Sophomore is a standout in the sport of takedowns

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Granite Hills High School sophomore Collin Guffey is pushing for top East County wrestler recognition in 2021-22.

Current Granite Hills High School sophomore wrestling standout Collin Guffey is the son of former Valhalla High School standout Shawn Guffey, a 1994 alumnus, who made a name for himself during his own mat career with a trip to the state championship meet.

While the father-son connection to the sport may seem a natural fit, the younger Guffey said his involvement in wrestling started at the youth level through friends.

He’s gotten used to winning.

As a freshman at Granite Hills last spring, he won the 122-pound championship at the Division II section finals. Between his freshman and sophomore years, he captured a national championship at 120 pounds at last April’s USA folkstyle nationals, the first leg in the Triple Crown series, and also took first place at last October’s World Challenge at Clovis West High School in the 133-pound Elite High School Division.

“Winning CIF as a freshman was cool but I would have liked to wrestle at state,” the younger Guffey said.

He may get his chance this year if the ongoing pandemic doesn’t cancel the high school state championship tournament again. He’s ranked fifth in the state this year in his weight class.

The Granite Hills mat man opened the 2021-22 season by winning the 139-pound weight class at the second annual Granite Hills Invitational on Nov. 20, then followed that with another first-place performance at the 41-team Jimmy Hamada Classic at La Costa Canyon High School Dec. 3-4.

The Eagles competed at the national showcase Reno Tournament of Champions Dec. 17-19. Guffey led Granite Hills on the mat with a fourth-place individual showing in his 138-pound weight class.

Talented and focused, he remains extremely competitive by nature.

When informed he had just extended his record to 17-2 with an 18-3 technical fall against his opponent from Steele Canyon High School in a Grossmont Hills League dual meet Jan. 5 on campus, he promptly furrowed his brow. “19-0 would be better,” he said.

A three-sport student athlete (cross country, wrestling, track and field), Guffey has understandably developed a particular affinity for wrestling. He’s also become a standout cross country runner, though he said he uses that sport as cross-fit training for wrestling.

Positive thinking is his mantra.

“My teammates really motivate me a lot when I’m down,” Guffey said. “My coaches and my family also motivate me.”

Tall at 5-11 for his 132-pound weight class, the Eagle sophomore standout has set his goals in order for the rest of this season.

“Win CIF, win Masters, win state,” he said. “I don’t care who my opponent is. I just want to wrestle my best every match.

“I think I have a lot of determination. I can think outside the box in some situations, I have endurance and I’m fairly flexible.”

So far, it’s added up to a winning combination.

“I would say he has very good technique and body positioning,” his coach, Jesse Sheard, said. “He works very hard and hates to lose.”

Guffey dropped an 8-4 decision to Poway’s Johnny Lopez in the bronze medal match in Reno, and obviously will be looking to avenge that at the section’s Masters state-qualifying tournament in February at Christian High School.

Stay tuned.

Sophomore is a standout in the sport of takedowns

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