LAFAYETTE — Warrior, competitor, top contender — earning an individual Top of the Rockies title speaks volumes about a wrestler. But what does a team title say?
From Connor Eakes’ perspective, the statement of a squad able to endure the prestigious multi-state tournament’s twist and turns is a bold one. And Broomfield’s 220-pounder shared a little secret after escaping Friday’s opening two rounds unscathed: The Class 4A second-ranked Eagles plan to be that team.
“We’ve been talking about bring the title back to Colorado,” the senior said. “And I like where we’re at right now in that process.”
There should be little surprise at Eakes’ optimism heading into Saturday’s quarterfinals. The Eagles more than proved they are contenders in the tournament, keeping eight wrestlers alive in the championship brackets and finishing Friday in third-place as a team with 71 points. Defending tournament champion Grand Island (Neb.) leads after the first day with 86 points, and Thompson Valley is second at 78.
Even with a strong head start, Joe Pereira is not calling Broomfield’s first Top of the Rockies title pinned by a long shot. The Eagles coach points out there is too much talent in the brackets to take anything for granted.
“And there is probably somebody else out there that I don’t even know about,” Pereira said.
The coach is confident his team has put in the work to be in contention, pointing to the numerous tournaments around the country the Eagles have competed in this season. But Pereira hardly believes his wrestlers hunting down individual titles will be enough to reap a team championship.
“We still have five guys (in the consolations Friday) that need to do their work,” the coach said.
The Eagles have plenty of work in front of them, but they proved plenty in Friday. The team came up with nine pins, three tech falls and three major decisions in the opening two rounds of the championship brackets.
Even with the potential to make a statement with a run at the tournament’s title, the Eagles wrestlers believe there are bigger fish to fry.
“This will show us where we’re at and a title would be great,” Broomfield 106-pounder Darek Huff said. “But the main goal is always state.”
While Broomfield was busy proving its regional mettle, another local team was in the process of making different kinds of ripples in the tournament. Holy Family might have entered the tournament overlooked, but has set up to make a name for itself.
The first-year Top of the Rockies competitors pushed four wrestler to today’s quarterfinals in convincing fashion. Each of the Tigers still shooting for titles won each of their matches via pin. One of the most dominating performances came from Julian Prieto.
The 126-pounder finished the day by pinning Rocky Mountain’s Kyler Schmidt in 2:30, but the fall paled compared to how the sophomore started his day. Prieto devastated Mensah Ollowy, putting the Omaha (Neb.) North wrestler in the consolation brackets in 34 seconds.
“I was a pretty good day,” he said. “I was a little sloppy with my shots, though.”
If the Tigers continue to wrestle the way they did Friday, coach Joe Domko believes it could lead up to an impressive finish Saturday. And to Domko, that might be a coup for a team looking to take the next step.
“This tournament is a whole different level for us,” he said. “We talk about being fortunate to have opportunities like this and letting the rest fall where it may. And things have fallen into place for us.”
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.
Correction: Broomfield had wrestlers advance to the quarterfinals.
Top of the Rockies Invitational
At Centaurus HS
Team scores — Grand Island 86, Thompson Valley 78, Broomfield 71, Pomona 69, Rio Rancho 62.5; Rocky Mountain 56.5; Omaha North 51; Mountain Range 45, Ponderosa 44.5, Brighton 43; Greeley West 43; Valley 40.5; Pueblo South 40; Arvada West 38.5; Roosevelt 38; Fort Lupton 35.5; Cheyenne Central 33; Durango 33; Holy Family 33; Alamosa 32; Legacy 31; Loveland 31; Prairie View 29; Cherry Creek 28.5; Scottsbluff 28.5; Windsor 27; Fort Morgan 25; Grand Junction Central 24; Denver East 16; Mead 11.5; Sheridan 11; Arvada 8; Centaurus 2.
LOCAL FIRST-ROUND MATCHES
106 — Blake Coen, Grand Island, major dec. Adonis Jarmillo, Cntaurus, 12-2; Ryan Deakin , Legacy, bye; Darek Huff, Broomfield, pin Gabe Sandoval, Arvada West, 2:47.
113 — Drew Romero, Broomfield, pin Keynan Davis, Prairie View, 3:10; Vincent Casados, Holy Family, bye; Ben Medina, Fort Lupton, pin Andre Jaramillo, Centaurus, 1:10; Donovan Cogil, Legacy, pin Andy Bain, Fort Morgan, 1:00; Ruban Lucero, Valley, def. Sage Budd, Mead, 4-2.
120 — Tyler Francis, Roosevelt, pin Trenton Blazon, Legacy, 2:49; Dylan Alvarez, Broomfield, pin Kyle Martinez, Grand Junction Central, :49.
126 — Zach Moye, Ponderosa, pin Arturo Chaparro, Centaurus, :40; James Wells, Broomfield, bye; Justin Rheinheimer, Legacy, pin Dustin Hayden, Roosevelt, 2:36; Ray Bacca, Brighton, def. Austin Van Hooker, Mead, 5-3; Joseph Prieto, Holy Family, pin Ben Hewson, Thompson Valley, 5:04.
