LOVELAND — Austyn Harris didn’t quite make it all the way to the top of the awards stand on Saturday night, but the Broomfield senior wrestler was pretty happy with where he stood after the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament had finished up at the Budweiser Events Center.
The same could be said for the Eagles as a unit, as Broomfield ended up taking third place as a team at the prestigious annual event — held at the BEC for the first time.
Harris, the Eagles’ heavyweight wrestler ranked No. 3 in Class 4A by On the Mat, knew he was going to get something out of the day whether he finished as a title-holder or not. He knew coming in to the morning session he was going to get a crack at Class 5A’s No. 1, Dane Drimmer of Chapparal, and possibly the No. 2-ranked wrestler in the large-school classification, Mountain Range’s Jorge Rodriguez.
It turned out as he hoped, as he beat Drimmer by decision, 4-2, in the semifinals before falling to Rodriguez in the finals, 5-0. For Harris, there was nothing like closing the pre-break slate wrestling against the best.
“It’s always good. I know I’m not going to wrestle (5A competition) at state, but they’re real good,” Harris said. “It’s good to get some good matches in, especially with them because you know you can compete. They don’t take anything lightly.
“We definitely have work to do, and I think everyone on our team has something they can work on. But I’m definitely confident in our team’s ability.”
The BHS contingency in the finals was strong, including perhaps the most anticipated final of the night at 160 pounds. There, Phil Downing went up against Windsor’s Kennen Lanteri — pitting two defending state champs against each other. Downing worked ahead on the scoreboard early, eventually riding out a 7-0 victory and further cementing his No. 1 ranking at 152.
Downing finished a pristine record with four pins, and he used Saturday’s match to scout who he feels may be a future opponent.
“I just made sure I stayed focused on the things that were given to me, and to take advantage of his mistakes,” he said. “This is a stepping stone to see where I’m at, and that’s a kid probably I’d have in the state finals so I was able to see if I need to train more or not. I want a higher-scoring match, so I definitely have more work to do.”
Zach Stodden won a second title for the Eagles at 182 pounds with a pin of Bennett’s Kory Hudson in the second period. Altogether, the Eagles finished with 189 points, behind only 5A Cherry Creek (202) and 4A Thompson Valley (199.5).
“This tournament was the last thing of our first season, and so we’ll get it going this next semester and hopefully we’ll get on a run,” said Broomfield coach Pat DeCamillis, whose team was coming off a solid showing at the Ironman Tournament in Ohio. “Austyn wrestled really well this weekend, and boy, he’s a competitor. All the guys did a good job, and we might have left some points out there. We’ll be okay.”
The Eagles wrapped up a few titles, but they weren’t alone among the BoCoPreps.com area schools. Legacy’s Ryan Deakin rang up a first-place standing and improved to 20-0 by beating Class 4A No. 1-ranked Josh Villa of Windsor, a 7-1 decision that was never close.
In Deakin, Legacy coach Mike Thompson has seen an entirely different wrestler over the course of the first month of 2013.
“He wasn’t going to be satisfied unless he won this tournament,” Thompson said, his Lightning team finishing 30th with 73 points. “This year is different, and I think kids have to wrestle to him this year. Last year, he finished on a high note and he hasn’t stopped. He’s at a point, though, where I don’t think he’s wondering how to wrestle other kids as much as how he’s going to beat other kids. He’s not worried about what other kids are going to bring to the mat.”
Winning titles early on certainly feels good, but most wrestlers have it in mind to keep getting better no matter where they stand before Christmas. Boulder’s Martin Selby and Fairview’s Melvin Gutierrez certainly had that mentality after finishing in fifth place and eighth place, respectively, in their individual weight classes.
Selby helped Boulder score 47 points as a team, battling through two tight matches to finish fifth. His semifinal against Cheyenne South (Wyo.) wrestler Daniel Hammond went to an ultimate tie-break — Hammond moved on by riding out the final 30 seconds of a third overtime — and then went into overtime again against Thompson Valley’s Jake Schwarz, this time winning by a 9-7 count.
“My semifinal match was very frustrating and I learned a lot from it,” Selby said. “This final match, it came up a lot faster than I thought it would — I ate too much beforehand and didn’t feel great. But I came back, and I ended with a five-point throw that I learned from a lot of Greco and freestyle offseason training.”
Gutierrez, ranked sixth in 5A at 138 pounds, lost to Brandon Aragon (Pueblo South) in the seventh-place match. But he remained confident after battling back from a first-round upset on Friday.
