LAFAYETTE -- Coach Joe Pereira made no bones about Broomfield's intentions entering the Top of the Rockies Invitational -- win the prestigious wrestling tournament's title.
The Eagles were edged from accomplishing the lofty goal Saturday at Centaurus High School, but falling short did little to dampen the coach's spirits. Pereira, however, had good reason to have buoyed spirits despite coming up short against two-time defending state champion Grand Island, Neb.
The Eagles might not have brought the Top of the Rockies crown back to Colorado, but the team proved it is a force to be reckoned with in the state.
"We managed to put a lot of good matches together," said Pereira, whose team fell seven points short of Grand Island. "I'm happy with the way we performed. And I think we all know we can wrestle even better than we did tonight."
With the Eagles winning five of their six championship and third-place matches, improving on their finish at Centaurus could mean big things. The team faced a number of its potential Class 4A state foes at the Top of the Rockies and left them all in the dust.
"And we're going to go straight back to work on Monday," Pereira said. "State is the goal and we're going to still approach it like we're the underdogs."
The finish for the Top of the Rockies title went right down to the wire. The deciding points for Broomfield and Grand Island came in the teams' 220-pound matches. But the championship fell Grand Island's way when it pinned in its third-place match and Broomfield got pinned in its championship bout.
But just before Broomfield's Connor Eakes lost, the team came up with an impressive run of wins to help chip away at the 13-point lead Grand Island brought into the finals. The Eagles won five straight matches and drew within three points after 195-pounder D.J. Zissimos' 8-1 decision over Fort Morgan's Toby McBride.
"We came in with the idea that we needed to do what we needed to do," Zissimos said. "But even after my win, I knew it was still up in the air."
Broomfield's two-time state champion 145-pounder Phil Downing came away with his third consecutive title at the Top of the Rockies. And the team's sophomore 106-pounder Darek Huff came up with his first, as did Drew Romero. Romero's finals win was a huge relief to the two-time state champion after coming up short a year ago at Centaurus.
"I've thought about that loss almost everyday since last year, about getting headlocked and pinned," Romero said.
Romero wrestled like a man possessed this time around and proved plenty along the way. His 11-0 major decision came against Joel Salomon of Windsor, a wrestler the Eagle is fairly certain he'll meet again in the state brackets.
"That's a win I can sleep better at night with," Romero said. "With him knowing I can beat him."
Where Romero had the Eagles' most convincing win, Zach Stodden had it most dramatic. Broomfield's 170-pounder was on the ropes to start the third period of his championship match, but staged an impressive comeback against JaCobi Jones.
Stodden beat the Omaha North wrestler at his own game, catching the fleet-footed junior in the final seconds of the match with a takedown. The victory was only enhanced with the Eagle earning it while fighting a stomach bug -- one that made him wretch midway through the match.
"I just kept my head in it the whole time," he said. "I guess I was in it to win it."
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.
TOP OF THE ROCKIES INVITATIONAL
At Centaurus HS
Grand Island 201.5, Broomfield 194.5, Pomona 160.5, Thompson Valley132, Greeley West 120.5, Rio Rancho 118.5, Rocky Mountain 112, Omaha North 106.5, Ponderosa 106, Mountain Range 90, Windsor 86, Scottsbluff 85.5, Pueblo South 82, Arvada West 75, Roosevelt 71, Cherry Creek 66.5, Brighton 66, Fort Lupton 63.5, Cheyenne Central 60, Alamosa 55.5, Legacy 54, Valley 54, Durango 53, Prairie View 52, Loveland 48, Arvada 45, Fort Morgan 43, Holy Family 43, Mead 33.5, Grand Junction Central 31, Sheridan 25, Denver East 21, Centaurus 2.
106 -- Darek Huff, Broomfield, def. Anthony Garza, Greeley West, 8-3.
113 -- Drew Romero, Broomfield, maj. dec. Joel Salomon, Windsor, 11-0.
120 -- Mitch Finesliver, Cherry Creek, dec. Ladigo Williams, Rio Rancho (NM), 3-2.
126 -- Emilio Martinez, Greeley West, dec. Zach Finesilver, Cherry Creek, 6-0.
132 -- Colton Adams, Scottsbluff (Neb.), dec. Bryce Meredith, Cheyenne Central, 5-2.
138 -- Jace Lopez, Roosevelt, dec. Andrew Rojas, Grand Island, 6-2.
145 -- Phil Downing, Broomfield, def. Miguel Barreras, Rio Rancho, 3-1.
152 -- Randy Boerner, Mountain Range, maj. dec. Billy Thompson, Grand Island (Neb.), 14-0.
160 -- JaVaughn Perkins, Omaha North, pin Archie Colgan, Pomona, 5:59
170 -- Zach Stodden, Broomfield, def. JaCobi Jones, Omaha North, 11-9.
182 -- Kyle Couch, Mead, dec. Corry Williams, Ponderosa, 2-1.
195 -- Garet Krohn, Arvada, tech fall Chase Reis, Grand Island, 19-4.
220 -- Hunter Reinert, Pueblo South, pin Connor Eakes, Broomfield, 2:16
285 -- Austin Waterman, Greeley West, pin Tony Martinez, Rocky Mountain, 3:15.
106 -- Michael Ramirez, Pueblo South, dec. Ryan Deakin, Legacy, 6-0.
113 -- Travis Torres, Pomona, dec. Brandon Leyba, Rio Rancho, 2-0.
