Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
State wrestling schedule
At The Pepsi Center
3-6:15 p.m.: Class 3A/2A preliminaries
7:15-10:45 p.m.: Class 5A/4A preliminaries
9:30 a.m.: Class 3A/2A Quarterfinals (followed by first round consolation matches)
12:45 p.m.: Class 5A/4A Quarterfinals (followed by first round consolation matches)
7 p.m.: Semifinals
10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.: Third round consolations (semifinal consolations to follow)
1:30: Class 3A/2A fifth place matches (followed immediately by third place matches)
2 p.m.: Class 5A/4A fifth place matches (followed immediately by third place matches)
6:30 p.m.: Parade of Champions and finals
It’s something that you hear over and over again during the wrestling regular season: “Nothing really matters until the final two weeks of the season anyway.”
All the hard work, sweat and hours on the mat that began back in late November all comes to a head starting on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in one of the greatest spectacles the state has to offer on the high-school level.
Class 3A and 2A get things kicked off on Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. with their opening rounds and the big schools will follow at 7:15 p.m. The Parade of Champions will start at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday night in front of what should be a large crowd that is not only anticipating great wrestling, but the rare chance to see a four-time champion in Poudre’s Jacob Greenwood.
The BoCoPreps contingent will be 53 deep, led by returning Class 2A 182 pound state champion Keegan Bean of Lyons.
He is fresh off a regional championship last week in Sterling and looking to finish his brilliant prep career in style with another title.
The recurring theme around BoCo the last few seasons is “close but no cigar.”
Sure they have placed a number of guys on the podium, but finding that elusive title has been hard to come by.
So how does that change for the guys that have come so close in recent years? Do you change your approach, or do you just keep on keeping on?
“I have a process I go through every time and I feel comfortable with that and I feel like I’m going to be on fire.” said Mead senior Jeremy Ashton after his regional championship last week at Northridge.
Ashton has the experience at the Pepsi Center, having landed on the podium each of his first three seasons — including a runner-up in 2016 as a sophomore.
“I am more comfortable. I don’t have to stress over anything and my attitude is a lot better,” he said.
Someone in a similar position to Ashton in terms of success at state is Longmont’s Drake Engelking. The Trojans junior made it all the way to the state finals as a freshman and took a step back to third last season.
“The last few years have been rough, but I am ready to get there,” said Engelking, who will open with Pueblo West’s Martin Trujillo on Thursday night at 160 pounds. “I try not to think about the past few seasons, but mentally it just breaks you.
“I changed the way I practice and just how hard I practice and how I went through my season without burning myself out by the end of it.”
Ashton and Engelking are just a few of the many hopefuls in our area this season.
One of the best stories in the state, and you can hear the buzz about him wherever wrestling aficionados hang out, is Broomfield’s Mason Watt.
His remarkable body transformation that saw him lose over 100 pounds has him in line as one of the favorites in the Class 5A 220-pound bracket. Watt is one of nine Eagles to qualify — including last year’s runner-up Darren Green at 132 pounds — and he brings in a nifty 44-2 record into the opening round against Arapahoe senior Riley Schell.
One of the more intriguing rivalries this season has been between the Eagles’ Drew Worthley and Legacy’s Drian Hays at 182 pounds. The Lightning senior was once atop the On The Mat Rankings — and remains in the top five — but has had his hands full with Worthley. The Eagles senior has pinned him in each of their last two meetings, including at the Front Range League championships.
Legacy had a huge day at regionals last weekend at Poudre and nearly caught the host Impalas for a regional team title. The Lightning will send 10 to state.
Also in 5A is Monarch, led by freshman sensation Vince Cornella. The 106 pounder has been nothing short of impressive all season long and is a favorite to win one for the Coyotes.
There are a total of 10 wrestlers who enter the state tournament with a perfect record. One of those is Silver Creek heavyweight Jacob Williams, who is 38-0.
Despite that, he is not the top seed in the bracket. That honor belongs to defending state champion Andy Garcia of Pueblo East, who beat Williams last year in the semifinals.
