Huskies’ Jeremiah Vasquez takes bronze at state
Entire family celebrates medal
The Vasquez family has turned Denver into Minturn East.
Battle Mountain heavyweight Jeremiah Vasquez captured third place at Saturday’s 4A state wrestling tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Vasquez pinned Pueblo South’s Victor Sosa at the 4:22 mark of their match. And his family — a myriad of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and, yes, his dad, Angelo, who also is his coach — went nuts.
“We have a big group, 20-something fans,” Angelo said. “We’re filling the Pepsi Center better than Battle Mountain High School.”
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Jeremiah, a junior, is the first Battle Mountain wrestler to make the state podium since Jesus (Freddy) Morales, 132 pounds, and Wyatt Harwood, 170 pounds, finished fourth in 2016.
Those fourth-place finishes were the first podiums at state since the school moved up to 4A for the 2001 wrestling season. So Jeremiah Vasquez’s bronze medal is the best state finish for a Huskies wrestler during the past 20 years. In a fun bit of trivia, the first Battle Mountain wrestler to qualify for state at the 4A level was some guy named Angelo Vasquez in 2001.
“I felt really excited,” Jeremiah said. “But I’m more thankful for my family who watched me.”
Vasquez started his tournament by pinning Lewis-Palmer’s Matthew Icke in 62 seconds.
In an ironic storyline that the state tournament produces, Vasquez got a boost from a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Andy Garcia, of Pueblo East.
For those who don’t follow Colorado wrestling, Garcia is the three-time heavyweight 4A state champ and was heavily favored to make it 4-for-4 late Saturday night.
That Vasquez could hang with Garcia and avoid being pinned instilled him with confidence.
“I wrestled with one of the greatest wrestlers the state of Colorado has produced,” Vasquez said. “Hopefully, I’ll become the state champion next year.”
Vasquez started working his way back through the consolation bracket by beating Grand Junction Central’s Israel Lima, 8-2. Next up was a pin of Greeley Central’s Victor Martinez.
That set up the rematch. One of Vasquez’s two losses this season was to Broomfield’s Tyler Carpenter last week at the Class 4A Region 2 Tournament.
Sheer revenge was one motivator. The second was that Vasquez felt that Carpenter celebrated a little too much on the podium last week.
Vasquez’s ace in the hole was that Garcia had pinned Carpenter earlier in the season at the Rumble in the Rockies, while the Huskies junior had just survived six minutes with the likely champ.
Young Vasquez thought he could take him, while Coach Vasquez had confidence for yet another reason.
“We knew that if we were able to get him into the second and third period, he was going to struggle,” Angelo said. “We needed to take him into deep waters.”
Jeremiah did, and the result was a 5-2 victory. And for the record, as much as he was trying to zone out all the noise at the Pepsi Center, this match was when he could hear his family the most.
Vasquez finished the run with the pin of Sosa, and Team Vasquez, including dad, is a happy bunch.
“It’s so fun to watch,” Angelo said. “It’s just a proud moment. So many Vasquezes have gone through Battle Mountain, and he’s the first on the wall (of the wrestling room as a state medalist).”
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