LAFAYETTE — Holy Family’s Julian Prieto isn’t interested in resting on his laurels after nearly winning a state championship in 2014. He’s determined to improve at all cost.
With that in mind, the Tigers’ senior 138-pounder was looking for an opponent who would test his limits at the Top of the Rockies wrestling tournament on Saturday. He found that opponent in Thompson Valley’s Collin Williams, who is currently ranked second in Class 4A by Tim Yount’s On the Mat rankings.
In the championship match at Centaurus High School on Saturday night, Prieto won his first Top of the Rockies title by breaking a third-round tie for a 5-3 decision over Williams. It was the test he had hoped for.
“That was easily my toughest match all year,” said Prieto, last year’s 3A state runner-up at 132 pounds. “We both just had a will to not lose. It was obvious that we both came in and our goal was to be a champion. We were both competing for that one goal and the entire time it was just my will against his.”
Prieto (27-1), who is ranked second in 3A, finished fourth at 132 pounds at last year’s Top of the Rockies. This year’s close victory, and the three quality pins that preceded it, left Prieto feeling even better about his chances to claim a state title.
“I’m really focused on state at this point,” Prieto said. “This is a big confidence booster for that, knowing that no one in 3A can stop me if I just keep moving forward and keep my focus.”
Julian Prieto’s brother Joseph Prieto (24-6) placed fourth at 145, losing 11-2 to Rocky Mountain’s Danny Murphy. Holy Family’s senior heavyweight Willy Clements (25-4) placed fifth. The defending 3A 138-pound champ defeated Brush’s Joe Carwin 8-4 in the fifth-place match.
The Tigers placed 14th as a team with 74 points. Pomona won with 163.5.
Led by 2014’s 113-pound 5A state champion Ryan Deakin, the Legacy Lightning placed ninth with 90 points.
In the 126-pound title match, Deakin (33-1) won a 7-1 decision over 2013 3A state champion Conrad Cole from Brush. It was a 2-0 decision over Broomfield’s Darek Huff, however, that was Deakin’s toughest test of the tournament.
“This is always a tough tournament and a good test at this time before the state tournament,” Deakin said. “My semifinals match was the toughest. Darek and I are good buddies and we’ve wrestled together since we were around eight years old. He’s a great wrestler.”
Legacy 182-pounder Matt Hebel (28-6) placed third, winning a 5-0 decision over Omaha North’s Tavien DeBerry-Pope in the third-place match.
Huff (30-4), who placed second in Class 4A at 126 last year, ended up defeating Fort Lupton’s Dakota Macy 9-0 for third place at 126 pounds.
“I felt like I could have done a little better,” Huff said. “I would have really liked if me and Deakin could have been on opposite sides of the bracket and met in the finals but that’s how it goes, I guess.”
Broomfield junior Brandon Tyson (26-6) placed sixth at 113, losing to 5-2 to Thompson Valley’s Morgan Fogg in the fifth-place match. Senior Randall Baker (21-10) lost 11-0 to Thompson Valley’s Matt Berg to place sixth at 145.
Broomfield finished tied for 18th in the team scoring with 67 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.