DENVER -- If Holy Family's state-title hopeful twins Julian and Joseph Prieto are competing with one another on parallel championship quests, getting caught in the crossfire early on at the state tournament is a bad place to be.
On Thursday at the Pepsi Center, both Prieto brothers marked the first steps on their paths through their Class 3A brackets with first-round pins. Both Tigers sophomores showed their experience from last year, when each were state placers as freshmen.
At 120 pounds, Julian Prieto (32-6) pinned The Classical Academy's Nathaniel Johnston in 1 minute, 19 seconds. Wrestling at 126, Joseph Prieto (35-7) pinned Gunnison's Zack O'Dell in 1:12.
"It felt good. The first match is one of the most important matches we have," said Julian Prieto, who also said he didn't know his first-round opponent's name and didn't care. "It decides whether you're going to have to fight the entire way back through everything."
Julian Prieto pressed the issue right away against Johnston. He tested a shot on Johnston, who sprawled to defense. When Johnston took the offensive in response, Julian Prieto caught him in a cradle and scored back points before the two went out of bounds.
Shortly after restarting, Julian Prieto found a half nelson and finished Johnston. Mirroring his twin brother's confident aggression, Joseph Prieto won his match in much the same way Julian did.
"I just went in there wanting to finish and just make it through the day," Joseph Prieto said. "I've been pinning most of my kids this season but it's the win that really matters, not how you get it. Having a strong first match keeps me focused and helps me warm up better."
Holy Family head coach Joe Domko said both Prieto twins have looked to him like "thoroughbreds in the gate" and described their starts as "excellent." Once their glasses come off, Domko said, both Joseph and Julian have been all business at the end of the season.
"They're proceeding on this journey just as we had anticipated," Domko said. "Momentum is everything if you want to go all the way at state. There's that sense of urgency with those kind of kids. They sense Saturday night but they're experienced enough to know, 'Don't think Saturday night. Don't mess around. Get through this round.'"
Also for the Tigers, senior Daniel Jansen pinned Buena Vista's Antonio Navarette in 3:01 to open the 3A 220-pound bracket. While there were no early surprises for the Prieto twins or Jansen, Tigers sophomore 113-pounder Vincent Casados lost a 2-1 decision to Lamar's Michael Johnson.
Casados fell behind 2-0 early. Once he scored an escape, neither he nor Domko felt any nervousness since he is a proficient top wrestler. Casados took control and tried to turn Johnson for the pin the way he had so many opponents this season. He nearly did but Johnson held out long enough to reach the buzzer.
"I thought we were fine and there were a couple instances when the ref almost counted so I didn't see any panic," Domko said. "To that young man's credit, there was a time when I saw his scapula and I thought, 'Oh, man.'"
Tigers 195-pound freshman Ben Lavoie lost by pin fall to Lamar's Tanner Christ in 1:29.
The Class 3A quarterfinals will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday and the first round of the consolation bracket will begin immediately following the completion of the quarterfinals. Semifinals are at 7:15 p.m. Friday.
Follow Brad on Twitter: @Brad Cochi
CLASS 3A STATE WRESTLING FIRST ROUND
Team Scores -- Centauri 26.5; Alamosa 25.5; Bennett 22.5; Brush 19.5; Valley 18; Hotchkiss 17.5; Dolores Huerta 16; Ft. Lupton 15.5; Monte Vista 14; Grand Valley 13; Eaton 12; Holy Family 12; Olathe 12; Trinidad 12; La Junta 11; Platte Valley 11; Salida 11; Buena Vista 10; Lamar 10; Bayfield 8; Florence 8; Jefferson 8; Sheridan 8; Sterling 8; Sterling 8; Middle Park 7; Platte Canyon 6; University 6; Basalt 5; Moffat County 4; Ridgeview 4; Cedaredge 3.5; CS Christian 2; Ellicott 2; Pagosa Springs 2; Classical Academy 2.
106 pounds -- Tel Kelley, Alamosa pinned Lance Shoulderblade, La Junta, 3:28; Cody Pfau, Grand Valley dec. Ferdinando Martinez, Ft. Lupton, 6-5; Channing Lewis, Eaton pinned Justin O'Dell, Gunnison, 5:34; Andrew Clark, Bennett maj. dec. Fabian Guerrero, Dolores Huerta, 14-1; Colby Duncan, Sterling pinned Jake Hubbell, Hotchkiss, 5:16; Patrick Esparsen, Centauri pinned Jesse Shelton, Lamar, 1:27; Diondre Garcia, Monte Vista tech. fall Ryan Francis, Classical Academy, 16-0; Austin Todd, Cedaredge tech. fall Joshua Marquardt, Faith Christian, 16-0.
