Entering his first high school wrestling season, Mancos High School wrestler Rudy Archuleta might not have expected to qualify for state.
Qualify Archuleta did however, and as a result, the star junior travelled to Denver to compete in the Colorado State High School Wrestling Tournament.
Hitting the mat at Denver's Pepsi Center on Feb. 20, Archuleta ran into tough competition, falling to John Mall High School's Marshal Ross (26-9) in the first round.
"We drew a tough kid off the bat," said Bluejays' head coach Grant Hobbs. "It was 4-2 in the third period and (Rudy) ended up giving up the pin."
Undeterred by his opening round loss however, Archuleta returned to action on Feb. 21 against Akron High School's Reid Paiser (29-7) hoping to pick up a win.
Struggling to find his rhythm however, Archuleta fell behind early before being pinned in the third period.
With the loss, Archuleta was eliminated from the state tournament.
"I think the big show maybe got to us a little bit," said Hobbs. "Having never seen the Pepsi Center in your whole life and then coming in here and competing is a challenge."
Even with the consecutive losses however, Hobbs was more than pleased with his star pupil, who began wrestling at the beginning of the season.
"(Rudy) definitely got some good experience as a first year wrestler," said Hobbs. "Not very many kids get this opportunity."
With the losses, Archuleta concluded his season with a 14-19 record, figuring to be even better next year.
"I'm looking forward to the offseason," said Hobbs. "(Rudy) said he's going to go in and help with our peewee program. He's all about wrestling now."
Given his natural athletic ability, an offseason of experience will undoubtedly benefit Archuleta in his quest to return to the State Tournament next season.
"We'll be back next year and I believe we'll be on the podium next year if (Rudy) sticks to what he's doing," said Hobbs.