by Marissa Lorenz
Kremmling is fortunate to have frequent reminders of the pride that it holds for its youth, its students and student athletes. And this weekend offered another of those memorable moments, as home-town native Rene Dominguez represented West Grand High School under the bright lights of Denver’s Pepsi Center at the 2020 Colorado State Wrestling Tournament.
Dominguez is universally recognized as a “smart, talented and all-around great kid.” A junior, he is a member of National Honors Society and, this past season, took on the role of a two-sport athlete, providing valuable teamsmanship to both West Grand Boys Basketball and Wrestling. Although he had wrestled in middle school, he had not wrestled since eighth grade, but immediately showed his promise. And then, at the recent 2A wrestling regionals in Montrose, he placed fourth in the 138-pound weight class, earning his way to the state tournament, where he did not disappoint his fans, in spite of two challenging losses.
West Grand Wrestling Coach, Brian Strathman explains that they went into the tournament knowing Dominguez was facing some “really strong competitors. We had a game plan in place, but we knew it would be tough.” In the end, Dominguez would be matched up with the state’s 1st and 3rd place winners, Wyatt Yapoujian of Byers HS and Santino Mendoza of Rocky Ford HS, respectively. “His losses on the year were to the state champion, and the 3rd, 5th, and 7th place winners– it was a good year,” praises Strathman, acknowledging the additional challenge of playing the dual sports. “In my 10 years coaching here, I’ve never seen it. He played a basketball game Friday night and definitely came into Saturday’s competition playing tired. The whole experience is a lot to take in. It makes the students nervous, and rightly so. Rene did an outstanding job.”
Dominguez recognizes many of the same challenges but says that “it was awesome being at the Pepsi Center and down on the floor. I would have liked for more of my teammates to be there with me, competing and supporting each other.” He is humble throughout the conversation, expressing gratitude to “my coaches and teammates from both teams. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support and encouragement from all of them.”
And Dominguez is already looking forward to next year, saying that he will “stick to wrestling” his senior year and hopes to “place at state and see more of my teammates qualify for state with me.” Strathman says that they have already discussed goals for next year, including “more mat time in the summer and placing at state.”
Following graduation from West Grand, Dominguez notes that he wants to be in a police K-9 unit in a sheriff’s department. “I love watching ‘LivePD’ on TV and really love the dogs,” he says enthusiastically. He says that it would be great to do that work in Grand County or, maybe, in a larger city. One thing is certain, the Kremmling community will continue to follow his journey and share in the pride of his achievements, on the mat, in his classes and in the wider world.
by Marissa Lorenz