113 pounds -- Conrad Cole, Brush tech. fall Jason Juth, Bennett, 17-2; Jose Duran, Monte Vista tech. fall Patrick Huffman, Buena Vista, 19-4; Garrett Toothaker, Hotchkiss dec. Xavier Solis, Dolores Huerta, 12-7; Michael Johnson, Lamar dec. Vincent Casados, Holy Family, 2-1; Dillon Bellino, Florence pinned Lane Nelson, Coal Ridge, :45; Ruben Lucero, Valley maj. dec. Randy Munoz, Ellicott, 19-6; Benjamin Medina, Ft. Lupton dec. Jordan Birch, Classical Academy, 10-6; Austin Shank, Olathe pinned David Gallegos, Alamosa, 3:20.
120 pounds -- Levi Maes, Sheridan pinned Kyle Gardner, Platte Valley, 2:47; Hector Chagoya, Basalt dec. Brian Follett, CS Christian, 8-2; Christian Guerrero, Dolores Huerta pinned Jacob Ostrom, Cedaredge, 2:47; Julian Prieto, Holy Family pinned Nathaniel Johnston, Classical Academy, 1:19; Neff Malouff, Alamosa pinned Issik Herod, Moffat County, 2:00; Macky Sandoval, Brush pinned Lawrence Salazar, Jefferson, 1:10; Reece Alles, University dec. Evan Reed, Lamar, 8-1; Trenton Piatt, Olathe pinned Tyler Beebe, Bayfield, :25.
126 pounds -- Aaron Cisneros, Jefferson pinned Jake Yslas, Florence, 3:43; Ryan Waite, Platte Valley maj. dec. Edwin Meraz, Basalt, 13-3; Dakota Macy, Ft. Lupton dec. Ben Pridy, Olathe, 11-7; Cody Cowan, Monte Vista pinned Charles Baker, Classical Academy, 3:31; Jake Schoenfeld, Salida maj. dec. Ben Weakland, Valley, 10-0; Colter McMenimen, Bayfield dec. Jorge Martinez, Sheridan, 8-3; Ethan Coombs, Centauri maj. dec. Kaleb Hansen, Lamar, 13-5; Joseph Prieto, Holy Family pinned Zach O'Dell, Gunnison, 1:12.
132 pounds -- Joshua Miller, Bennett tech. fall Austin Krier, Sterling, 21-4; Adam Visconti, Middle Park dec. James Bernal, Dolores Huerta, 6-2; Christopher Martin, Centauri tech. fall Peter Williamson, Cedaredge, 20-5; Omar Sotelo, Valley tech. fall Vincent Gearhart, La Junta, 17-2; Kole Kelley, Alamosa tech. fall Sabyn Diamond, Buena Vista, 17-0; Alec Petterson, Brush dec. Francisco Aguilar, Jefferson, 10-4; Austin Walters, Platte Valley pinned Anthony Contreraz, Sheridan, 5:28; Jacob Solseth, Olathe pinned Allec Rodriguez, Bayfield, 3:23.
138 pounds -- Jared Mestas, Dolores Huerta pinned Joe Santistevan, Strasburg, 3:03; Jesse Head, Hotchkiss pinned Draven Adame, Lamar :46; Tucker Schults, Grand Valley pinned Carlos Maez, Sheridan, 2:49; Joel Contreras, Sterling pinned Dalton Gregory, Pagosa Springs, 2:53; Andrew Register, Classical Academy dec. Brayden Peterson, Moffat County, 10-7; Drake Rhodes, Bayfield dec. Ben Gutierrez, University, 6-5; Brandon Heredia, Alamosa dec. Zac Miller, Valley, 16-13; Brandon Coleman, Salida pinned Tristan Tenorio, La Junta, :56.
145 pounds -- Jason Buhr, Centauri pinned Beau Rocha, Brush, 2:40; Ruben Chagoya, Basalt maj. dec. Anthony Potter, Clear Creek, 15-1; George Stagg, Grand Valley dec. John Pearce, Sheridan, 10-7; Anthony Mozal, Valley dec. Joe Zink, Bayfield, 9-6; Fabian Hermosillo, Ellicott dec. Troy Rose, Olathe, 5-3 OT; Dillon Vance, Alamosa dec. Cristian Wacker, Platte Valley, 8-6; Zechariah Garcia, Ft. Lupton tech. fall Connor Craddock, CS Christian, 20-3; Joe Boyle, Hotchkiss tech. fall Jonathan Lohman, Bennett, 15-0.
152 pounds -- John Lopez, Buena Vista dec. Cody Snow, Pagosa Springs, 5-1; John Jordan, Bennett dec. Jacob Smith, Strasburg, 2-0; Jake Morrow, Brush dec. Zach Johns, Classical Academy, 6-3; Julian Gallegos, Dolores Huerta pinned Christian Keith, Coal Ridge, 3:03; Elias Altimarano, La Junta dec. Cody Bean, Eaton, 7-4; Scott Sandoval, Florence pinned William Hinkle, Grand Valley, 3:07; Dustin Head, Hotchkiss pinned Garrett Pacheco, Monte Vista, 5:15; Jackson Wright, Valley dec. Jacob Cisneros, Jefferson, 7-3.
