State wrestling preview: Trujillo hopes to help Huskies earn hardware
Feb 20, 2013 (Greeley Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Jake Trujillo has taken care of his business this week -- so far.
The compact Highland freshman has his weight in control, his physical work all in order and his mental approach sharp.
What's left is his biggest task -- bringing home some hardware for the Huskies from the Class 2A State Wrestling Championships at Denver's Pepsi Center.
Now, consider that Trujillo is just 15 years old -- he just recently earned his driving permit -- is just one month into only his second semester of high school, and possesses one of those you-know-what eating grins that freshmen have.
After Wednesday's workout, Highland's little Popeye was chillin,' not letting on that he was the least bit nervous for his first-ever state tournament.
"Nah, I'm not nervous, but I'm pretty sure I will be at some point," said Trujillo, one of eight Huskies who will carry the school's torch as serious contenders for a team title.
"My confidence is right up there," Trujillo added. I've been in national tournaments before, so I think that's prepared me."
Trujillo's confidence level goes with the territory of being the 2A No. 1 ranked 106-pounder in the state with a sterling 35-7 record.
"Well," he explained, "that gives me more confidence to do well and it puts some pressure on me because there will probably be a lot of people watchng me because of that."
He's not a bracket nerd, but a extremely easy victory over No. 4-ranked Tanner Watson of Akron for last week's regional title has also given him a little boost.
"Jake has come leaps and bounds," Highland coach Tyler Seaney said. "I've had him since middle school, and he is a super talented kid. He has a great work ethic and has that gold in his eyes."
Except for a 14-10 loss to Greeley West's Anthony Garza -- ranked No. 3 in 5A at 106 pounds -- Trujillo has bullied his way through the competition the second half of the season.
Trujillo conceded that Garza was the better wrestler on his feet that day, but added "he's ranked No. 3 in 5A, so that says something about him."
Trujillo's ability to learn from the loss to Garza and hold his own with Eaton senior 106-pounder Channing Lewis (ranked No. 2 in 3A) make Trujillo a legitimate contender this weekend, starting with this afternoon's opening match against Hayden freshman Judd Magee (13-10).
"He's had a great week of practice," Seaney said of his prized freshman. "He's an incredible young man the way he composes himself. When the whistle blows, he's ready to wrestle. He'll have his game face on and be ready to roll."
The Huskies practiced with Eaton and Greeley Central this week, allowing Trujillo to tangle with Lewis and Greeley Central assistant coach Tony Mustari, a former three-time 4A state champion and three-time NCAA Division I national tournament qualifier.
"That practice was good for us, especially Jake," Seaney said. "It allowed him to open up with Channing, and it's not every day that you get to roll around and learn from a three-time Division I qualifier."
The Huskies are expected to follow the suit of their freshman and contend for the title with top-ranked Paonia, Baca County and No. 3-ranked Dove Creek.
They'll tie a lot of their hopes on defending state champion James Price (34-1), ranked No. 1 at 145 pounds; and seniors Kris Trujillo (Jake's brother, 138 pounds who was a runner-up last season, and heavyweight Keaton Sameshima (39-3), a fourth-place finisher in last year's state tournament.
Overall, the Huskies have eight state qualifiers coming off last weekend's first-ever regional title.
Joining the Trujillo brothers, Price and Sameshima will be 132-pound senior Nathan White (27-14), 152-pound senior Chris Villalobos (28-14), 195-pound sophomore Kobee Sameshima (17-17), and 220-pound sophomore Theo Zimmer (25-11.)
"We've talked about the chance to win a team title," Seaney said. "Our mindset is to win and score bonus points, especially of we're facing somebody from one of the other ranked team. If we have a chance to pin somebody, we're going to to it. If we have a chance to tech fall somebody, we're going to do it.
"There's an emphasis to knock off wrestlers from Paonia, Dove Creek and Baca County," Seaney added. "Highland isn't used to winning state titles."
The trophy case at Highland is proof that the last state title was by the boys basketball team in 2000.
"Our kids are pumped," Seaney said. "We know those other teams are also good, but we know we have a shot.
"If they handed trophies out according to the (team) rankings, there'd be no reason to even go down to Denver. We're going down there to show up with a purpose and wrestle our best," Seaney added. "We want to bring some hardware back to Ault."
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