Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Limon has another up-and-coming champion wrestler.

By Will Bublitz

Woody Aguilar recently returned from the 2015 USA Wrestling National Schoolboy Duals held June 3-7 at Indianapolis, Ind. Wrestling in the 128 lbs. weight class, he helped Colorado’s “Blue” team take 16th place against teams representing all 50 states.

“I won some of my matches at the Nationals,” Woody said. “I think I did really well. I felt like I was wrestling my A game during the tournament.”

The 14-year-old Limon wrestler won four of his seven matches during the National Schoolboy Duals. The competition is an all Greco-Roman wrestling competition.

“Greco-Roman is different from folkstyle wrestling we use in school,” Woody said. “In Greco, you wrestle from the standing position and use your upper body to take your opponent off his feet or win by points.”

What is amazing about Woody’s achievement at the National Schoolboy Duals is that it was his first season wrestling Greco-Roman. In fact, he had no plans at all to compete in that wrestling style until just a couple of months ago when he was offered the opportunity to give it a try.

But wrestling is nothing new to Woody who has been wrestling folkstyle since the age of 6.  In fact, it is his passion.

“It’s the only sport I really like a lot,” he said. “It’s what I do. I like wrestling because I don’t have to rely on anyone else and it’s all up to me whether I win or lose. I like that.”

This past school year as an eighth grader, Woody had an impressive season. He racked up an undefeated 36-0 record while competing as a wrestler on both the Limon Middle School team and Castle Rock’s Olympian team of the Pikes Peak League.

At the Pikes Peak State Championship in March, he took fourth place in the 116 lbs. weight class. Competing at the Rocky Mountain Middle School State Tournament in April, he again finished fourth with a record of 8-2 in the 120 lbs. weight class which had 48 competitors.

“It was a good tournament,” he said. “I lost my last match by only one point.”

Woody’s demonstrated talent and strong performance at the state tournament caught the eye of officials. It led to an offer for him to try Greco-Roman wrestling.

“The Colorado league director for Greco sent my Dad an email inviting me to tryout for a spot on the Greco team,” he said. “So I thought I’d do it and see what happened.”

The state tryouts for the Greco-Roman wrestling was held on the campus of Colorado State University - Pueblo in mid-May. The top finishers would earn a trip to the Nationals in Indianapolis two weeks later.

“This was my first competition in Greco, but I did well,” Woody said. “I faced five opponents and won four matches. My only loss was to the eventual state champion.”

But that’s not the entire story. Woody’s loss to the state champion came in his first match. That put  Woody into the back of the wrestling bracket, which meant he would finish third and not qualify for the Nationals in Indianapolis. However, something unexpected then happened to give him a second chance to qualify.

“The father of the state champion in my weight class went to the league director and said he thought I was a better wrestler than the second-place finisher,” Woody said. “He asked for a wrestle-back to determine the true second-place finisher.”

Given this second chance, Woody made the most of it. He defeated his opponent by a score of 19-10 to take the runner-up spot and qualify for the 2015 USA Wrestling National Schoolboy Duals in Indiana.

“I was so excited to be going,” Woody said. “The Nationals were so much fun. The tournament was set up as dual competitions which I’d never done before. It was so much fun.”

Colorado’s “Red” team consisting of state champions took third place at the Nationals. Woody’s “Blue” team of the state runners-up finished 16th.

Inspired by his first successes in Greco-Roman wrestling, Woody said his ambition is to compete once again next year at the Nationals.

“I want to qualify and win at Fargo, N.D. where the Nationals for both Greco and Freestyle will be held next year,” he said. “It’s going to be a huge tournament.”

That’s not his only goal. In his freshman year at Limon High School, he  plans to train and compete as a Badger wrestler. His eventual goal is to become a state champion in his weight class.

Woody has the strong support of his family for his wrestling ambitions. He is the son of Louie Aguilar, the plant supervisor for Tri-State Generation & Transmission’s facility in Limon. His mother is Alicia Aguilar, Medical Clinic Team Manager for the Peak Vista Community Health Centers in Limon and Kiowa. Woody also has one brother and two sisters.

Woody and his family are expressing their  appreciation for all the support they’ve gotten from the wrestling coaches and supporters in the local community.

“We especially want to thank Andy Gaede and his family for taking us under their wing and helping Woody get on the Olympian team at Castle Rock,” Louie Aguilar said. “Without them, Woody wouldn’t be where he is today. They deserve a big thank you for all they’ve done.”

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