160 pounds -- Micah Keys, Centauri pinned Chance Ogden, Salida, 1:17; Matt Wortman, University pinned Raul Morales, Ellicott, 1:46; Hunter Bell, Bennett dec. Michael Cardona, Eaton, 7-5; Michael Salazar, Grand Valley maj. dec. Oscar Archuleta, Manitou Springs, 13-0; Patrick Gore, Valley pinned Kenny Soto, Lamar, :45; Austin Vance, Monte Vista pinned Tony Ibarra, Hotchkiss, 1:42; Cameron Krautschun, CS Christian dec. Michael Wilcoxson, Buena Vista, 4-2; Taylor Maik, La Junta maj. dec. Tyler Stratman, Brush, 12-2.
170 pounds -- Caleb Copeland, Bennett pinned Chris Aguirre, Alamosa, 1:47; Kyle Rosenbrock, Brush pinned Brian Leahy, Cedaredge, 4:51; Bryan Hegwood, Grand Valley dec. Seth Von Rentzell, Faith Christian, 9-2; Jensen Hamilton, Centauri pinned Nate Kocol, Clear Creek, 3:32; Donaciano Vurciaga, Ft. Lupton pinned Jerry Juarardo, Coal Ridge, 1:30; Marcus Garcia, Dolores Huerta pinned Colin Mahanay, Lamar, 5:25; Lucas Chieppo, Ridgeview pinned Morgan Shelton, Pagosa Springs, 4:49; Keegan Wentz, Buena Vista pinned Evan Oakley, Strasburg, 3:10.
182 pounds -- Koby Close, Buena Vista pinned Zeke Corral, Strasburg, 3:42; Jareb Aziz, Centauri pinned Grayden Mondragon, La Junta, 1:05; Kyle Hicks, Lamar pinned David McRee, Pagosa Springs, 2:16; Riley Jones, Eaton pinned Alejandro Alejandre, Cedaredge, 1:02; Kory Hudson, Bennett pinned Isaac Medina, Monte Vista, 1:25; Jesse DeMoor, Moffat County pinned Everett Collins, Valley, 1:50; Cody Garrett, Middle Park dec. Austin Sailas, Ft. Lupton, 11-9; Gunner Robinson, Alamosa pinned Francisco Alvarado, Jefferson, 1:46.
195 pounds -- Thane Smith, Salida pinned Cannon Wille, St. Mary's, 1:46; Indiana Hooser, Platte Canyon pinned Evon Frantz, Platte Valley, 1:09; Abren Tenorio, La Junta dec. Tristan Teter, Brush, 10-5; Connor Jennings, Middle Park maj. dec. Nate Titcomb, Manitou Springs, 10-0; Austin Ramos, Valley tech. fall Jonathan Flores, Jefferson, 19-2; Olmer Marquez, Basalt pinned Oscar Marez, Trinidad, 1:43; Nick Jones, Alamosa dec. Edward Rodriguez, Buena Vista, 5-3 3OT; Tanner Crist, Lamar pinned Ben Lavoie, Holy Family, 1:29.
220 pounds -- Dalton Shoop, Eaton pinned Cole Zyweic, Coal Ridge, 1:18; Jayce Montoya, Sheridan pinned Conner Ward, Florence, 3:41; Pablo Villarreal, Alamosa pinned Dylan Kelly, Ellicott, 1:45; Jacob Ornelas, Ft. Lupton pinned Aaron Medina, Lake County, 1:18; Justice Reddick, Platte Canyon dec. Matt Cerdas, Bayfield, 6-4; Joe Carwin, Brush pinned Jacob Wood, Salida, 4:40; Daniel Jansen, Holy Family pinned Antonio Navarette, Buena Vista, 3:01; Brian Shaw, Trinidad pinned Carter Severson, La Junta, :25.
285 pounds -- Raul Rios, Platte Valley pinned Miles Keane, St. Mary's, 2:25; Jesse Lucero, Jefferson pinned Justin Halley, Middle Park, 1:16; Hayden Bickel, La Junta pinned Tommy Brew, Olathe, 1:46; Creede Wiley, Pagosa Springs dec. Oscar Soto, Brush, 3-2; Zach Taylor, Hotchkiss pinned Vissili Boner, Classical Academy, 1:22; Raymond Riggins, Trinidad pinned Miguel Rojo, Strasburg, 5:52; Matt Eckstein, Bayfield pinned Dorian Richard, Valley, :50; Corby Wyett, Bennett pinned Austin Reed, Coal Ridge, 1:58.