LAFAYETTE — The field at the annual Top of the Rockies wrestling tournament is so tough each year that just winning a match is a feat unto itself, even when the tournament is in your home gym.
For the Centaurus wrestling team, which hosts the loaded tournament full of regional powers, the 2015 Top of the Rockies was a tough as ever. Two of the Warriors wrestlers, however, stood up well enough to leave with .500 records.
Those Warriors were 160-pounder Justin Montoya and 220-pounder Michael Steele.
“Montoya looked really good,” Warriors head coach Donald Gonzales said. “He battled the kid from Mountain Range really good. That was a takedown match and it came down to the wire. Michael Steele is competitive and he can battle with anyone. It’s just a matter now of figuring out a way to beat some of these kids.”
Both Montoya and Steele finished the two-day gauntlet with 2-2 records.
Still a sophomore, Montoya (23-9) lost a 5-4 decision in the first round to Ponderosa’s Tyler Turco, who went on to place sixth at 160 pounds. Montoya went on to win his next two consolation matches before falling 9-5 in the consolation pre-quarters to Mountain Range’s Patrick Romero, who ended up placing fifth.
Steele (24-7), a senior, won his first two matches before he was pinned in the championship quarterfinals to Mountain Range’s Brandon Forney, who placed fifth at 220 pounds. Steele’s tournament run also ended in the consolation pre-quarters with a 3-2 loss to Grand Island’s (NE) Allen Svoboda.
“We did about what I thought we would do,” Gonzales said. “The guys were battling and got a little experience against some good guys. We didn’t really have any surprises because what we’ve been seeing in the wrestling room translated pretty well onto the mat.”
Also for the Warriors, 106-pounder Chance Anderson, 113-pounder Victor Herrera, 145-pounder Angel Mata and 170-pounder Luis Alonso all finished with 0-2 records.
The Warriors finished 32nd out of 32 teams in the overall team scoring with 11 team points.
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Top of the Rockies
At Centaurus H.S.
Team scores — Pomona 163.5, Arvada West 162.5, Thompson Valley 138, Rio Rancho NM, 128.5, Rocky Mountain 123, Omaha North NE 108, Ponderosa 100, Grand Island NE 92, Legacy 90, Brush 89, Brighton 86, Pueblo County 80.5, Mountain Range 76, Holy Family 74, Fort Lupton 72.5, Chaparral 72, Cherry Creek 71, Broomfield 67, Franklin TX 67, Alamosa 66.5, Fort Morgan 63, Pueblo South 62.5, Cheyenne East WY 53, Palo Verde NV 52, Grandview 50, Scottsbluff NE 48, Roosevelt 40, Greeley West 29.5, Cheyenne Central WY 28, Grand Junction Central 27, Kelly Walsh WY 26, Mead 19, Centaurus 11.
106 — Hunter Matney, Ponderosa, dec. Isaiah De La Cerda, Alamosa, 1-0.
113 — Tomas Gutierrez, Pomona, dec. Grant Willits, Pueblo County, 6-4 (OT).
120 — Travis Torres, Pomona, pinned Keegan Hessler, Scottsbluff (NE), 3:01.
126 — Ryan Deakin, Legacy, dec. Conrad Cole, Brush, 7-1.
132 — Matt Finesilver, Cherry Creek, dec. Jason Romero, Pomona, 8-2.
138 — Julian Prieto, Holy Family, dec. Collin Williams, Thompson Valley, 5-3.
145 — Orlando Gutierrez, Rio Rancho (NM), dec. Isaac Naro, Pueblo South, 3-1.
152 — Payton Tawater, Arvada West, dec. Ben Hewson, Thompson Valley, 8-3.
160 — Miguel Barreras, Rio Rancho (NM), dec. Ty Jackson, Omaha North (NE), 7-1.
170 — Billy Thompson, Grand Island (NE), dec. Taylor Bergquist, Arvada West, 3-1.
182 — Cameron Gonzales, Pomona, dec. Konnor Schmidt, Rocky Mountain, 6-4.
195 — Tevis Bartlett, Cheyenne East (WY), pinned Alex Jimenez, Franklin (TX), 4:32.
220 — Devin Rothrock, Arvada West, pinned Jacob Ornelas, Fort Lupton, 0:25.
285 — Dane Drimmer, Chaparral, dec. DeValon Whitcomb, Omaha North (NE), 4-2.
Local third-place matches
126 — Darek Huff, Broomfield, maj. dec. Dakota Lacy, Fort Lupton, 9-0.
145 — Danny Murphy, Rocky Mountain, maj. dec. Joseph Prieto, Holy Family, 11-2.
182 — Matt Hebel, Legacy, dec. Tavien DeBerry-Pope, Omaha North (NE), 5-0.
Local fifth-place matches
113 — Mogan Fogg, Thompson Valley, dec. Brandon Tyson, Broomfield, 5-2.
126 — Jesse Ortiz, Mead, dec. Ivan Valenzuela, Franklin (TX), 4-3.
145 — Matt Berg, Thompson Valley, maj. dec. Randall Baker, Broomfield, 11-0.
285 — Willy Clements, Holy Family, dec. Joe Carwin, Brush, 8-4.