WESTMINSTER - Gabe Grimaldo has tasted the state tournament and he wants more.
The Westminster wrestler took fourth at 160 pounds in his first state tournament as a junior and that experience has helped raise his expectations this season.
“I plan on taking state,” said Grimaldo, who will move up to 170 this season. “That’s everybody’s goal, I guess. For right now I’m taking it one practice at a time and one match at a time.”
Last season, Grimaldo rolled through the first two rounds of the tournament before losing to Regis’s John Crowley in the quarterfinals.
Crowley went on to win state, while Grimaldo lost 6-4 in the third-place match to Grand Junction’s Gage Casey.
“It was an incredible experience,” said Grimaldo, who has only been wrestling for four years.
What made last season impressive for Grimaldo, who finished with a 15-11 record, was he didn’t even think he was going to make it past the regional tournament. But now with the state experience under his belt his expectation has been raised.
“That is what I did with a fourth of the experience of all of the other wrestlers at state,” the senior said. “This year, I plan on going far.”
Grimaldo opens the year ranked second in his weight class behind Ponderosa’s Dylan Gabel.
He is also one of four wrestlers that are ranked at Westminster, which makes Wolves’ new head coach Doug Pfeifer eager to see how his squad does this season.
“I think we could easily take six kids to state and we can do something there,” said Pfeifer, who was an assistant on the team the past few years. “Gabe’s been there before and he has done a great job with the younger kids. We feel we have a lot of good wrestlers that could compete.”