlers into third-place matches but all three lost.
Jaqub Gurule was pinned in 2 minutes, 37 seconds by Pine Creek’s Mike Sikorski at 112.
Daniel Rodriguez lost his 130-pound third-place match 11-4 to Michael Miller of Heritage.
Zach Rosales took a tough 2-0 loss to Kyle Starling of Rampart, the same wrestler who defeated Rosales in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A Region 4 tournament.
One Warrior earned a fifth-place medal. Considering his status during the week, he may have been the least likely.
Jesus Rodriguez pinned Cesar Valenzuela of Centaurus in 2:28 in his final match at 125 pounds.
Rodriguez tore muscles in his right shoulder in the regional final and wasn’t sure until midweek if he’d be able to wrestle.
“I had no idea how I was going to do,” he said
The pain was evident in both of his tournament losses.
“(Friday) night in the semis it got really screwed up,” he said. “It really hurt (Saturday) morning.”
It affected his style.
“I couldn’t do my favorite takedown, a single-leg,” he said. And when he held the top position,
“I had to ride him left-handed.”
Rodriguez, who placed sixth in last year’s tournament, plans on a little recovery time for the shoulder before jumping into the freestyle season this spring.
“Hopefully next year, a state championship,” he said.
“We’re taking five medals home,” Laurence Gurule said. “I couldn’t be prouder.”
After losing in the quarterfinals, Grand Junction senior Anthony Guillen placed third at 119. He defeated Durango’s Ty Penning 3-1 in the third-place match.
Penning had defeated Guillen in their Southwestern League dual match during the regular season.
“I was just saying it was my last year,” Guillen said of winning four consolation matches to place.
Now his name gets added to the list of state placers on the wall of the Grand Junction wrestling gym.
“It feels awesome,” he said of being the third generation of Guillens to be listed on the Tiger wrestling wall of fame.
Guillen’s teammate, Jessie Hoffschneider, lost 8-0 in his fifth-place match to Jesse Werth of Fort Collins.