Central’s Luke Pleasant needed one tournament to establish his momentum for this season.
The senior found that spark last weekend in St. George, Utah.
Pleasant, who is currently ranked No. 1 in Class 4A at 126 pounds by On The Mat, went 10-0 — including six pins — during the two-day tournament, beating several experienced wrestlers from Utah and Arizona.
“It was a pretty good experience,” Pleasant said. “I got to see some kids who were a little bit bigger than me and at about the same skill level as me. It was good to wrestle with competition equal to me that could give me a run for my money.
“It definitely brought (my confidence) up a lot. I feel like I can do what I want to do. I can become a state champion. It really helps you out when you don’t have a loss on your record.”
Pleasant is hoping the momentum from last weekend carries over to the 43rd Warrior Classic, which began Friday.
Wrestling at 132 pounds, where he is ranked fourth, Pleasant advanced to today’s semifinals after defeating Steamboat Springs’ Spencer Mader 4-2 in the quarterfinal. Pleasant will face Alamosa’s Colton Liddell, ranked first in 3A, for a spot in this evening’s final.
Pleasant, who’s been wrestling since he was 7 years old, is no stranger to the atmosphere and prestige of the Warrior Classic.
“It’s pretty special, especially being our home tournament,” Pleasant said. “It’s special to us. It’s special to everyone in this town. It’s special to me.”
The tournament is also special to Fruita Monument’s Jeremiah Williams.
Williams, the son of former Fruita wrestler Dave Williams, made it to the state tournament last season and is ranked No. 5 at 152 in 5A.
The Warrior Classic brings challengers from all classifications and other states and serves as a barometer of progress and potential.
“It really helps out your mentality, wrestling in tougher tournaments and seeing how far you can get in the bracket,” Williams said. “Going up against tough guys, maybe some guys who should beat you, but you pull it out, that helps you figure out what you need to do to get to state.”
Williams was pinned in the second round by Rocky Mountain’s Kordell Culhane in 3 minutes, 9 seconds.
Other local results from day one of the Warrior Classic:
At 113, Grand Junction’s Andrew Leyba and Central’s Davian Sandoval both reached today’s semifinals. Should they win, they’d face off for the title this evening at 5 p.m.
Grand Junction’s Dawson Collins, who is going for his fourth Warrior Classic title, made the 120 semifinals. Another Tiger, Kieran Thompson, qualified for the 132 semifinals along with Pleasant.
At 145, Central’s Tristan Rascon qualified for the semis, along with Hotchkiss’ JD Miller.
Hotchkiss’ Traycer Hall and Paonia’s Zeb Etter advanced to the 152 semifinals.
Two local wrestlers will go head-to-head in the 160 semifinal. Grand Junction’s Christian Hafey faces Paonia’s Grey Neal, a defending Warrior Classic champ.
Grand Junction’s Caid Lopez and Junious Gooden qualified for the 170 and 285 semifinals, respectively, and Meeker’s Colby Clatterbaugh and Ridge Williams qualified in 180 and 220 semis, respectively.
Three local wrestlers are in the final four at 195: Paonia’s Anthony Miller, Montrose’s Cole Simmons and Delta’s Gauge Lockhart.