Friday, July 12, 2002
GREELY, Colo. — Local wrestler Jorge Lujano traveled to the July 4-6 National Cadet Dual Meet Championships on a mission.
The Hood River Valley High School junior heavyweight ventured to the campus of Northern Colorado University, toting a hefty artillery of arm bars, leg locks and takedowns.
And when the prestigious annual tournament had drawn to a close, Lujano was one of the last Oregonians standing, posting a remarkable 16-1 combined record for Team Oregon in the three--day Greco Roman and Freestyle competition.
“Jorge was on fire at Nationals,” said coach Mark Brown, one of three Oregon high-school coaches who accompanied the elite group of 15-16 year-olds. “He was one of the big reasons the team did so well this year.”
Another local upstart, Jason DeHart, also traveled to Greely, but had mixed results in the 160-pound bracket. He performed best in Freestyle, winning five matches and helping Team Oregon to a 13-4 record.
Both DeHart and Lujano were integral members of Team Oregon, but Lujano became one of the team’s true driving forces, leading them to a second-place finish in the Greco-Roman competition, and fourth place in Freestyle, out of a field of 24 state teams.
His only loss at the three-day event was an early-round Freestyle match against a rugged, experienced opponent from Oklahoma, one of the tournament favorites.
But when the team needed Lujano, he responded. In the Greco semifinals against Team Utah, Lujano needed to pin Dallin Norton so Oregon could advance to the finals against the defending champion, Minnesota Storm.
Down 7-0 heading into the second and final round, Lujano threw Norton to his back with a lateral drop and pinned him, giving him his fifth pin of the tournament, and Team Oregon a berth in the finals.
“Our team went wild,” Brown said.
Although the team fell to Minnesota, Lujano earned yet another fall to go undefeated in Greco.