FREDERICK — At Saturday's Frederick Invitational wrestling tournament, Victor Rangel had so many different things on his mind that he couldn't focus on one at any given time.
That myriad of distractions threatened to derail the day's objective.
One week prior, Rangel couldn't cut enough weight to get down from 160 pounds to 152 and had to sit out the Gary Daum Classic, which was a disappointment that he felt needed to be rectified. The Frederick junior also injured his knee during his first match at the Frederick Invitational, which made him want to offset the potentially-serious injury with success. The tournament is also his team's host invite and the desire to defend his home turf was a given, but also a source of pressure considering his standing among the team's top wrestlers.
Rather than dwell on each individually, Rangel chose to absorb all of those nagging thoughts at once into a single ball of motivation. Then he expended it all and let it rip when he hit the mats, going 4-0 and winning the 152-pound championship.
"I've got to represent my school and represent Christ, and I think I did a good job of that today," Rangel said. "Missing the tournament last weekend stinks, especially since I was cutting. But it is what it is. Then hurting my knee, I had to kind of work around that in the finals. Overall, it was a good day. I'm feeling very confident so far and way better than last year. I'm going for top three at state, at least, and today helped show me I can get it done."
In the finals, Rangel, who is the 10th-ranked Class 4A 152-pounder in Tim Yount's latest On the Mat Rankings, pinned Northglenn's Alex Diaz in 3 minutes, 28 seconds. Defeating Diaz, who is a top-15 wrestler in 5A, gave Rangel added confidence that he will be able to place at state after going 1-1 at the Pepsi Center last winter.
Rangel's title also helped earn a third-place team finish for the Frederick Warriors, who had eight total top-four placers on Saturday including a runner-up finish from 132-pounder Cole Hoffman. Loveland won the team title with 172.5 team points, Northglenn was second with 166 and Frederick ended up with 156 points.
"We had the lead there until the break, so that was cool," Frederick head coach Joey Gardner said. "The kids wrestled tough. We've got a lot of seniors this year and I still want those seniors to win those one-point matches, not lose them. We've still got a lot of work to do but we're going in the right direction. This is our third third-place trophy this year so we'll be happy with that for a while as long as we keep wrestling tough and putting up points."
Erie sophomore Rudy Lopez, who was voted Most Oustanding Wrestler by the participating teams' coaches, was another wrestler with something extra to celebrate after he won the 120-pound title with a first-round pin of Riverdale Ridge's Drake Kiefer. Lopez was especially fired up coming off the mat following his victory in the title match, emphatically high-fiving his coaches and teammates and not because he's ranked sixth in 4A at 120s.
"My girlfriend was watching," Lopez said. "She's always out there but this one was special because I won. Plus all my teammates, who push me in the room, were cheering me on. My goal is to be on the podium in the top three at state and I didn't place last year so I'm coming for revenge."
Lopez's teammate Witt Unruh also won his weight class — pinning Northridge's Cort Cunningham in 5:21 to claim the 160-pound title — and the Tigers were fifth in the team scoring.
Skyline was ninth as a team behind sophomore Grayden Bridwell's runner-up finish at 128 pounds and senior Ricky Childers (4A No. 2) taking third after losing to Northglenn's Trenton Suazo (5A No. 9) in the semifinals.
The Boulder Panthers had a pair of runner-up finishers in freshman Joey Airola (106) and Thoren (170), and placed 11th as a team.
At Frederick. H.S.
Team scores — Loveland 172.5, Northglenn 166, Frederick 156, Mesa Ridge 148.5, Greeley Central 124, Erie 120.5, Ralston Valley 119, Mountain Range 93, Skyline 91, Northridge 89, Boulder 82, Air Academy 81.5, Strasburg 44, Niwot 41, Riverdale Ridge 37, Golden 32, George Washington 19, Silver Creek 18, Standley Lake 12
106 — Kobi Johnson, Loveland, maj. dec. Joey Airola, Boulder, 11-3.
113 — Cody Thompson, Loveland, pinned Johnathon Herrera, Northglenn, 1:32.
120 — Rudy Lopez, Erie, pinned Drake Kiefer, Riverdale Ridge, 1:43.
126 — Isaac Lujan, Loveland, dec. Gustavo Fonseca-Walker, Erie, 4-0.
132 — Bailey Badwound, Air Academy, pinned Cole Hoffman, Frederick, 1:34.
138 — Colton Doyle, Mesa Ridge, dec. Grayden Bridwell, Skyline, 6-0.
145 — Cody Donovan, Loveland, dec. Colton Frost-Bryant, Ralston Valley, 7-2.
152 — Victor Rangel, Frederick, pinned Alex Diaz, Northglenn, 3:28.
160 — Witt Unruh, Erie, pinned Cort Cunningham, Northridge, 5:21.
170 — Kenneth Guinn, Mesa Ridge, dec. Theron Sovndal, Boulder, 9-5.
182 — Brady Badwound, Air Academy, maj. dec. Michael Serna, Greeley Central, 18-7.
195 — Jared Volcic, Mesa Ridge, maj. dec. Cody Solis, Greeley Central, 17-6.
220 — Carlos Flores, Northglenn, pinned Cole Jesch, Ralston Valley, 1:23.
285 — Sean Adams, Ralston Valley, pinned Trenton Suazo, Northglenn, 4:49.
106 — Clay Alexander, Northridge, pinned Jonah Gardner, Frederick, 1:57.
113 — Kyle Lewis, Mountain Range, pinned, Kole Young, Frederick, 4:11.
120 — Gabe Carillo, Frederick, dec. Josiah Trujillo, Ralston Valley, 7-3.
126 — Cody Ayres, Frederick, dec. Chris Faber, Golden, 7-1.
132 — Andrew Sandoval, Skyline, pinned Dante Heimdale, Northglenn, 2:12.
138 — Logan Rangel, Frederick, dec. Lawson Hayman, Loveland, 10-8.
145 — Isaiah Brown, Mesa Ridge, pinned Zander Alirez, Greeley Central, 0:52.
152 — Nathan Horsley, Ralston Valley, dec. Keith Hemmenway, Niwot, 9-2.
160 — Yahir Chairez-Salazar, Greeley Central, dec. Silas Valdez, Mesa Ridge, 6-0.
170 — Blake Coombs, Strasburg, dec. Lorenzo Maestas, Mountain Range, 10-9.
182 — Niko Suragdeen, Mesa Ridge, pinned TR Kindvall, Frederick, 4:56.
195 — Isaac Hesse, Skyline, dec. Israel Campa, Northridge, 7-2.
220 — Brune Armstrong, Mountain Range, dec. Chad Sutherland, Strasburg, 6-1.
285 — Ricky Childers, Skyline, pinned Chris Marques, Mountain Range, 2:04.