Tigers top Warriors in dual
Sometimes, there’s not much strategy. It’s about how fast you can stick a man to the mat.
Ankle pick, near-side cradle, 35 seconds. In his final regular-season home dual, why not? Jonny Pauli, Grand Junction’s 182-pound wrestler, went for the quick pin and got it.
And so did the Tigers, who defeated Central 41-30 on Tuesday.
“We had to put on a big show for all our fans,” Pauli said.
They’ll get to do it again Feb. 4 when the Southwestern League duals are at Grand Junction High School.
And unlike Tuesday, Central coach Laurence Gurule does not expect to sit a few of the Warriors’ top wrestlers, such as Anthony Feller, who was sick, and Caleb Hendricks and Caleb Brown, who were resting.
Grand Junction, 10-3 in duals, won eight of the 14 matches, including pins by Jacob Trujillo (120 pounds), Alex Martinez (145), Jessie Hoffschneider (160) and, of course, Pauli.
“It’s great to have a bunch of fighters who work hard every week,” said Tigers senior Gage Casey, who scored a 19-3 technical fall over Dylan Smith.
Grand Junction coach Cole Allison said he expects Trujillo, Dylon Thompson (138 pounds), Hoffschneider and Casey all to make runs in the Feb. 16-18 state tournament.
“I like my guys, I wouldn’t trade them for anyone in the state,” Allison said.
And Allison never knows who might surprise him and stick a man in a half-minute.
This time, it was Pauli.
“Pauli, it’s hit or miss with him,” Allison said. “These other guys have so much mat time, so when you don’t have as much mat time it’s tough because you’ve never been there before in that position.”
The closest match of the night was at 285 pounds. Central’s Thomas Holman, who normally wrestles at 220 pounds, scored a 4-3 decision over Samuel Monahan.
Holman, who said Monahan weighed in at 266 pounds, waited until 40 seconds remained to break a 1-1 tie.
“I looked at the clock, saw there were 40 seconds left, and had to make my move,” Holman said. “With big guys, you just have to wear them down and once you see the opportunity, go for it.”
Grand Junction’s Robbie Gonzalez avenged a loss in the Jackpot Duals to Central freshman Tyler Zook.
Zook pinned Gonzalez with a cradle at the Jan. 5 meet.
So when the two faced each other with 11 seconds remaining and Gonzalez leading 17-6, he knew what hold to watch out for.
“The cradle,” Gonzalez said. “That’s his all-or-nothing move. I knew it was coming.”
Gonzalez broke out of the cradle attempt and held on for the decision.
Central’s Oscar Ruiz, a state qualifier last season, made his first appearance this season after returning from a torn meniscus.
At 113 pounds, Ruiz had a 10-5 decision over Jeff Christeleit.
“He did a great job for being out of shape,” Gurule said. “He won a match at state last year so he knows how to suck it up on the mat.”