MABTON With years of success and talent on the wrestling mats, the Vikings haven’t had a state champion since 1978.
That is, until now.
Freshman George Trujillo, a 132-pound dynamo, won the first state championship for Mabton at Mat Classic XXXI.
The last wrestler to win a title was Don Haak.
“As soon as he (George) won, I was on my phone, texting my wife to say, ‘The Curse is broken’,” Coach John Kilian said.
Trujillo grew up wrestling and competes for Team Takedown in Yakima during the months he is not on the mat as a Viking.
“My most difficult match was the semi-final,” he said of his Feb. 15-16 experience in the Tacoma Dome in the Washington State Wrestling Championships.
“It’s almost more climatic,” Kilian said of semi-final matches. “The pressure is different.”
Trujillo agreed, stating the round will determine if there is a shot at the title.
“My opponent was just as determined… after the match he said he just wanted to go into it and beat the crap out of me so he could get revenge against Crowe,” Trujillo said.
The wrestler he defeated by a 6-4 overtime decision in the semi-final was Rielan Bretz of Tonasket.
“It was about whoever wanted it more,” Trujillo said.
In the finals, he beat David Crowe of Lake Roosevelt by a 3-2 decision.
Trujillo detailed the match, saying he was scared at the start because the crowd was large and focused on the championship mats.
Between Kilian and himself, the young wrestler calmed. “He (Kilian) told me to go in calm and do whatever was needed,” Trujillo said.
At the end of the second round, he was down 1-0 after Crowe earned an escape point.
“He (Kilian) said, ‘You know you have to go down’, and I hate going down,” the youngster remembers.
But he took his coach’s advice and got away from his opponent within 10 seconds.
“Crowe was gassed, and coach told me he was going to shoot sloppy,” Trujillo recalls.
At that point, the score was 1-1, and the Viking took advantage with just 30 seconds remaining in the match.
He got behind the Lake Roosevelt grappler and scored 2 points on a takedown.
“Coach said, ‘Circle, circle’,” Trujillo remembers.
He didn’t keep the momentum going and let Crowe go.
That brought the score to 3-2.
Trujillo said, “He shot sloppy again, and I pushed his head down and circled away.”
He and Kilian agreed the referee could have made a stalling call against the Viking but didn’t.
“I had to hold him (Crowe) in a headlock for about 4 seconds, and the match was over… the 30 seconds felt like the longest 30 seconds of my life,” Trujillo said.
With the win, he ended the 2018-19 season with 115 takedowns, 19 pins and 39 wins.
For Kilian, the moment was one he’s waited a long time for. He’s been coaching 30 years and had several wrestlers in the finals, but none were able to win the title.
They included Gilbert Chavez in 1995, Lupe Hudgens and Cole Hecker in 1999, Angel Montelongo in 2000, Eli Perez in 2007 and Gabriel Mireles in back-to-back years (2016 and 2017).
“It’s been 41 years (for Mabton), 66 contenders (for me) and it feels great knowing ‘Grandpa John’ finally has his state champion,” Trujillo said.
“I’m a proud Papa,” Kilian said.