Tigers looking forward to redemption this wrestling season | SummitDaily.com

Tigers looking forward to redemption this wrestling season

Summit wrestler PJ Trujillo pins Nathan Sandoval in 1 minute and 45 seconds in a dual against Glenwood Springs on Feb. 4 in Steamboat Springs.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Last year’s wrestling season was far from normal for the Summit High School Tigers. It was filled with interrupted practice times, a shortened competition schedule, injuries and strict COVID-19 guidelines.

This resulted in the Summit wrestling program failing to qualify a single wrestler to the state tournament last winter. Head coach Pete Baker is hoping to change the tides this season.

“I am really looking forward to the fact that we are having a real season this year. Last season was not a normal season because of the COVID-19 protocols, and we are finally working our way back to normalcy,” Baker said. “I look forward to having a real schedule and taking the top four (wrestlers from each region) instead of the top two to the state tournament. Everything about this year is going to be better than last year.”

The Tigers have started their first week of practice, but about half the team is still recuperating from the fall sport season. Baker said he was hoping to see a group of 17 in the practice room, but he is seeing only eight to 10 athletes. Baker hopes to see the full numbers as of next week.

One Tigers athlete who will look to qualify to state in February is junior PJ Trujillo.

Trujillo was able to qualify to the state wrestling tournament as a freshman during the 2020 season but came up short at the 3A Region 1 wrestling meet last winter.

Last year, Baker contributed Trujillo failing to make the state tournament to the lack of cardio and preparation because of hybrid learning as well as other COVID-19 protocols.

This will not be a problem this year, as Trujillo is one of the 10 in the wrestling practice room, his nose already to the mat, ready to get redemption for last year.

“PJ is one of the first kids in the room,” Baker said. “PJ has got that mental grit that is required to be a successful wrestler. If he has the season he is capable of having, he can be in the top six at the state tournament, and I think he wants that based on his practices this week.”

The Tigers will also have returner senior Luca Rizzo, who will look to qualify to the state tournament.

“He is probably one of the toughest kids and has made the most gains in his four years of high school wrestling out of anyone I’ve seen,” Baker said.

Last year, Rizzo went 1-2 at the Region 1 wrestling meet, failing to make it to the state tournament. Much like Trujillo, he will look to change the narrative this season.

According to Baker, Koby Miller will also be an athlete to keep an eye on to place in the top six at the 3A Region 1 wrestling meet and, if things go right, possibly seal his spot to state.

Until the Tigers first meet Dec. 1, the team will look to perfect the fundamentals and get in some cardio. The brevity of last season’s schedule did not allow the Tigers to have the luxury of preparation.

“It takes a good four to six weeks to get the cardio you need to compete at a high level,” Baker said. “We are going to focus on the basics, fundamentals and getting our cardio where it needs to be in these next few weeks.”

Summit boys wrestling schedule

• Dec. 1: Home tri meet, 3:45 p.m.

• Dec. 4: Golden Dual Tournament at Golden, 8 a.m.

• Dec. 11: Frank Palmeri Invite at Wheat Ridge, 7:30 a.m.

• Dec. 14: Home tri meet, 3:45 p.m.

• Dec. 17: Weld Central Tournament at Weld Central, 3 p.m.

• Dec. 18: Weld Central Tournament at Weld Central, 9 a.m.

• Jan. 8: Cowboy Invite Tournament at Gunnison, 7 a.m.

• Jan 15: Alameda International Invite at Alameda, 7 a.m.

• Jan 19: Home tri meet with Middle Park and Platte Canyon, 3:45 p.m.

• Jan. 22: Commander Invite at JFK, 7 a.m.

• Jan. 29: Mile High Classic at Thomas Jefferson, 7 a.m.

• Feb. 5: Western Slope League 3A/4A Tournament at Glenwood Springs

• Feb. 10-11: 3A Region 1 regionals at Gunnison

• Feb. 17-19, CHSAA state tournament at Ball Arena

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