120 -- Neff Malouff, Alamosa, dec. Levi Maes, Sheridan, 9-2.
126 -- Payton Tawater, Arvada West, maj. dec. Brandon Madril, Pomona, 11-0.
132 -- Raymond Robledo, Pomona, dec. Tanner Williams, Thompson Valley, 6-2.
138 -- Taylor Bergquist, Arvada West, def. Austin Marvel, Pomona, 6-2.
145 -- Torry Williams, Ponderosa, def. Alec Wyatt, Prairie View, 6-5.
152 -- Ethan Wright, Pomona, dec. Nick Tarpley, Durango, 7-4.
160 -- Francisco Marquez, Thompson Valley, def Vinny Gonzales, Windsor, 8-4.
170 -- Jose Ceballos, Grand Island, win by default Dylan Gable, Ponerosa.
182 -- Joel Hernandez, Brighton, def. Cosme Martinez, Windsor, 3-0.
195 -- D.J. Zissimos, Broomfield, def. Toby McBride, Fort Morgan, 8-1.
220 -- Edgar Silva, Grand Island, pin Jacob Orneals, Fort Lupton, :59.
285 -- Jorge Rodriguez, Mountain Range, pin Andrew Aratani, Scottsbluff (Neb.), 1:40.
106 -- Tomas Gutierrez, Pomona, maj. dec. Cruz Delacruz, Scottsbluff (Neb.), 12-2.
113 -- Keegan Hessler, Scottsbluff (Neb.), def. Ruben Lucero, Valley, 4-2.
120 -- Dante Rodriguez, Grand Island (Neb.), def. Julian Prieto, Holy Family, 7-4.
126 -- Danny Murphy, Rocky Mountain, def. Joseph Prieto, Holy Family, 8-4.
132 -- Shedrick Boyd, Greeley West, def. Ben Drysdale, Rocky Mountain, 6-1.
138 -- Roman Ortiz, Rocky Mountain, def. Jacob Gerken, Fort Morgan, 4-3.
145 -- Danny Clark, Rocky Mountain, def. Sabian Harsh, Scottsbluff (Neb.), 7-2.
152 -- Nick Nira, Thompson Valley, winner by default, Michael Fanning, Rocky Mountain.
160 -- Connor Casady, Legacy, def. Joel Geers, Mountain Range, 5-2.
170 -- D.J. Vurciaga, Fort Lupton, winner by default Tony Silva-Bussey, Arvada West.
182 -- Dalton Weis, Loveland, win by default Gunner Robinson, Alamosa.
195 -- DeValon Whitcomb, Omaha North, def. Robert Salgado, Rio Rancho (NM), 2-1 2OT.
220 -- Jacob Winter, Windsor, maj. dec. Brock Howes, Arvada, 14-6.
285 -- Matt Isaacs, Thompson Valley, pin Juan Medina, Grand Island, 2:56.
LOCAL SEMIFINALS MATCHES
106 -- Darek Huff, Broomfield, def. Tomas Gutierrez, Pomona, 7-6.
113 -- Drew Romero, Broomfield, def. Brandon Leyba, Rio Rancho (NM), 2-0.
120 -- Ladigo Williams, Rio Rancho, def. Julian Prieto, Holy Family, 5-3.
145 -- Phil Downing, Broomfield, tech fall Torry Williams, Ponderosa, 15-0.
160 -- Archie Colgan, Pomona, def. Connor Casady, Legacy, 3-1.
170 -- Zach Stodden, Broomfield, def. D.J. Vurciaga, Fort Lupton, 6-1.
182 -- Kyle Couch, Mead, def. Gunner Robinson, Alamosa, 8-4.
195 -- Garet Krohn, Arvada, tech fall D.J. Zissimos, Broomfield, 20-3.
220 -- Connor Eakes, Broomfield, def. Edgar Silva, Grand Island, 4-3.
LOCAL QUARTERFINAL MATCHES
106 -- Michael Rameriez, Pueblo South, def. Ryan Deakin, Legacy, 7-2; Darek Huff, Broomfield, def. Cruz Delacruz, Scottsbluff (Neb.), 5-2.
113 -- Drew Romero, Broomfield, pin Keegan Hessler, Scottsbluff (Neb.), 1:27; Brandon Leyba, Rio Rancho (NM), def. Vincent Casados, Holy Family, 6-3.
120 -- Julian Prieto, Holy Family, pin Levi Maes, Sheridan, 2-1.
126 -- Emilio Martinez, Greeley West, pin James Wells, Broomfield, 2:44; Bandon Madril, Pomona, maj. dec. Joseph Prieto, Holy Family, 11-3.
145 -- Phil Downing, Broomfield, pin Austin Zuniga, Pueblo South, 1:42.
160 -- Connor Casady, Legacy, def. Jordan Lara, Rio Rancho, 6-4.
170 -- Zach Stodden, Broomfield, def. Logan Follow, Cheyenne Central, 3-2.
182 -- Kyle Couch, Mead, maj. dec. Alex Munoz, Prairie View, 11-1.
195 -- D.J. Zissimos, Broomfield, def. Toby McBride, Fort Morgan, 5-4.
220 -- Hunter Reinert, Pueblo South, maj. dec. Daniel Jansen, Holy Family, 14-1. Connor Eakes, Broomfield, def. Austin Seeba, Loveland, 6-2.
285 -- Jorge Rodriguez, Mountain Range, maj. dec. Austin Harris, Broomfield, 8-0.