‘Work hard every day’ Central’s Gurule begins quest for third straight state title
Matthew Gurule has decided on his future, and he’s focused on the present.
The Central High School two-time defending state champion begins his quest for a third title Saturday when the Warriors wrestle in the Fruita Monument Duals.
“I can’t look at it as defending something,” Gurule said. “I just work hard every day.
“My conditioning is good. I’m ready to go.”
He visited the University of Iowa and said he was offered a 10 percent scholarship.
“They wanted me to sign early, but I’m still working on scholarships,” Gurule said. “I’ve already decided on Iowa, but I’m working on (lining up) other scholarships.
“I like their coaching staff and I got along with the wrestlers when I was there for a visit.”
Gurule spent the summer wrestling in the Fargo Nationals tournament, the National Junior Duals and with Team Colorado.
Gurule wrestled in the Fargo Nationals for the third time this past summer and was 3-2. He was 7-1 in Greco-Roman and 5-2 in freestyle in the Junior Duals in Oklahoma.
“Matthew is focused,” Central coach Laurence Gurule said. “He wants to win a third state championship. He’s dedicated and works hard.”
Matthew could become the first Central three-time state champion since Jack Quintana (1996-98). He could also be the first wrestler in Central history to be a four-time state medalist, his uncle and coach said.
The senior grew some this year and will bump up from 103 to 112 pounds. Even wrestling in a new weight class, he’s ranked first in the state by On the Mat.
He is one of 10 returning wrestlers for the Warriors, ranked 12th in Class 5A by On the Mat. Gurule, his cousin, Jaqub and Zach Short are returning state qualifiers. The Warriors placed sixth at state last year.
“We’ll wrestle hard, get experience and by the end of the year, we’ll try to qualify as many as we can for state,” Laurence Gurule said. “The others know what they need to do to qualify for state.”
Gurule would have had Daniel and Jesus Rodriguez back for their senior seasons, but the twin brothers were dismissed from the team by school administration for violating School District 51 policy, Gurule said.
“Losing wrestlers like that is devastating,” Gurule said.
Jaqub Gurule (119 pounds) has been suspended for violating school policy for the first two weeks, but is expected to return for the Warrior Classic on Dec. 18-19.
The Wildcats could challenge Central for the Southwestern League title with nine returning varsity wrestlers, including three state qualifiers.
“Other than Martin and Remy, the seniors have been together since their freshman year,” Fruita coach Jim Stockert said. “Our expectations are high because of the number of upperclassmen back. We’re hoping to put a league title banner in the gym.”
State qualifiers Jeff Gonzales (130 pounds), Matt Remy (215) and Anthony Martin (285) return this year. They are three of nine seniors on the team. Regional placers Justin Bueno (140), Logan McNulty (145) and Kyle Hamaker (160) have a lot of experience as well.
The rest of the roster includes three freshmen and two sophomores, including Justin Byers, who wrestled in regionals last year.
The Tigers begin a new era under first-year coach Cole Allison, a former two-time state champion at Montezuma-Cortez.
Allison has 10 returning varsity wrestlers to work with, including returning state qualifiers Dylon Thompson and Jesse Hoffschneider, both sophomores.
Thompson, ranked third in the state at 112 pounds this preseason, didn’t place at state, but he earned All-American status with a third-place finish at the Fargo Nationals in Greco-Roman wrestling this past summer. Hoffschneider, ranked second at 140 pounds, placed sixth at state last year.
“I inherited a good group,” Allison said of the 15th-ranked Tigers. “It helps Coach (Bud) Glover let me be an assistant for a year. I’m excited. It’s a good group and they work hard.”
Allison said he has four or five other wrestlers with the potential to place at state.Palisade
The Bulldogs have 18 returning wrestlers, including seven who are ranked by On the Mat. As a team, Palisade is ranked sixth in Class 4A by On the Mat.
Daniel Salazar (119 pounds, ranked fifth), Casey Thornton (125, ranked 10th), Kelly Davis (145, ranked fourth), Wes Shingleton (152, ranked third) and Nick Stephanus (215, ranked fourth) are returning state qualifiers.
Davis won’t wrestle this weekend and could be out until the start of the new year with a knee injury.
“We’re looking good now, but we’ll see how we look this weekend,” Palisade coach Brian Rush said. “Our goal is to improve each week. If we do that, by the end we’ll be fine.”
Rush is looking for other wrestlers with varsity experience to improve and qualify for state, including 145-pound senior Terry Williams, who missed qualifying for state by one round.