WRESTLERS TO WATCH

Jeremy Ashton, Sr., Mead: The Mavericks senior is a defending regional champion and has his eyes on the prize at the Pepsi Center.

Keegan Bean, Sr., Lyons: Senior has breathed life into the Lions room and he understands that he will have a target on his back after winning it all last season at 182 pounds in Class 2A.

Drake Engelking, Jr., Longmont: Second as a freshman and third last season, the Trojans stud will have a lot to say in his weight class this season.

Darren Green, So., Broomfield: Showed what he was made of in the state semifinals, with a huge comeback to make the finals. Hungry for a title.

Drian Hayes, Sr., Legacy: A two-time state placer, will be an impactful presence in a youthful Legacy room.

Presley Madril, Jr., Broomfield: Had an up-and-down season in 2017, but when he is on the mat, he is one of the more entertaining guys to watch. He should be in the mix.

Parker McQuade, Sr., Monarch: Another one of a deep Coyotes team that figures to be a 5A contender along with Grand Junction and Pomona.

Jose Perez, So., Skyline: He won 29 matches as a freshman and would love to build off that with a deeper state run in February.

Alex Ortiz, Sr., Skyline: Falcons 220 pounder won 40 matches last season but couldn't turn it into a podium finish at state. That will change in 2018.


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Cole Polluconi, Sr., Monarch: A three-time state placer that is eager to make his way to the top of the podium after bowing out in the semifinals last season.

Mason Watt, Sr., Broomfield: The regions premier big man may drop down to 220 pounds for the Eagles, who have depth to make a run at the top five in Class 5A..

Jacob Williams, Sr., Silver Creek: Another one of the areas quality big guys. Williams would love to improve on a sixth place finish at 285 last year in 4A.

Darren Green of Broomfield.
Darren Green of Broomfield. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

POSTSEASON INFORMATION

* All regional tournaments Feb. 9-10.

2A Northeast Region 3 — Local team: Lyons. Location: Northeastern Junior College.

3A Northern Region 2 —- Local team: Holy Family. Location: Eaton High School.

4A Northern Region 3 — Local teams: Erie, Frederick, Longmont, Mead, Skyline,Silver Creek. Location: Northridge High School.

4A South Region 4 — Local teams: Niwot. Location: Golden High School.

5A Region 1 -— Local team: Boulder. Location: Arvada West High School.

5A Region 3 —- Local teams: Centaurus, Fairview, Legacy, Monarch. Location: Poudre High School.

5A Region 4 — Local teams: Broomfield. Location: Broomfield High School.

State tournament — All classifications will be held Feb. 15-17 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

TEAM-BY-TEAM CAPSULES

BOULDER PANTHERS

Coach: Gilbert Espinoza (4th year).

Last year: Did not score at 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Soren Sovendal, (Sr.).

Outlook: Sovendal is the only senior on a Panthers team that includes three juniors, eight sophomores and seven freshmen. "Our goal is to drill, drill, drill, work basic fundamentals and have a great time on our team and qualify a few guys to state."

BROOMFIELD EAGLES

Coach: Pat DeCamillis (5th year).

Last year: Finished 13th at 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Darren Green (So., 132); Presley Madril (Jr., 120-126) Preston Renner (Sr., 160-170); Mason Watt (Sr., 220).

Others to watch: Tyler Carpenter (So., 285); Lucas DeBryune (Jr., 145); Michael DeCamillis (Sr., 285); Christain Lofton (Sr., 145-152); Michael-Dean Quintana (Sr., 138); Bryant Walker (So., 195); Drew Worthley (Sr., 170-182).

Silver Creek’s Jacob Williams.
Silver Creek's Jacob Williams. (Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer)

Outlook: The potential is there. The Eagles always seem to find a way to be in the mix and this season should be no different. They are loaded at the heavier weights and along with Green — who made a brilliant run to the Parade of Champions last season — have a chance to be wrestling on Saturday at the Pepsi Center in February "If the coaches do our job getting the most out of the wrestlers we have, top five at state is possible," Pat DeCamillis said.

CENTAURUS WARRIORS

Coach: Cesar Valenzuela (2nd year).

Last year: Finished 45th at 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Angel Mata (Sr., 182); Nathan Uribes (Jr., 195).

Outlook: Kudos to the Warriors, who continue to test their might against the 5A ranks. Even though the last few years have been thin, the fight is still there and 2017-18 will be no different. "(Our goal) is to keep moving forward and growing as a team. We have multiple captains this year that can lead the team to take big strides this year," said Valnzuela, a Warriors alum. "The help of three returning seniors will carry the team through a long journey and show them the ropes needed to help the young ones."

ERIE TIGERS

Coach: Josh DeSherlia (1st year).

Last year: Finished 21st at 3A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Tanner David (Jr., 140); Zach Roach (Sr., 145); Noah Roper (Jr., 195); Justin Wagner (Fr., 106).

Outlook: The Tigers are young. They lost eight seniors and some others, who decided to not wrestle this season. But first year coach DeSherlia is hopeful his team can pick up were it left off last season, saying: "We have some standout athletes and likely state placers in Noah Roper and Zach Roach, and our incoming freshmen and feeder program are showing dedication, commitment, and a great work ethic."

FAIRVIEW KNIGHTS

Coach: Jim Opperman (2nd year).

Last year: Finished 30th at 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Brock Grandberg (Jr.); Lex Minniear (Jr.); Daniel Torres (Sr.).

Outlook: This is still a young team, but the Knights — especially their junior class — are talented and experienced. The goals are simple for Opperman and his team, and that is to be competitive in duals and build for the end of the season.

