DENVER — Legacy senior Aidan Funk has had the ultimate training partner all week leading up to the Class 5A state wrestling tournament.
It was just two short years ago that his older brother Nolan, he of the awesome hair, made it all the way to the finals at the Pepsi Center and marched in the Parade of Champions on Saturday night.
On Friday night, Aidan matched his brothers accomplishment of making the finals with an impressive 6-5 victory over Grand Junction's Jay Skalecki and will have a chance to one up his older sibling when he takes on Adams City's Christian Rowell in the 170 pound final.
"This feels amazing, especially after last year," said Aidan Funk, who has all but wiped out the memory of an ultimate tiebreaker loss last year in the semifinals. "It has been motivation up to this point, but this is a new state tournament and you just have to move on."
Against Skalecki, Funk fell down early 4-1 on two first period takedowns. But the mark of a true champion, especially this time of year, is their conditioning and ability to turn it on in the latter moments of the biggest matches.
Funk did just that, returning the favor in the second period with two takedowns of his own and leveling the match at 5-5 going to the final two minutes.
Funk would get his escape from the down position early on and then hold on against a tired and desperate Skalecki.
"I knew if I could hang with him and my cardio would win out," said Aidan Funk, whose older sibling wrestles at South Dakota State. "Tonight I'll get lots of rest and mentally prepare myself, because that is about all you can do at this point."
Also moving on to the finals was Monarch 106-pound freshman Vince Cornella. He got all he could handle from the bigger Max Black of Douglas County, whom he was more than familiar with, scoring the decisive escape point at the buzzer to win 5-4.
"I just knew I had to get away and that was the only thing on my mind," said Cornella, who gave up the lone takedown of the match with 10 second left to tie the match 4-4. "This is what I've trained for and I'm real excited for the chance."
Cornella, who attends Peak to Peak, will face Pomona's Wyatt Yapoujian in the finals. The Panthers sophomore beat him 1-0 in California at the Doc Buchanan Invite and then Cornella returned the favor 8-2 in the semifinals of the Top of the Rockies on his way to the title there.
Broomfield senior Mason Watt recorded his third straight pin on the way to the finals, taking down Pomona's Doug Mills in 3 minutes, 17 seconds.
The Eagles senior will take on Grand Junction Hunter Tobiasson in the 220 pound final on Saturday night. Watt pinned him in the semifinals at Top of the Rockies last month.
It was a tough night for the rest of the BoCo crew, one that was nine deep in the semifinals. Maybe the toughest pill to swallow was Monarch senior Cole Polluconi, who lost 2-1 to Pomona's Colton Yapoujian. The difference was a bizarre stalling call early in the third period.