Friday's morning matches were not kind to the Silver Creek wrestlers.
All five Raptors who qualified for the state tournament lost their matches on Friday morning, either in the championship quarterfinals or the first round of the consolation bracket. But several of them bounced back.
Raptors junior 106-pounder Sawyer Novara (38-4), who lost to Windsor's Will Vombaur in the quarterfinals, remains alive after winning a 6-0 decision against Pueblo South's Xavier Espinoza in the second consolation round. Even in the consolation bracket, Novara faces a daunting challenge in Pueblo County's Nathan Bonham, who entered the tournament seeded third but was upset in the quarterfinals.
"I'm still a little disappointed at losing in the quarters," Novara said. "I even feel like I could have had a better consolation match. But it's going to get harder tomorrow since the third seed got upset today and I have to face him. I need to win that match to place."
Silver Creek's Justis Evans (152 pounds) and Kenny Jones (220) also remain in the hunt for a medal. Tanner Eshleman (138) and Ceone Evans (170) were eliminated from the tournament on Friday.
Niwot's Stager falls in semis
Niwot junior Tommy Stager put the work in this offseason and figured he had a strong chance to be the Cougar's first state champion since 1993.
But even what the most knowledgable wrestling minds figure will happen at the Colorado state tournament doesn't always happen. In the 4A 132-pound semifinals, Stager (45-5) fell 3-2 to Pueblo County's Justin Davis. Disappointed but still in contention for a top-three finish, Stager will compete to finish as high as third place on Saturday.
Holy Family's Welham gets another shot at Flanagan
Kolsen Welham looked like he was having fun on Friday night.
High praise indeed considering it was far and away the most stressful night of the state tournament.
Welham advanced to the final with a thorough 8-3 victory over Weld Central's Zach Irvin to set up a championship meeting with Valley's Macoy Flanagan in the Class 3A 170 pound final.
"It means everything, I've busted my butt since Day 1 and never taken a break and I'm just happy it has paid off," Welham said. "The Prieto brothers (Julian and Joseph) still come in a tweek a few things that I need. They are always there for me and they always have my back.
"It's amazing to have teammates like that."
In the finals, Welham will face Valley's undeafeated seior Macoy Flanagan (50-0) for the fifth time. Flanagan has won 3-2, 5-3, 7-4 and last week in the Reion 1 finals at Eaton 6-3.
Still Welham will approach it like he has every other match.
"It's just another match," he said.
Lalaguna heading to the finals
Centaurus' Forrest lalaguna has spent more time in the training room over the last few season than he would care to admit.
Still the Warriors senior has managed to come up big on the biggest of stages of Colorado prep wrestling.
On Friday night, against his one time training partner Mason Watt of Broomfield, Lalaguna advanced to the Class 5A heavyweight finals with a 6-1 victory.
"It just means so much because I have been struggling with injuries my entire career including this season," said Lalaguna, who will face Fruita Monument's Clayton Voytilla in the finals. "It just means so much to have it finally pay off, especially after a fifth place finish last year."
It was the third time in the last two season at the state tournament that Lalaguna has beaten Watt, including in that fifth place match in 2015. He has beaten Voytilla before, but knows the Wildcats senior is a different wrestler.
"I definitely cannot take him lightly whatsoever," said Lalguna, who pinned him in the regional final last year. "We were in the same tournament a couple of times this year, but we just never had a chance to meet up."
Lyons Bean picks up a pair of pins
Lyons head wrestling coach Brandon Lohr said that his sophomore state qualifier Keegan Bean was a bit overwhelmed in his state tournament debut on Thursday.
"Honestly, I think he kind of beat himself in that one," Lyons head coach Brandon Lohr said after Bean lost in the first round on Thursday. "I think all the bright lights and all the people got to him a little bit. He made a mistake early on with a suicide throw and he was done after that. But this is his first time down here and he's going to be ready to go and to use what he's learned when we come back tomorrow."
Bean (23-10) returned to the Pepsi Center on Friday with a renewed sense of purpose for the for the 2A 170-pound consolation rounds. In the first round of the consolation bracket, Bean pinned McClave junior Teo Dorado (32-7) in 25 seconds. Later that evening, he pinned Peyton sophomore Luke Manly (12-10) in 52 seconds.
Still alive for a medal, Bean needs to win his next match on Saturday morning. He will face Hotchkiss junior Kale Litzelman (27-17).
Erie riding roller coaster at state
After Erie's three state qualifiers went 3-0 in the opening round of the state tournament, the Tigers went 0-3 in the championship quarterfinals on Friday morning.
Tigers 113-pounder Adam Evertz (33-11) was pinned by Platte Valley's Brian Rodriguez, 138-pounder Ernest Quintana (35-15) lost an 8-6 decision to Florence's Ty Addington and 145-pounder Tobias Campbell (31-11) lost a 6-4 sudden victory to Delta's Kole Roberts. While Evertz and Quintana remain in the chase for a spot on the podium after winning their consolation matches, Campbell was eliminated from contention by a 4-0 loss to Mead's Caleb Mendez in the second consolation round.