Gilpin wrestler Trujillo goes to state tournament

Wenholz seeded 7th in Sterling Regionals

by Patty Unruh

The Gilpin High School wrestlers did themselves proud at the regional tournament in Sterling this past Friday and Saturday, February 10-11. Eagles’ junior Josh Trujillo is in the top ten in Colorado and will be participating in the state tournament at the Pepsi Center as you read this article. The state championships run from Thursday, February 16 through Saturday, February 18.

Head Coach Pete Morgan gave a rundown of the accomplishments of Trujillo and teammate Mike Wenholz at regionals last weekend.

The event was held at Northeastern Colorado Junior College before a crowd of about 1,000. Trujillo came into the tournament ninth in the state, with a 24-7 win-loss record. He was seeded second in the tournament and had a bye in the first round Friday night. In the quarterfinals Friday night, Trujillo wrestled against Levi Nance from Yuma.

Morgan remarked on the match. “This kid gave Josh all he could handle. He was tough and determined, but Josh won 4-2. Josh was dehydrated and didn’t recoup from making weight in time for that match.”

Trujillo wrestled Brynden Wilson from Wiggins on Saturday morning. Morgan gave the coach’s perspective.

“This kid had me scared. He had won in the round of 16, pinning a kid who was a regional champ in the past. Then he had to wrestle the third seed, and this kid was getting beat up. This kid was wrestling way above his level, and with confidence. He was capitalizing on other kids’ mistakes. I was concerned, but Josh didn’t make mistakes.”

Trujillo won against Wilson 11-4.

In the finals, Trujillo was pitted against Remington Canfield from Merino, the second-ranked wrestler in the state, who boasts a 35-2 season tally.

“This was uncharted territory for Josh, who has never been in the finals match at an elimination tournament,” Morgan said. “They turned the lights out, and the kids marched in with spotlights on them in a parade of champions. Josh was out of his element in the first period and got taken down because of a mistake, giving up 3 points.”

The first period ended with Trujillo down 5-0; Canfield took him down again in the second period and the score was 6-0. At this point, Trujillo settled down was able to stay on his feet and attack, holding Canfield from scoring for the rest of the match.

Trujillo ended regionals in second place.

Mike Wenholz also wrestled for Gilpin. Morgan had kudos for the freshman grappler.

“He’s a perfect example of how tough this tournament is. There were eight kids in his weight class, and they all had winning records, including Mike.”

Mike was seeded seventh, with a 17-13 record going into regionals. Morgan said Wenzholz was in the 120-lb. weight class. He weighed 113 all year, but then had a growth spurt and couldn’t make weight. At 116, he is a small 120-pounder instead of a large 113.

“This is brutally tough stuff. He lost his first two matches and was eliminated. But he wrestled like a beast against the upperclassmen. He belonged there.”

The Pepsi Center will be busy for the state tourney, hosting the championship for all levels of competition.

Gilpin is at the 2A level. Morgan reported, “2A and 5A are really tough. 2A regularly sends kids to college wrestling, and so does 5A. Our region and region 1 is where all the winners come from. Josh will be up against football players, farm boys, etc. They are tough but respectful, and they have impressed me.”

Trujillo’s first match will be on the 16th against third-place finisher from region 1, Clay Campbell from Paonia, who holds a 30-14 record. There will be two rounds on Friday and matches going all day Saturday, until everything winds up with the medal rounds on Saturday evening.

Morgan was optimistic about Trujillo’s chances in the double elimination tournament, candidly stating, “He was a mediocre wrestler in December, but is legitimately in competition to medal. He has beaten a bunch of these kids. He’s such a hard worker; he’s turned into a monster! I’m very confident he will be in the mix somewhere. I’m his biggest fan!”

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