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Tigers Tear Up State Championship

Marilyn Rice, Editor-in-Chief

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The GJHS Tigers ripped and roared through the 2018 CHSSA State Wrestling Tournament and brought home a team title. The team had nine state qualifiers, seven state finishers, and two state champions; talk about talent.

After a very successful season, thanks to the amazing coaching staff led by Cole Allison and Joe Meinhart, these boys were able to conquer incredible feats and make school history. Coaching is just as important as the athletes individual talent and it appears to be why Allison was awarded the 2018 5A Coach of the Year.

As the weekend unfolded, the pressure was rising between GJHS and Pomona, who were the top two teams and battled back and forth for 1st place throughout the tournament. Pomona was good, but the Tigers were better. GJHS took home the team title beating Pomona 151.5 – 146.

This tournament was about so much more than the medals and titles. This weekend was the last time the team’s three seniors Josiah Rider, Dylan Martinez, and Seth Latham would wrestle on high school mats. These boys left their hearts on those state mats and all walked away state finishers. Josiah Rider,  who has committed to North Carolina State, took home his 3rd state championship.  Dylan Martinez, who has committed to Air Force Academy, took home 2nd place for his 145 bracket, and Seth Latham, who has committed to Colorado Mesa University, also took home 2nd for his 182 bracket. They are definitely leaving some big shoes to fill.

But from the looks of it, the younger generation of Tigers are eager and prepared to fill them. Sophomore Dawson Collins  delivered  by bringing home one of the two 1st place titles. Collins’ match was an emotional roller coaster.

“ [Winning] is overwhelming honestly, I felt the loss, then I felt the win. It was a crazy match,  and it was cool to be apart of it, and to be the one that come out on top,” Collins said.

Collins opponent, Adrian Marquez from Castle View,  was given the winning point, but it was revoked due to a challenge by Paul Martinez, who coached Collins in the finals match. Collins took full advantage of the rare point revocation and scored in overtime to secure the victory.

Freshman, Kieran Thompson,  had an  impressive freshman season with a strong 38 – 13 record. Thompson fought his way through the state tournament taking home 6th place for his 106 lb bracket. Thompson’s pin in Saturday’s consolation round earned  team points that boosted GJHS closer to the championship. This kid is definitely one to keep an eye on because it’s only up from here for Thompson.

Another athlete on the rise is 2nd place finisher in the  220 lb bracket, Hunter Tobiasson. With an impressive 37-4 record, Tobiasson was projected to do well at state but performed even better. Tobiasson’s only loss of three days came in the final round  during an intense match with Broomfield’s Mason Watt. Tobiasson’s senior year looks bright and promising.

JT Skalecki, junior, also had an impressive run coming out of the tournament with a 3rd place finish.  Wrestling at 170, Skalecki held a 38 -7 record. After a one-point heartbreaking loss in the semi finals,  Skalecki fought his way back, beating the number one seed in the consolation finals. These points were crucial for GJHS’s victory against Pomona.  

Sophomores, Talen Valerio (138) and Caid Lopez (195) both qualified for the state tournament and won matches that contributed to the team’s title. These two Tigers will use their experiences at state as motivation for next year’s season.

This was an amazing outcome for this once-in-a-lifetime team who won the first wrestling state championship for GJHS since 1994 and GJHS’s first athletic state championship since 2005.

“It’s one of those surreal things. It’s bittersweet right now because we had less people win then we thought, but it’s still one of those really cool moments that you’ll never forget,” Rider said.

Congratulations Tigers on your championship; it was worth the wait.  

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Tigers Tear Up State Championship