Stratton’s pin helps Central squeak past Montrose

Montrose’s Marcus Velasquez, left, gets the upper hand Thursday night in his 5-3 victory over Central’s Willy Holdren at 152 pounds. Despite Velasquez’s win, the Warriors topped the Indians 42-30. Only two Central wrestlers won matches, but five forfeits gave the Warriors the win.

Jeremiah Stratton wasn’t expecting to wrestle Thursday night.

The Central High School senior heavyweight was expecting a forfeit victory against Montrose.

Instead, Montrose coach Kevin Passehl gave his junior varsity wrestler an opportunity to wrestle varsity hoping to catch the Warriors off guard.

It didn’t work.

Stratton responded to the sudden opportunity, pinning the Montrose freshman in 3 minutes, 56 seconds to lift Central to a 42-30 victory at Central High School. The Southwestern League teams will wrestle their league dual along with the other teams on Saturday, Feb. 4 at Grand Junction High School.

“I was kind of bummed out,” said Stratton, when he first heard he’d get a forfeit. “I was going to watch the JVs and support them. (The coaches) came back and told me I have a match.

“I got myself loosened up and did my best.”

Stratton’s pin gave the Warriors a 30-21 lead with four matches left.

Montrose, ranked 10th in Class 4A by On the Mat Magazine, closed the gap to six going into the final match of the dual at 126 pounds, but Central’s Jacob Rubalcaba pinned Matt Sandoval in 3:58 to clinch the victory.

Stratton and Rubalcaba were the only Central wrestlers to win an actual wrestled match. The Warriors’ other five victories were by forfeit.

“That’s worse than kissing your sister,” Central coach Laurence Gurule said. “They’re a tough team. To me, they won the dual. We came out flat. We didn’t wrestle very well.”

The Indians came out strong, winning the first four matches, including one by pin for a 15-0 lead.

Keegan Harmon started it off with an 11-6 decision over Jon Sullivan. Kordell Bradshaw pinned Alex Bautista in 2:40 at 138, then third-ranked Geordon Hudson defeated Warrior Classic champion Anthony Feller 3-1 at 145.

Montrose teammate Marcus Velasquez (20-4), ranked fifth, handed Warrior Classic champion Willy Holdren his first loss of the season in a 5-3 decision at 152.

“That time I got the upper hand,” Velasquez said. “I’ve been wanting to wrestle him again since he got the better hand on me twice. I wanted to prove myself.”

Montrose’s Cole Panter pinned Central freshman Tyler Zook in 3:35 at 195. Jason Cooper pinned Central’s Cooper Hone at 113 and Jeremiah Banuelos won a 3-1 decision at 120.

“I thought that was the best we looked all season,” Passehl said. “Marcus had a good win. He’s lost to him twice this year. He wrestled like he needed to. Kordell looked good. He’ll be there in the end.”


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