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Tigers cruise to 5A regional wrestling title

12 Feb 2017

By Scott Schlaufman http://www.gjsentinel.com

AURORA — Grand Junction High School senior Tyren Castonguay bore remnants of physicality as he walked off the mat at Saturday’s Class 5A Region 3 wrestling tournament. Both of his nostrils were filled with plugs because of a bloody nose. Near the top of the bridge of his nose was a small scrape that also was bleeding. Despite that, he felt great.The Tigers’ 126-pounder left Cherokee Trail High School with his first regional championship and qualified for the state tournament for the second time in his career. The win was sweet after a fifth-place regional finish last season. “It’s been redemption, redemption, redemption for me,” Castonguay said. “Hard work over the offseason and pushing to get through for my senior year.”

 

Castonguay was one of five regional champions for Grand Junction, which cruised to the regional team title with 239 points. The Tigers’ closest competition was Adams City with 187. “It’s the next step in our journey,” Grand Junction coach Cole Allison said. “We expected to come up here and win. We performed pretty well for the most part, gave away a few here and there, but we’re positive.” The second-ranked Tigers qualified 10 wrestlers for state, including nine who finished the day in championship matches. Freshman Dawson Collins was the school’s other first-time regional champion at 106 pounds. Josiah Rider, Dylan Martinez and Seth Latham also continued their regional winning streaks, taking the titles at 145, 132 and 170 pounds, respectively.

 

Grand Junction’s other qualifiers included second-place finishers Angelo Guillen (113 pounds), J.T. Skalecki (160), Hunter Tobiasson (182) and Shawn Garcia (220). Talen Valerio also qualified for state with a fourth-place finish at 120 pounds. Even with the strong competition around him, it was Castonguay who stole the show for the Tigers, with close matches throughout the regional. In the semifinals, the fourth-ranked Castonguay beat Adams City’s Nicholas Gonzales, who is ranked third, 5-4. Castonguay followed that win with a 3-2 decision in the championship against Bear Creek’s Andrew Sansburn. “He’s really the story of the tournament,” Allison said. “He deserved to win. He’s been close for all four years and just a little bit short. He stayed persistent and it wasn’t easy to beat some highly ranked guys.”

 

The championship bout was tied 0-0 after the first period. Castonguay earned all three of his points in the second period, scoring on a takedown and an escape to go ahead 3-1 after the second. Sansburn had one point in the third but was kept from the tying point. The match was stopped three times to deal with Castonguay’s bloody nose. Collins continued his phenomenal freshman season with a three-win sweep that included a tech-fall win in the quarterfinals. Collins followed that victory with a 5-0 decision in the semifinals and an 11-0 major decision in the finals. Collins had two points at the end of the first period of the championship match but waited and found his opportunities late in the second and third periods. “I knew he was tall and long and I was studying him,” Collins said. “I saw him go for the low ankle pick and I was just planning on keeping my ankles back. Attacking, but doing it smart.” Grand Junction’s other three regional champions built on their previous regional and state success.

 

Josiah Rider, who won the state championship at 152 pounds last year, cruised to the championship at 145 pounds. He finished the weekend with three pins and one tech fall. He won his championship with a 50-second pin over Prairie View’s Santana Salas. Dylan Martinez, who had a third-place finish at state last year at 120, won by pin in his first match and a technical fall in the semifinals. He finished the tournament with a pin in the final round. The Grand Junction junior has advanced to state all three years. Seth Latham won the 170-pound regional championship for the second year in a row. He won by pin in his opening match and closed out the tournament with a 6-0 decision.

 

Senior Shawn Garcia was the team’s only returning regional champion not to repeat. Garcia lost 8-3 in the championship match to Cherokee Trail’s Max Gonzales, the second-ranked 220-pounder in the state. J.T. Skalecki also came close in his championship match, falling 6-4 in the first round of sudden victory to Cherokee Trail’s Josh Richardson. Skalecki led 4-2 going into the final minute of the match. Richardson had two points near the end to tie it and scored the winning takedown with 10 seconds left in the first sudden victory period.