Watch: Summit wrestlers Trujillo, Collins, Romero fight through adversity for wins
Tiger stars Trujillo and Collins both go 2-0
With four fingertips pressed to the mat, and four seconds left on the clock, PJ Trujillo bridged for what felt like his literal life.
Arching his back with his feet planted on the ground, belly toward the ceiling and Coal Ridge’s Emjai Holder grabbing around his neck, Trujillo fought to keep his shoulders off the mat and blood flowing to his brain.
“I remember being on my back and I don’t even know what (position) he had,” Trujillo said after his match, still nursing some soreness in his neck. “That was the closest I’ve ever been to getting choked out in a wrestling match. It scared me, for sure.”
Tigers head coach Pete Baker — an avid Ultimate Fighting Championship fan and mixed martial arts fighter himself — described the positional predicament Trujillo was in as a “blood choke” — equivalent to a head and arm choke in jiujitsu. Whatever it was, the sophomore was able to avoid a pin and earn the final points needed for a technical fall victory over his opponent.
Trujillo’s survival win — both in terms of breaths and keeping his shoulders off the mat — came after a dominating first minute-plus of the match where Trujillo executed what he wanted to against Holder and took a commanding points lead. Before the match, Trujillo went through how he’d set up his shots, and he executed his plan, getting Holder to take a step before taking down the Coal Ridge wrestler with a double-leg. Before Holder realized what was going on, Trujillo had him in an ankle pick and an advantage over a grappler 8 pounds heavier than him.
That changed suddenly, when Trujillo went back for his third takedown — and even more points — he got a little too parallel to the mat. Once in that position, Trujillo’s hips got out of position, and Holder was able to flip him over, engage the hold and force Trujillo to hold on for dear life to end the match on time instead of a pin.
Once the buzzer sounded, Trujillo’s legs stumbled back down to the mat as he caught his breath and bearings. In the end, he kept his perfect record on the season and got the victory.
Baker credited the victory to Trujillo coming out super aggressive and tough — “almost mean,” the coach said.
Trujillo was one of several Tiger wrestlers who grappled up a weight class on Tuesday, Feb. 16, including Summit junior Aidan Collins.
Collins, who weighed in at 131 pounds an hour before his first bout, took on the 134-pound Jonathan Bolitho of Coal Ridge. Baker said Collins outworked and outwrestled Bolitho who, on paper, was a more skilled wrestler than Collins. The junior worked the top-position series of moves Baker taught the squad in recent practices, securing and maintaining top position and scoring takedowns for a 7-1 decision after three full periods.
Baker said Collins is starting to move like a wrestler that’s been on the mat for six to eight years, though he’s only been at it for two.
Due to several forfeits because of injuries and lack of heavier wrestlers, the Tigers lost the team competition to Coal Ridge.
In the nightcap against West Grand High School, each Tiger wrestler won with a pin, including Trujillo, Collins, 120-pounder Ethan Sicat and 138-pounder Tommy Romero.
Senior Gio Marquez, who is nursing two shoulder injuries, wasn’t able to wrestle on senior night due to Coal Ridge and West Grand forfeits.
It was Romero’s enthralling back-and-forth victory against West Grand’s Varian Villalobos that sent his Tigers coaches and teammates into a frenzy. It also felt like a full-circle effort for Romero after earlier in the night a lack of conditioning resulted in a loss by pin for Romero against Coal Ridge’s Austin Price. The pin came at the start of the third period as Romero led on points.
In the nightcap, Romero executed well against Villalobos in a match that featured several exciting moments where each wrestler came oh-so-close to pinning the other.
Coming in the third period, Romero appeared headed for a similar defeat to his earlier outing when he rolled through and slowly but surely rotated and forced the West Grand wrestler’s shoulders to the mat.
Baker described Romero’s win as “all heart.” Romero echoed his coach’s words, saying his effort was one where he “never gave up.”
Once Romero pinned Villalobos, he pumped his fists in the air before running over to his teammates. When the Tigers broke their huddle for the night, there was only one thing they could say.
“One, two, three: Tommy!”
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