GOLDEN — Alameda International’s boys wrestling team did something Feb. 3 that hadn’t happened in more than two decades.
The Pirates racked up 144 team points to win the Class 4A Jeffco League Tournament and bring home a conference wrestling title for the first time since 2001. Bear Creek was runner-up with 114 and Evergreen took third with 108.5.
“This means a lot. It really does,” Alameda coach Frank Trujillo said. “Where we were a few years ago to where we are now is a total change. We have a lot of kids who are proud to be out there. It’s a great feeling.”
Fittingly, Golden athletic director JC Summer — Alameda’s wrestling coach back in 2001 — handed the conference plaque to Trujillo after nearly five hours of wrestling at Golden High School.
“This is good. It’s been a long time since we’ve won,” Alameda junior Mushtaq Shokori said.
Shokori was one of three Pirates who claimed individual titles. The junior won at 157 pounds. Freshman Caleb Ballejos went 4-0 to win the 106-pound title. Sophomore Muswer Ali Shokori had five pins in all of his 150-pound matches.
Alameda was able to racked up enough team points thanks to seven other wrestlers placing either second or third in their weight class. The future is bright for Alameda with no seniors on this year’s team.
“We’ve been telling all our wrestlers that every win counts,” Trujillo said of the Pirates depth that helped win the league title. “Even if you lose, it’s important to bounce back with a win in your next match to help out the team.”
Evergreen senior Gabe Zimmerer (165) helped the Cougars claim a tournament-high five individual titles. Evergreen won at 126, 165, 175, 190 and 215. Zimmerer, a three-time state qualifier, dominated by pinning all five his opponents at the league tournament.
“I like all the matches. It gives you a lot of experience,” Zimmerer said. “I just wanted to go out and sharpen my skills before regionals. It was a good day.”
Zimmerer — highest ranked 4A Jeffco League wrestler by On the Mat — is hoping to return to Ball Arena in a couple of weeks to make his fourth state tournament. He placed sixth as a sophomore at 160 pounds, but came up one win short at state last year to place on the podium.
“Hopefully this year is a lot different,” Zimmerer said of finishing his prep wrestling career on the high note at state.
Wheat Ridge senior Dante Limon will also attempt to become a four-time state qualifier. He placed sixth last season at 132 pounds. Limon easily cruised to the 132-pound title Friday with first-round pins in all five matches.
“I just wanted to get some good work in against some good competition,” Limon said. “I wanted to work on my moves and do good.”
Limon had one of the bigger fan following Friday night with a handful of family and friends cheering him on.
“It’s fun. I really love the sport,” said Limon, who has applied to West Point Military Academy and is waiting to hear back if he has been accepted. “It’s fun to show my fans what I’m able to do. I want to show how much I’ve been working and put that out on the mat.”
For the near future, Limon hopes to win a regional title next weekend to punch his ticket to the state tournament that runs from Feb. 16-18 at Ball Arena.
“I want to take first, but I know that is going to be pretty difficult,” Limon admitted about the state tournament. “I’ve got to put my mind to it these next couple of weeks and keep grinding.”
Dennis Pleuss is the sports information director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.