ALAMOSA – Wrestling itself seemed almost secondary to Skieler Grooms in the greater context of not just the last weekend but a challenging high school career on and off the mat.
Competing this last Friday afternoon inside Adams State University’s Plachy Hall at the 2019 Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games showcase, Grooms saw action in the fourth bout against Brush’s Oswaldo Nunez. But the Beetdigger built up a 6-1 lead through the first 90-second period at 145 pounds, and the Bobcat ultimately fell victim of a pin 57 seconds into the second.
“Last night at practice, I wrestled him, but I didn’t know his criteria until just now,” Grooms said, knowing Ignacio head coach Jordan Larsen was just as proud to see his pupil recognized with a All-State Games selection. “But I went out, hit a fireman’s – I knew that was a solid move – took him down, and he’s just really quick, and I couldn’t do much after that.”
Nunez would later claim the dual’s 13th and final official bout as well, routing Frederick’s Cole Hoffman by 16-2 major decision, but he and the Blue team came up short on the scoreboard, as Grooms and the Red team won 28-23.
“It wasn’t my last match (after) state, so that was kind of nice,” said Grooms. “I was a little rusty, didn’t know what I was doing last night, but now I’ve got it. It was nice to get into the wrestling room last night – kind of felt like maybe I could wrestle in college.”
Where he’ll be going next – Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction – that could indeed be an option.
But Grooms grinned wider at not only getting one last shot at prep-level opposition, but about an imminent graduation the very next day in Durango.
“I went to an online school called GOAL Academy, but I wrestled for Ignacio,” he explained. “Since it doesn’t have its own school, we take the GOAL(s) from Pagosa and Cortez and all come to Fort Lewis College to graduate together.
“Then I’m going to CMU to go into their lineman program. It’s kind of setting in, the realization that I’m going to be in college in a dorm with a roommate. With all the new friends I’ve made, all the coaches and with graduation, I’m definitely not going to be forgetting this weekend.”
Also representing the southwest in the dual were Pagosa Springs teammates Caleb Janowsky and Ian Reinhardt. Both part of the Blue crew, Reinhardt dropped a 13-4 major to Pueblo Centennial’s Cole Hernandez at 170 in Bout 3 while Janowsky elected not to compete at 195 because of a knee still not satisfactorily healed after an early-February injury at IHS’ Butch Melton Memorial Invitational.