DENVER -- Call him the Lone Wrangler.
Frederick sophomore Jesse Ortiz never imagined he would head to the Pepsi Center as the only representative from the Warriors' wrestling program at the Class 4A state tournament.
Yet after a season marred by a devastating rash of injuries, Ortiz finds himself shouldering the load for the entire Frederick team during this weekend's finals. The sophomore got his state tournament off to a good start on Thursday night, recording a victory against Mitchell's Caleb McElfresh in the first round of the 113-pound bracket.
"I represent Frederick and all the hard work everyone has put in for us," Ortiz said. "But now, I also have to go out there for myself, because I can't do it for the team anymore."
Ortiz qualified for state last year but, despite posting a first-round win, it ultimately proved to be a not-so memorable experience, as Ortiz lost his next two matches.
Ortiz has vowed this season will be different, and he made an impressive first step on Thursday. Ortiz pressed his early advantage against McElfresh and never relented, ultimately coming away with an 8-2 decision. The win improved Ortiz's season record to 35-4 and sets up a quarterfinal round match against Jeremiah Gonzales of Pueblo County on Friday.
"Last year, I came here and saw everybody out there and I got cold feet," Ortiz said. "I didn't do much. This year, I'm here to do something. It's a big boost. That first win means a lot. That's when you get all your jitterbugs out, and then you can get ready for tomorrow.
"The first matches, those are the ones where I'm usually skittish and I'm not ready to try something. Tomorrow I'll be ready."
Whatever run Ortiz can put together over the next two days at the Pepsi Center will provide a silver lining for what has been a frustrating season overall for Frederick. The Warriors sent three athletes to state last year and appeared primed to increase that number at the outset of this season.
Injuries, however, soon put a damper on Frederick's hope for a strong team showing at state. Although Ortiz is the only Warriors competitor to reach wrestling's biggest stage this year, veteran coach Gerry Galway prefers to look at the positives that came out of this season, particularly how many of his younger wrestlers received far more experience than anticipated.
"(Ortiz) set the tone in that match," Galway said. "He actually wrestled that kid in the final of the Alameda tournament, and he got behind. So he decided to go out and set the tone. He was in control the whole match.
"He represents our whole program out here. It's been a rough season. Jesse is our leader now. We had a lot of young kids out there this year, and Jesse set the pace for them."
Follow Pat on Twitter: @prooney07
CLASS 4A FIRST ROUND
DENVER -- First-round results Thursday from the Colorado Class 4A state high school wrestling tournament held at Pepsi Center.
Team Scores -- Windsor 34; Discovery Canyon 25; Thompson Valley 24; Broomfield 17; Roosevelt 16; Pueblo Central 15; Pueblo Centennial 14; Berthoud 10; Mesa Ridge 10; Montezuma-Cortez 10; Air Academy 8; Eagle Valley 8; Erie 8; Golden 8; Montrose 8; Niwot 8; Falcon 7.5; Palmer Ridge 7.5; Durango 6; Elizabeth 6; Mead 6; Valor Christian 6; Ft. Morgan 5.5; Arvada 4; Canon City 4; Cheyenne Mountain 4; Greeley Central 4; Longmont 4; Pueblo County 4; Weld Central 4; Palisade 3.5; Vista Ridge 3.5; Mullen 3; Northridge 3; Pueblo East 3; Sand Creek 3; Conifer 2; Evergreen 2; Frederick 2; Lewis-Palmer 2; Pueblo West 2; Rifle 2; Summit 2; Thomas Jefferson 2; Woodland Park 2.
106 pounds -- Dalton Robertson, Weld Central dec. Junior Casillas, Vista Peak, 8-4; Procopio Valdez, Mesa Ridge dec. Tyler Erzen, Elizabeth, 4-3; Michael Ramirez, Pueblo South maj. dec. Vincent Hoffman, Mullen, 15-5; Vladyslav Kazakov, Thompson Valley pinned Anthony Nieto, Erie, 1:46; Sam Turner, Discovery Canyon tech. fall Adam Lee, Denver West, 16-0; Josh Villa, Windsor pinned Terrell Banuelos, Montrose, 2:46; Clay Robinson, Niwot pinned Randen Espinoza, Palisade, 1:20; Darek Huff, Broomfield pinned Abraam Arreguin-Almanz, Mitchell, 2:52.
113 pounds -- Drew Romero, Broomfield dec. Emmanuel Sandoval, Montrose, 10-4; Sage Budd, Mead dec. Davis Baxter, Pueblo South, 7-2; Jesse Ortiz, Frederick dec. Caleb McElfresh, Mitchell, 8-2; Collin Williams, Thompson Valley pinned Jeremiah Gonzales, Pueblo Central, 1:02; Brandon Gonzalez, Mesa Ridge dec. Brandon Rivas, Greeley Central, 9-4; Rylen Thalhammer, Palmer Ridge pinned Matthew Lavengood, Durango, 3:58; Austin Veen, Valor Christian dec. David Brown, Delta, 4-2; Joel Salomon, Windsor pinned Brad Kadlubowski, Lewis-Palmer, 3:47.