FREDERICK WARRIORS

Coach: Joey Gardner (3rd year).

Last year: Finished 36th at 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Jonah Gardner (Jr., 106); Cole Hoffman (Jr., 132); Cruz Jiminez (Jr., 113); Victor Rangel (So., 152); Robby Saldi (Sr., 170); Jonah Sanders (So., 138).

Outlook: Said coach Gardner, whose roster only has two seniors but is loaded with varsity experience: "They have put in a lot of hard work in the offseason and are ready to take that next step. I look forward to watching them make their way to the state podium."

HOLY FAMILY TIGERS

Coach: Nester Pino (3rd year).

Last year: Finished 17th at 3A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Hunter Branson (So., 138); Andrew Edwards (Sr., 285).

Others to watch: None.

Outlook: The Tigers have had that one or two guys that have made podium-type runs over the past few season and this year should be no different with Branson — who finished sixth last season. After Branson and Edwards, Holy Family is young and still trying to find its identity.

LEGACY LIGHTNING

Coach: Mike Thompson (17th year).

Last year: Finished 16th at 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Aidan Funk (Sr., 170); Drian Hays (Sr., 182); Keegan Hoffman (Jr., 113-120); Joey Joiner (So., 126-132); Dakota Key (So., 145-152); Branson Wills (Sr., 195).

Others to watch: Kevin Luker (Jr., 132); Kaeden Rasmussen (So., 126).

Outlook: Said Thompson: "This should be a season full of growth and opportunity for the Legacy wrestlers to prove they are again a top 10 team in the state and start building on the strong tradition that has been built here."

LONGMONT TROJANS

Coach: Matt Engelking (3rd year).

Last year: Finished 13th at 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Drake Engelking (Jr., 160).

Others to watch: Brayden Engelking (So., 152); Jon Nicholas (So., 113); Eric Wagner (So.).

Outlook: Said Matt Engelking, whose sons will be tough to beat this season: "We are still a young team, looking to improve on individual records and individual placing at the regional tournaments."

LYONS LIONS

Coach: Brandon Lohr (2nd year).

Last year: Finished 20th at 2A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Keegan Bean (Sr., 182).

Others to watch: Karson Bean (So., 195); David Gardner (Fr., 132); Oran Huff (Fr., 126).

Outlook: Lohr has reason to be excited and rightfully so, seeing how his numbers have nearly doubled from a year ago. Having a state champion in the room will do that for you. "I am confident that we'll qualify at least four-five guys for state this year. This will be huge progress seeing that we've only qualified one-two wrestlers per year for the past several seasons. We are also looking forward to seeing Keegan Bean finish out his senior year strong as he seeks his second state title," Lohr said.

MEAD MAVERICKS

Coach: Ty Tatham (9th year).

Last year: Finished 16th at 3A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Jeremy Ashton (Sr., 126).

Others to watch: Emilio Chavez (So., 112); Evan Hansen (Sr., 182); Luis Miramontes (Sr., 285).

Outlook: "We are a blend of experience and youth and are looking for competitive growth over the course of the season," Tatham said.

MONARCH COYOTES

Coach: Ezra Paddock (11th year).

Last year: Finished 11th at 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Keegan Feenstra (Jr., 182); Zach Hacker (Jr., 106); Parker McQuade (Sr., 138); Cole Polluconi (Sr., 126); Nate Pritchard (Sr., 160); Xander Rens (Jr., 145); Aidan Quinn (Jr., 113); Alex Scott (Sr., 120).

Others to watch: Trent Brenner (Sr., 182); Vince Cornella (Fr., 106); Ryan Kuykendall (Fr., 113); Justin Powers (Sr., 195-220).

Outlook: With eight returning state qualifiers, a handful of experienced upperclassmen and a few very competitive young guys, "We will be in the hunt for a 5A team title," Paddock said, "We should have several individuals battling for state titles and to be on the podium at the state tournament. Our goal is February, and we have built a very challenging schedule to prepare our kids for the post season."

NIWOT COUGARS

Coach: Bobby Matthews (3nd year).

Last year: Finished 19th at 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Jose Lopez (Sr., 285).

Others to watch: Brandon Barton (Sr.); Saul Escarcega (Sr.); Nathan Hemenway (Sr.); Luis Sosa (So.); Hector Vila (Sr.).

Outlook: Said Matthews, whose group was invigorated by Tommy Stager's state title last season and is looking for big things out of Lopez and Barton: "We have good numbers out this season. This should build competition in the room. I think having that will help us compete better at duals and as a team in tournaments. We wrestle a tough schedule so the lack of experience is going to be our biggest weakness. I think if we work hard and really grind we can compete and get some guys down to state."

SILVER CREEK RAPTORS

Coach: John Finkbiner (3rd year).

Last year: Finished 27st at 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Jacob Williams (Sr., 285).

Others to watch: None.

Outlook: Said Finkbiner: "We have a good group of incoming freshman and some very tough returners. We are all excited to get season rolling and to see this group accomplish their goals."

SKYLINE FALCONS

Coach: Mike Silva (2nd year).

Last year: Finished 32nd at 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Ricky Childers (Jr.); Alex Ortiz (Sr.); Jose Perez (Sr.).

Others to watch: Grayden Bridwell (Fr.); Isaac Hesse (So.); Drew Sandoval (Fr.); Caden Silva (So.).

Outlook: The Falcons have the depth to be a serious threat to the top 10 in Class 4A at the state tournament. That being said, the three returners — Childers, Ortiz and Perez — have to block out what happened to them last year at the Pepsi Center and bounce back with a vengeance.

Jon Yunt: yuntj@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/JonEYunt