Tyren Castonguay tapped the side his head with his right index finger. The Grand Junction junior then flashed a smile. “Confidence is key this year,” he said. “I figured out my mind game. That was my low point, but now it’s my high point.” After ripping through all four of his opponents at the Tiger Invitational on Saturday at Grand Junction High School, Castonguay is now 11-1 on the season. Wrestling at 126 pounds, all of his wins Saturday were first-period pins and he said the key is confidence. “It’s probably the most important aspect of the season, I have to keep my confidence up,” he said. Grand Junction dominated the 10-team dual tournament, beating Coal Ridge (52-12), Eagle Valley (59-15), Northglenn (36-27) and Center (58-6) in early matches, then finished the tournament with a 48-18 win over ThunderRidge.
The tournament was a two-pool structure with ThunderRidge edging Arvada West 40-39 to earn the No. 1 seed from its pool, which included teams from Moffat County, Montezuma-Cortez and Grand Junction’s B team. Grand Junction coach Cole Allison said Castonguay has turned the corner mentally this season. “He’s always been capable, he’s always been right there skill-wise with the top kids, and I think I see a little change in him this year,” Allison said. “He doesn’t hope he’s there, he knows he’s there.”
Four Grand Junction wrestlers went unbeaten on the day. Along with Castonguay, Shawn Garcia had four pins wrestling at 195 and 220 pounds, Jeremy Latham went 5-0 at 138 and Dante Stewart was 3-0 at heavyweight. Stewart missed last season with a shoulder injury, and Allison likes what he sees in the junior early this year. Stewart used his power and aggressive style to pick up three first-period pins. “We’re working with Dante to settle down a little bit,” Allison said with a smile. “We want to keep him a little more under control but he’s big and strong and such a good athlete. He moves really well at that size.” For Stewart, it’s all about being back on the mat.
“It’s been tough the first couple of weeks, knocking the rust off. Honestly, right now, I’m just trying to get better, getting back into it,” he said. “It’s slowly coming back but I need more mat time.” The Tigers were without their two returning state medalists Saturday. Dylan Martinez (120) was out of town and Allison said he decided to rest Josiah Rider at 152 pounds. Both are sophomores. Garcia, a junior, finished off the day with a come-from behind win against ThunderRidge’s Vic Lavigne. Garcia fell behind 4-1 after the first period, then rallied for a 5-4 lead after the second and scored a pin in the final period. “Shawn looked good, he’s starting to come around,” Allison said. Latham, another junior, had a strong day, winning three matches via pin, one majority decision and a decision.
Next up for the Tigers is the Warrior Classic this weekend, and Castonguay is looking forward to wrestling in one of the biggest early season tournaments. After placing sixth as a freshman, Castonguay didn’t place last year, so he’s motivated to change that this year. “I’m really looking to have a good tournament, hopefully at least top three,” he said. Allison said the Warrior Classic is always a great test, with some of the best wrestlers in the entire region competing.
“The way wrestling season is set up, there’s like two peak points,” he said. “There’s the early season where you want to peak and have a good showing at a big tournament like the Warrior (Classic), then with the break, you’re almost starting over when you come back, and that’s when we will be training to peak in February.”