120 pounds -- AJ Rees, Discovery Canyon pinned Darian Manzanares, Pueblo Centennial, 1:33; Tylar Francis, Roosevelt pinned Dylan Alvarez, Broomfield, 3:34; Juan Lopez, Northridge maj. dec. Donald Sisneros, Mullen, 16-2; Nick Wittrock, Summit dec. Leon Sanchez, Mesa Ridge, 5-3; Gavril Houston, Elizabeth dec. Domnick Archuleta, Greeley Central, 5-3; Marcus Martinez, Pueblo South dec. Oscar Ruelas, Rifle, 4-2; Aaron Carrera, Pueblo East maj. dec. Levi Gross, Montezuma-Cortez, 9-1; Jonathan Lewis, Windsor maj. dec. Zion Rivera, Thomas Jefferson, 9-1.
126 pounds -- Bobby Amond, Cheyenne Mountain pinned Jeriah Garcia, Denver South, 1:05; Ben Hewson, Thompson Valley pinned Matteo Ambriz, Windsor, 2:57; Jimmy Fate, Berthoud pinned Shane Anderson, Delta, 2:55; Layth Dieyleh, Thomas Jefferson dec. Trenton Fair, Pueblo East, 15-9; Dalton Hannigan, Palisade tech. fall Eloy Valdez, Longmont, 16-0; Jacob Kay, Evergreen dec. Tyler Hanenberg, Air Academy, 6-0; Brandon Aragon, Pueblo Central dec. Keaton Regenor, Discovery Canyon, 2-1; Ian Wingstrom, Ft. Morgan tech. fall Isaac Rider, Rifle, 18-3.
132 pounds -- Tanner Williams, Thompson Valley pinned Nate Butler, Air Academy, 5:47; Alex Kingsley, Berthoud pinned Kenny Ojeda, Thomas Jefferson, 2:54; Joey Lambert, Niwot pinned Tristen Wolf, Conifer, 4:40; Isaac Naro, Pueblo South dec. James Engle, Pueblo Centennial, 7-0; Sonny Espinoza, Pueblo Central pinned Conor Lococo, Windsor, 2:00; Steve Turner, Discovery Canyon pinned Coy Zang, Rifle, 2:30; Travis Myers, Pueblo West dec. Justin Ray, Palisade, 4-3; Brandon Wetsch, Erie pinned Michael Brierton, Palmer Ridge, 1:28.
138 pounds -- Ryan Daves, Montezuma-Cortez pinned Matt McFadden, Cheyenne Mountain, 1:33; Jacob Gerken, Ft. Morgan dec. Tyler Thalhammer, Palmer Ridge, 5-1; Hunter Shively, Conifer dec. Eric Palomino, Northridge, 3-1; Dallas Rohrig, Rifle dec. Erik Romero, Pueblo West, 8-6 OT; Joseph Sisneros, Mullen maj. dec. Matt Combs, Mountain View, 11-3; Parker Simington, Thompson Valley dec. Jayme Wilson, Widefield, 7-3; Matt Sandoval, Montrose dec. Nathaniel Rykerd, Lewis-Palmer, 4-3; Jace Lopez, Roosevelt pinned Noel Estrada, Thomas Jefferson, 1:10.
145 pounds -- Phil Downing, Broomfield pinned Nick Rocha, Pueblo Centennial, :56; Austin Zuniga, Pueblo South dec. Paris Salas, Golden, 6-0; Dominique Hughes, Mesa Ridge pinned William Schell, Erie, 2:17; Dylan Burgett, Elizabeth pinned Trevor Garcia, Palisade, 3:34; Chad Ellis, Berthoud dec. Austin Sethman, Air Academy, 6-2; Kennan Wyatt, Pueblo Central maj. dec. Zach Chavez, Thompson Valley, 10-0; Erik Guy, Palmer Ridge, tech. fall Justice Ramos, Montezuma-Cortez, 15-0; Tyler Oberg, Discovery Canyon dec. Paul Robeson, Greeley Central, 7-2.
152 pounds -- Kennan Willits, Pueblo County pinned Jeremiah Clymer, Mountain View, 3:06; Caleb Miranda, Pueblo Centennial pinned Joe Johnson, Thomas Jefferson, 5:09; Nick Tarpley, Durango dec. Jarod Albo, Broomfield, 3-2; Kennen Lanteri, Windsor maj. dec. Jeremy Jaquess, Sand Creek, 11-3; John Holst, Valor Christian dec. Hunter Brasfield, Delta, 11-4; Jeff Burbach, Discovery Canyon pinned Devin Rothrock, Golden, 4:41; Mark Espinoza, Pueblo South dec. Drake Greeott, Longmont, 15-9; Cody Soulka, Falcon pinned John Leonard, Elizabeth, :50.
