The Bulldogs wrestling team won two championships — both in lower weights, and placed six wrestlers to take fifth place at Saturday's Eagle Valley Invitational. At 113 pounds, senior Garrett Toothaker (11-4) was favored to win the tournament and was 3-0 for the day, pinning Raul Lopez of Eagle Valley in 53 seconds for the championship.
At 106 pounds, Jake Hubbell also claimed the championship. This was the first tournament of the season for Hubbell. The senior won his opening match last Thursday in the Bulldogs' dual loss against Cedaredge. Hubbell was seeded first at the Eagle tournament and was anticipating meeting No. 2-seed Wyatt Toothaker of Cedaredge. The two were scheduled to face off at last Thursday's dual, but Toothaker was sick. "I got ready all week for it," said Hubbell. "But I'll see him soon."
At Gypsum Saturday, Toothaker was upset in semifinals by another Bulldog wrestler, freshman Colton Hall. Hubbell defeated Hall, 8-1, to win the championship match.
Hubbell, a returning state qualifier, was ranked seventh in pre-season On the Mat rankings, but had planned to skip his senior year.
"I kind of had a change of heart and decided I really missed it," said Hubbell after defeating Bruin freshman Blake Nation at Thursday's dual. "I only had my senior year to do this so I just thought I might as well get hold of it and try and get as much time out of it as I can. Probably my last high school sport, so I definitely wanted to see if I could finish." Garrett Toothaker is the only other senior on the team.
Hubbell had to lose weight to make Thursday's weigh-in. "This is the first year I've ever had to cut, so it's kind of a new thing for me," said Hubbell.
While he missed out on the Warrior Classic, Hubbell said he was working out with the team in the mat room before the holidays and doesn't see the late start having a negative effect on the season.
Hubbell grew up in a wrestling family and wrestled for coach Richard Flores in middle school. He said he's looking forward to finishing his high school career as a member of Flores' team. "He knows a lot more, a lot more about technique, and he's just a really great coach," said Hubbell. "He's teaching us a lot and we're willing to learn."
"I believe Jake made a mature decision — knowing he would regret it later if he didn't give it his best shot," wrote Flores in an email. "A lot of people don't realize the sacrifice this sport requires." Flores added that the feeling of regret from quitting is one that lasts a long time. "I'm glad he gave it a second thought, but I will coach anyone who wants to learn, work hard, and give it everything they've got."
Hubbell also won Saturday at the Eagle Valley tournament. "He's a tough kid to have in the mat room and will make the other kids tougher," said Flores, who also has three freshmen wrestling at 106 pounds. "I wish every kid in my room the best of luck, and if Jake is the No. 1 kid at 106, I think he's got a shot at placing at state."
Also placing at Eagle Valley were freshman Wade Katzdorn, who defeated wrestlers from Rifle and Moffat County before falling to Raffa Gurule of Eagle Valley in the championship round. Placing fourth were Colton DeLuzio (120), who lost the third-place match to Trevor LaFramboise of Eagle Valley; Tristan Todd (220) and Connor Collins (285) who both fell to Cedaredge wrestlers in the final match.
The Class 3A Bulldogs will face 2A Paonia Thursday at Hotchkiss. They dual Peyton Friday at Salida and are scheduled to compete in the Rob Mickel Memorial Tournament Saturday.blog comments powered by Disqus