132 — Bryce Meredith, Cheyenne Cental, tech fall Adam Otterson, Legacy, 17-3; Randal Baker, Broomfield, tech fall Cristian Cortez, Mead, 20-4; Devon Zavala, Denver East, pin Matt Pardoe, Holy Family, 1:54.
138 — DeeCelreyell Shabazz, Cherry Creek, pin Justice Lovato, Mead, 3:01; Bobby Klob, Broomfield, bye; Brandon Heredia, Alamosa, tech fall Nolan Funk, Legacy, 15-0.
145 — Phil Downing, Broomfield, bye; Anthony Mozal, Valley, pin Mackenzie Porter, Holy Family, 2:49; KaiJahn Henry, Omaha North, pin Cole Randall, Legacy, 2:41; Justin Montoya, Centaurus, def. Xavier Martinez, Denver East, 15-8.
152 — Ethan Wright, Pomona, pin Chris Pechak, Legacy, 3:55; Michael Fanning, Rocky Mountain, maj. dec. Hugo Ramirez, Mead, 12-2; Charles Dunkleman, Loveland, pin Robert Jahn, Centaurus, 1:03; Jarod Albo, Broomfield, maj. dec. Mark Espinoza, Pueblo South, 8-0.
160 — Chris Shiver, Fort Morgan, pin Marco Clark, Mead, 5:15; Joel Geers, Mountain Range, def. Connor Orban, Broomfield, 8-1; Connor Casady, Legacy, bye.
170 — Zach Stodden, Broomfield, bye; Mat Stinson, Mead, bye.
182 — Kyle Couch, Mead, bye; David Eusea, Thompson Valley, def. Theo Robison, Broomfield, 9-2; Trevor Smart, Pueblo South, pin Ben Lavoie, Holy Family, 1:20; Hunter Pasternack, Cherry Creek, pin Mark Gjestvang, Legacy, 3:07.
220 — Austin Ramos, Valley, pin Michael Steele, Centaurus, :59; D.J. Zissimos, Broomfield, pin Andrew Dimmit, Roosevelt, 1:16; York Douglass, Ponderosa, pin Joel Meyer, Holy Family, 1:02.
285 — Daniel Jansen, Holy Family, bye; Skylar McWee, Legacy, pin Daniel Chavez, Pomona, :50; Connor Eakes, Broomfield, pin Andres Martinez, Grand Junction Central, 3:58; Jorge Cortez, Mead, bye.
LOCAL SECOND-ROUND MATCHES
106 — Ryan Deakin, Legacy, pin Ferdinando Martinez, Fort Lupton, 1:30; Darek Huff, Broomfield, maj. dec. Tony Balderas, Brighton, 17-8.
113 — Drew Romero, Broomfield, tech fall Collin Williams, Thompson Valley, 20-5; Vincent Casados, pin Ben Medina, Fort Lupton, 3:51; Travis Torres, Pomona, tech fall Donovan Cogil, Legacy, 23-3.
120 — Ladigo Williams, Rio Rancho, pin Dylan Alvarez, Brooomfield, 2;24; Julian Prieto, Holy Family, pin, Kyler Schmidt, Rocky Mountain, 2:30.
126 — James Wells, Broomfield, pin Justin Rheinheimer, Legacy, 5:57; Joseph Prieto, Holy Family, pin Santiago Salazar, Rio Rancho, 1:18.
132 — Tanner Williams, Thompson Valley, pin Randal Baker, Broomfield, 3:40.
138 — Luis Bejarano, Prairie View, pin Bobby Klob, Broomfield, 2:52.
145 — Phil Downing, Broomfield, pin Anthony Mozal, Valley, 2:40; Alec Watt, Prairie View, pin Justin Montoya, Centaurus, :27.
152 — Randy Boerner, Mountain Range, maj. dec. Jarod Albo, Broomfield, 9-0.
160 — Connor Casady, Legacy, pin Patrick Gore, Valley, 2:40.
170 — Zach Stodden, Broomfield, maj. dec. Zach Gomez, Pomona, 9-0; Tony Silva-Bussey, Arvada West, pin Mat Stinson, Mead, 1:09.
182 — Kyle Couch, Mead, tech fall Everett Collins, Valley, 20-3.
195 — D.J. Zissimos, Broomfield, pin Jordana McKnight, Durango, 1;03.
220 — Daniel Jansen, Holy Family, pin Kody Kleman, Mountain Range, 1:26; Connor Eakes, Broomfield, injury default Skylar McWee, Legacy; Austin Seeba, Loveland, def. Jorge Cortez, 5-3.
285 — Tony Martinez, Rocky Mountain, pin Willy Clements, Holy Family, 2:15; Austin Harris, Broomfield, pin Michael Decker, Omaha North, 3:05.