160 pounds -- Francisco Marquez, Thompson Valley pinned Connor Orban, Broomfield, 3:34; Spencer Urban, Roosevelt pinned Ricky Ray, Discovery Canyon, 4:53; Ladd Bunker, Erie pinned Mitchel Chavez, Pueblo South, :57; Kyle Soulka, Falcon tech. fall Adam Bryan, Palmer Ridge, 16-1; Thomas Chisholm, Woodland Park dec. Ivan Wolf, Longmont, 4-3; Marcus Velasquez, Montrose pinned Kevin Paredes, Elizabeth, 2:47; Seager Oliver, Montezuma-Cortez pinned Johnny Ray Vallejo, Pueblo Central, 2:34; Vinny Gonzales, Windsor dec. Caleb Smith, Pueblo West, 12-6.
170 pounds -- Adrian Mack, Discovery Canyon pinned Brad Blackstock, Golden, :52; Chandler Montes, Pueblo Central dec. Cole Nielsen, Eagle Valley, 8-1; Chaz Polson, Valor Christian dec. Justin Barron, Falcon, 13-8; Joseph Keller, Windsor pinned Sheldon Berg, Mesa Ridge, 1:49; Josh McLaughlin, Thompson Valley dec. Michael Ibarra, Mullen, 7-1; Caleb Cuneio, Air Academy pinned Fernando Ramos Vega, Longmont, 5:43; Joseph Glenn, Lewis-Palmer dec. Gabe Alvarado, Mead, 6-3; Zach Stodden, Broomfield maj. dec. Justin Barham, Glenwood Springs, 15-3.
182 pounds -- Kyle Couch, Mead pinned Jake Beighey, Green Mountain, :35; Ty LaFramboise, Eagle Valley dec. Tony Molinaro, Pueblo County, 10-4 3OT; Tremell Stanley, Mesa Ridge dec. Alfredo Rosales, Delta, 10-5; Josh Semmler, Roosevelt pinned Dillon Tussey, Conifer, 2:42; Jacob Hawthorne, Vista Ridge tech. fall Braxton Stewart, Palisade, 15-0; Ian Cheatum, Golden pinned Martin Gonzalez, Thomas Jefferson, 2:42; Cosme Martinez, Windsor pinned Luke McAnich, Broomfield, 4:30; Trenton Gustafson, Montezuma-Cortez dec. Anthony Abbott, Canon City, 11-5.
195 pounds -- Garet Krohn, Arvada pinned Toby McBride, Ft. Morgan, 3:09; Ben Self, Air Academy dec. Patton Graff, Thompson Valley, 5-2; Joey Sanchez, Eagle Valley dec. James Garrett, Mesa Ridge, 6-1; Jaime Ramos Vega, Longmont pinned Rhett Hanson, Mullen, 1:43; John Lieder, Pueblo Centennial pinned Devon Strover, Harrison, 5:34; Logan Longworth, Weld Central dec. Pheonix Versey, Palmer Ridge, 8-3; Brandon Brauser, Windsor dec. Demetrius Zissimos, Broomfield, 8-7; David Traynor, Discovery Canyon tech. fall Kyle Collins, Delta, 17-2.
220 pounds -- Andy Armstrong, Eagle Valley pinned Mason Barber, Mountain View, 1:04; Hunter Reinert, Pueblo South pinned Victor Garcia, John F. Kennedy, :21; Connor Eakes, Broomfield dec. DJ Wolski, Vista Ridge, 7-2; Jacob Winter, Windsor pinned Nate Smith, Falcon, 4:56; Garrett Benell, Canon City pinned Brock Howes, Arvada, :55; Damian Garcia, Pueblo Centennial pinned Noah Lennox, Golden, 5:53; Daniel Gustavson, Durango pinned Jorge Cortez, Mead, 1:55; Evan Lancelot, Pueblo Central pinned Kenny Hardwick, Pueblo County, 4:50.
285 pounds -- Dakota Gulley, Golden pinned TreVaughn Hawkins, Denver South, 1:00; Demitrius Miller, Pueblo Centennial dec. Jacob Robles, Pueblo East, 8-7; Tuli Laulu, Sand Creek maj. dec. Marcus Garcia, Delta, 8-0; Austin Harris, Broomfield dec. Chris Palacios, Longmont, 4-1 OT; Jesus Casillas, Montrose dec. Billy Dabney, Cheyenne Mountain, 1-0; Robert Bishop-Cotner, Windsor pinned Tyler Bender, Wheat Ridge, 1:12; Jorge Guerra-Munoz, Greeley Central pinned Zach Rios, Mullen, 5:42; Justin Petrash, Air Academy dec. Matt Isaacs, Thompson Valley, 9-3.