Hitting the Jackpot
Tigers win dual-match tourney against District 51 rivals
Tyren Castonguay knows what Andrew Bench did at the Warrior Classic two-and-a-half weeks ago and was disappointed he didn’t have a say in it.
The Grand Junction High School junior hoped to meet Central’s Bench in the finals of the Warrior Classic, but Castonguay lost his semifinal against Denver East’s Polo Garcia and settled for third place. Bench, meanwhile, defeated Garcia for the Warrior title at 126 pounds.
So, Castonguay waited for Wednesday and finally got his finals match against Bench at the Jackpot Duals, where he netted all five of the match’s takedowns in scoring an 11-6 victory.
Castonguay was one of six Tigers to win Jackpot titles as Grand Junction won the team title among the four District 51 wrestling teams by totaling 149.5 points. Fruita Monument and Central tied for second with 140 points, and Palisade was fourth with 117.
Castonguay had one of the hardest finals of the meet, and he was ready for it.
“After taking third at the Warrior, I was coming to take down the champ pretty much,” said Castonguay, who improved to 18-2 by handing Bench only his third loss in 21 matches. “I feel like it was my pace. He couldn’t keep up when we were on our feet. I think I got every takedown.”
Joining Castonguay with Jackpot titles for the Tigers were: Angelo Guillen (106); Dylan Martinez (120); Josiah Rider (152); Seth Latham (170); and Shawn Garcia (182).
Fruita Monument’s big three of Daniel Van Hoose (132), Jared Seely (195) and Clayton Voytilla (285) won Jackpot titles, and the Wildcats got their fourth champ when Eli Konrad prevailed 4-2 in the last match of the night, the final at 145.
Wildcats coach Dan Van Hoose has preached to his wrestlers that they need to improve every week, and the message is getting through.
“There’s some who are breaking over that hump, and he’s one of them,” Van Hoose said of Konrad.
It looked like Fruita might have one more champ when Remington McLean got a takedown and put Central freshman Andrez Martinez on his back with a headlock during the first period of the final at 113.
Martinez’s back was exposed to the mat for a significant portion of the period, but he finally broke free of the hold, then mounted his comeback for a 10-5 win, which included him turning McLean twice for five nearfall points in the third period.
“I was a little worried at first,” Martinez said of the fear of losing by pin. “He held on pretty tight. ... I had to stay calm, and I listened to my coaches. They told me to slip my arm through. ... I didn’t give up and ended up fighting out of it.”
Central coach Laurence Gurule came up to Martinez after the match to congratulate him and said, “Way to man up.”
Martinez was the lone Warrior to win in the finals as Central took second at seven weights.
Palisade got the first of its three Jackpot titles when sophomore Terrance Williams won one of the best matchups of the finals, defeating Central’s EJ Barrera 9-2 at 160.
Barrera led 2-1 until late in the second period, but Williams reversed him with five seconds left in the period to claim the lead and the momentum.
Barrera chose the down position to start the third period, and Williams capitalized, turning him for a three-point nearfall with 1 minute, 23 seconds remaining. Williams got three more back points with 1:02 left to conclude the scoring.
Williams, a Class 4A state qualifier a year ago for Windsor High School, ran his record to 18-3 and made amends for not faring as well as he had hoped at the Warrior Classic, where he placed fourth.
“It was kind of redemption for me because I made a couple of bad mistakes against the kid that (Barrera) beat in the next round,” Williams said of his 3-2 quarterfinal loss to Durango’s Cole Gustavson at the Warrior Classic.
Williams said he started slow against Barrera, but, “I woke up and wrestled the way I wanted to. ... He allowed me to break him down, and I got control of his hips. It’s hard to move when someone controls your hips.”
Caleb Brown claimed the Jackpot crown at 220 for the Bulldogs, and sophomore Austin Bernal grabbed the third title for Palisade when he edged Grand Junction’s Jeremy Latham 4-3 at 138.
Bernal avenged a 3-2 loss against Latham in the consolation rounds at the Warrior Classic.
“I definitely wanted to come out and prove a point,” Bernal said. “I felt I should’ve been up there in the places (at the Warrior).”
Bernal wanted revenge, but he knew he had to wrestle smart against Latham, who grinds his way to wins.
“He’s a really good wrestler, good on his feet, good on top and bottom. ... I had to change my style,” Bernal said.