113 pounds — Presley Madril, Jr. (35-10) vs. Ricky Nava, Northglenn (9-2)
132 — Darren Green, So. (41-4) vs. Anthony Martinez, Denver East, Sr. (34-10)
152 — Christian Lofton, Sr. (29-12) vs. Caden Crosby, Arvada West, Sr. (10-11)
160 — Preston Renner, Sr. (40-8) vs. Ty Walker, Fruita Monument, Jr. (22-15)
170 — Antonio Welch-Soto, So. (15-10) vs. Christian Rowell, Adams City, Sr. (38-7)
182 — Drew Worthley, Sr. (37-6) vs. Jake Bennett, Rocky Mountain, Jr. (10-6)
195 — Bryant Walker, So. (25-17) vs. John Boyer, Arvada West, Sr. (23-11)
220 — Mason Watt, Sr. (44-2) vs. Riley Schell, Arapahoe, Sr. (23-11)
285 — Michael DeCamillis, Sr. (21-5) vs. Michael Fenton, Mountain Range, Sr. (17-5)
170 pounds — Angel Mata, Sr. (22-15) vs. Kai Blake, Cherry Creek, Jr. (41-5)
120 — Keegan Hoffman, Jr. (33-8) vs. Trey Johnson, Chaparral, Jr. (30-7)
126 — Joey Joiner, So. (30-7) vs. Angel Flores, Coronado, So. (40-7)
132 — Kevin Luker, Jr. (32-15) vs. Dayton Marvel, Arvada West, Sr. (30-2)
145 — Dakota Key, So. (31-13) vs. Lance Roybal, Bear Creek, Sr. (32-10)
160 — Grady Funk, So. (22-16) vs. Nathan Baca, Brighton, Sr. (38-8)
170 — Aidan Funk, Sr. (36-8) vs. Kyle Stalder, Ftn.-Ft. Carson, Sr. (26-13)
182 — Drian Hays, Sr. (40-7) vs. Matthew Shriver, Rangeview, Sr. (30-7)
195 — Brandon Wills, Sr. (30-14) vs. Keegan Bailey, Fruita Monument, Jr. (24-4)
220 — Adam Lynch, So. (17-7) vs. Roberto Lopez, Denver South, Jr. (29-8)
285 — Aaron Baugh, Jr. (27-14) vs. Hayden Still, Lakewood, Sr. (19-4)
106 pounds — Vince Cornella, Fr. (33-3) vs. Aidan Lenz, Castle View, Fr. (27-16)
113 — Ryan Kuykendall, Fr. (24-12) vs. Mark Grice, Prairi View, Jr. (20-18)
138 — Cole Polluconi, Sr. (35-7) vs. Talen Valerio, Grand Junction, So. (14-9)
152 — Parker McQuade, Sr. (30-6) vs. Neil David, Rocky Mountain, Jr. (22-14)
170 — Nate Pritchard, Sr. (29-12) vs. Tarron Adams, Brighton, Sr. (32-8)
220 — Will Ponder, Jr. (23-10) vs. Santana Solano, Brighton, Jr. (34-8)
106 pounds — Rudy Lopez, Fr. (25-10) vs. Jacob Parker, Windsor, So. (23-6)
132 pounds — Cole Hoffman, Jr. (33-13) vs. Aaden Valdez, Pueblo East, So. (42-5)
152 — Victor Rangel, So. (34-14) vs. Elijah Valdez, Mesa Ridge, Sr. (38-1)
160 — Robert Saldi, Sr. (22-14) vs. Marcus Martinez, Pueblo South, Jr. (31-7)
120 pounds — John Nicholas, So. (25-13) vs. Kristian Arguello, Pueblo South, Jr. (32-15)
126 — Gio Wilson, So. (30-12) vs. Rick Stark, Cheyenne Mountain, Jr. (33-14)
145 — Brayden Engelking, So. (27-10) vs. Cole Hernandez, Pueblo Central, Jr. (33-8)
160 — Drake Engelking, Jr. (21-3) vs. Martin Trujillo, Pueblo West, Jr. (21-14)
106 pounds — Roman Salaz, So. (22-10) vs. Jett Strickenberger, Discovery Canyon, Fr. (25-4)
113 — Brady Borger, Fr. (19-17) vs. Andrew Lucero, Pueblo East, Sr. (39-7)
126 — Emilio Chavez, So. (31-13) vs. Ryan Roth, Pueblo East, Jr. (34-8)
132 — Jeremy Ashton, Sr. (20-3) vs. Luke Antonia, Cheyenne Mountain, Sr. (21-12)
285 — Luis Miramontes, Sr. (16-7) vs. Michael True, Mesa Ridge, Sr. (31-5)
182 pounds — Tyler Young, Jr. (20-5) vs. Matt Dunkelman, Thompson Valley, Sr. (38-6)
285 — Jacob Williams, Sr. (38-0) vs. Alex Allen, Lewis-Palmer, So. (7-19)
113 pounds — Andrew Sandoval, Fr. (27-13) vs. Jacob McClaskey, Central (G.J.), Sr. (39-8)
120 — Grayden Bridwell, Fr. (31-14) vs. Josiah Nava, Pueblo County, Sr. (34-10)
182 — Angel Perez, Sr. (38-6) vs. Zion Freeman, Pueblo East, Jr. (37-8)
195 — Issaac Hesse, Jr. (17-9) vs. Cian Quiroga, Cheyenne Mountain, Jr. (20-6)
285 — Ricky Childers, Jr. (23-12) vs. Frank Castillo, Wheat Ridge, Jr. (32-7)
152 pounds — Hunter Branson, So. (26-7) vs. Trevor Bryant, Pagosa Springs, Sr. (31-6)
220 — Cade Carter, Sr. (15-11) vs. Bennie Chacon, Centauri, Jr. (30-6)
285 — Andrew Edwards, