Embattled, banged-up Summit High wrestlers struggle at regional
No Tigers qualify for state championship meet
The Summit High School wrestling season ended in difficult fashion Saturday at the 3A Region 1 meet in Pagosa Springs.
Grappling with some of the state’s best veteran wrestlers, 120-pound Tigers sophomore PJ Trujillo advanced furthest in the regional bracket before back-to-back losses concluded the previously undefeated wrestler’s season. Trujillo received a bye in the first round before defeating Hunter Bercher of Rifle on a 10-6 decision.
“The Rifle kid was in it the whole time, and PJ never let off the gas,” Tigers head coach Pete Baker said.
After improving his record to 9-0 on the season, Trujillo lost by pinfall to state championship contender Erik Wyman of Pagosa Springs. Trujillo then lost a 3-1 decision to Brody Wiser of Moffat County in the consolation bracket’s semifinal.
Baker said this season has been a difficult one for Trujillo, and the coach feels the young wrestler’s cardio and training has been affected by much less practice and competition time than last year. The coach said that’s because Trujillo, a Leadville resident, wasn’t able to make it to Summit for practice the three days a week he stayed home as part of his hybrid learning.
“If we were all in school, this season could have been different for a lot of kids,” Baker said. “PJ probably missed a third of practice this year because of not being able to get to practice. And you could see it in his cardio at the regional meet. Even the week of regionals he missed practice. To me, missing practice is not acceptable, but I can’t be down on him because it’s not his fault. With better cardio he could have probably beat the kid from Moffat.”
Trujillo’s performance at regionals means he won’t qualify to return to the state championship meet this season. This year, like in other sports, fewer wrestlers will be able to compete at the state championship due to a limitation on the number of participants in response to COVID-19. This year, the top two wrestlers from each region advance to state, as opposed to four in traditional years.
The Tigers’ other top wrestler, 113-pound senior Gio Marquez, also had a tough tournament. He lost in the quarterfinal by pinfall to Sebastian Chavez of Delta in an even more stacked 113-pound division. It was Marquez’s first action in weeks as the senior has battled injuries to both shoulders.
“Poor Gio, he’s fighting a double shoulder injury, and he wrestled really well against the kid from Delta and was in it the whole time,” Baker said. “He just, with his shoulders and the lack of live wrestling in practice, it really affected him.”
Marquez then lost in the consolation bracket to state championship contender Luke Tressler of Pagosa Springs via pinfall.
Despite Marquez’s hardships this year with injuries, Baker said Marquez should be remembered as a very hard worker who always showcased grit and fortitude.
“I really like Gio,” Baker said. “I like his family. I have been involved in their family for years now. And he was willing to go out there and sacrifice his own body to try to win. The doctor recommended to Gio not to wrestle because of how bad his shoulder injury was, and Gio wrestled anyway. It’s a reflection of his character, how tough he is. He’s also a nice kid — just a solid individual.”
Baker said Luca Rizzo at 126 pounds and Aidan Collins at 132 pounds were also affected by injuries that kept them out of live wrestling at recent practices leading up to the regional meet. Rizzo won his first match by pinfall over Archer Bosick of Steamboat Springs before back-to-back loses — one by pinfall to Hector De La Cruz of Grand Valley and an 8-1 decision to Jayven Valdez of Montezuma-Cortez.
“If he puts it all together and fixes his collar bone injury, Luca is a kid who could be in the top six at state tournament next year,” Baker said. “He is a tough, gritty kid who knows how to wrestle. His senior year should be really special.”
Summit’s Koby Miller (106 pounds), Tommy Romero (138 pounds) and Ronen Marsteller (145 pounds) all also wrestled at the regional meet. Each Tiger grappler, like Collins, lost their first match.
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