DENVER, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) Grand Junction senior Jay Skalecki won four straight matches in Denver to be crowned the 5A State Champion at 170 pounds.
"It feels so good," said Skalecki. "I've lost to Kai Blake twice this year. I beat him twice last year, lost to him twice this year, close matches in overtime. Hey, we wrestled smart and came away with a win here at the state tournament."
The senior went into the Pepsi Center battle tested and with experience against the top wrestlers in his class, he was able to come out on top.
"It makes it hard. Our regional was stacked. We had the one, two, three and four seeds. It was good that I wrestled him again because I changed just a little bit. If I would have wrestled him last weekend, I would have lost but we came back and got it."
Last year he took home the bronze. This year was his first time in the state finals and with over ten thousand pairs of eyes locked in, he captured the moment.
"The Pepsi Center, that's what makes this so great. You walk out there and it's a whole new atmosphere. There's people packed around the entire stands. It's a great feeling. It feels like pressure but really you just have got to wrestle your match."
Skalecki won by tech fall and major decision in his first two matches. The last two matches were much more grueling testing his stamina and fighting through a knee injury.
"(It was) very exhausting. You just have to sit and think about all the workouts and all that we go through day in and day out just to be champions at the end of the day. It worked out this time."
Grand Junction is now up to 74 state champion wrestlers and Skalecki adds his name to the rich tradition of Tiger wrestlers hanging in the wrestling room.
"It's a huge tradition. We have the most state champs out of any school in Colorado. There is bulletin boards everywhere around our school with the state champions from here and there and second place doesn't get you there. You've got to win it and so i'm glad we did today."