“Coming back in the bracket is huge for me. It’s a 52-man bracket, so I’m happy with where I am right now,” Gutierrez said. “Some of these other kids are going to be sitting around, watching TV (during the break). For me, winter break is coming, and I’ve got to start working.”
Fairview’s Cito Balsells also finished eighth at 182 pounds, helping the Knights to 36 points. Holy Family finished with 79.5 points, with Julian Prieto taking third place at 130 pounds and Joseph Prieto wrapping up fifth place at 138.
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Old Chicago NCCT
At Budweiser Events Center
Team scores — Cherry Creek 202, Thompson Valley 199.5, Broomfield 189, Mountain Range 172, Valley 164.5, Centauri 164, Rio Rancho 157.5, Cleveland (N.M.) 153, Pueblo County 151.5, Chaparral 140.5, Windsor 140, Discovery Canyon 124, Pueblo Central 115.5 Elizabeth 113, Erie 111, Coronado 107, Regis Jesuit 107, Cheyenne Central 105.5, Lakewood 100, Lewis Palmer 95.5, Mountain View 93, Fossil Ridge 92, Greeley West 88.5, Longmont 81.5, Abraham Lincoln 81, Holy Family 79.5, Dumas 79, Adams City 76.5, Cheyennne South 74, Legacy 73, Berthoud 72.5, Brighton 72.5, Eaglecrest 72.5, Greeley Central 72.5, Bennett 70.5, Highland 68, Golden 62, Castle View 61.5, Prairie View 58, Fort Collins 57, Doherty 54.5, Stasburg 53, Laramie 51, Eaton 50, Middle Park 48, Boulder 47, Liberty 46, Platte Valley 45, Loveland 44, Northridge 42.5, Robertson 42.5, Niwot 42, Northglenn 39.5, Fairview 36, Thornton 36, Woodland Park 35.5, Jefferson 35, University 32.5, Palmer Ridge 30, Silver Creek 25.5, Columbine 23, Chatfield 22, Legend 22, Holyoke 19, Conifer 18, Denver North 15, Thomas Jefferson 10.
106 — Louie Romero, Mountain Range, tech. fall Gabriel Gray, Rio Rancho, 2:37.
113 — Ryan Deakin, Legacy, dec. Josh Villa, Windsor, 7-1.
120 — Chris Sandoval, Pueblo County, dec. Gav. Houston, Elizabeth, 7-3.
126 — Richard Montoya, Robertson, dec. Mitch Finesilver, Cherry Creek, 5-4.
132 — Hunter Willits, Pueblo County, dec. Jess Hankin, Coronado, 6-4.
138 — Bryce Meredith, Cheyenne Central, tech. fall, Zach Finesilver, Cherry Creek, 16-1.
145 — Parker Simington, Thompson Valley, maj. dec. Seth Rosales, Abraham Lincoln, 12-3.
152 — Tyler Oberg, Discovery Canyon, dec. Daniel Hammond, Cheyenne South, 3-1.
160 — Phil Downing, Broomfield, dec. Kennen Lanteri, Windsor, 7-0.
170 — Mason Harms, Cherry Creek, dec. Jackson Wright, Valley, 14-2.
182 — Zach Stodden, Broomfield, fall Kory Hudson, Bennett, 3:08.
195 — Jareb Aziz, Centauri, sv-1, Payton Tapia, Fossil Ridge, 3-1.
220 — Grant Neal, Regis Jesuit, dec. Evan Lancelot, Pueblo Central, 5-3.
285 — Jorge Rodriguez, Mountain Range, dec. Austyn Harris, Broomfield, 5-0.
Local third-place matches
126 — Darek Huff, Broomfield, dec. Dylan West, Greeley West, 1-0; 132 — Julian Prieto, Holy Family, pin. Riley Thomas, Fort Collins, 4:38; 145 — Brandon Wetsch, Erie, pin. Jesse Nieto, Cleveland, 1:52; 195 — David Traynor, Discovery Canyon, dec. Jaime Ramos Vega, Longmont, 12-5.
Local fifth-place matches
138 — Joseph Prieto, Holy Family, dec. Matt Combs, Mountain View, 6-0; 152 — Martin Selby, Boulder, dec. Jake Schwarz, Thompson Valley, 9-7; 170 — Ladd Bunker, Erie, pin. Lucas Chieppo, Thompson Valley, 2:47.
Local seventh-place matches
138 — Brandon Aragon, Pueblo Central, major dec. Melvin Gutierrez, Fairview, 11-3; 170 — Fernando Ramos Vega, Longmont, dec. John Jordan, Bennett, 6-3; 182 — Hunter Pasternack, Cherry Creek, dec. Cito Balsells, Fairview, 7-0.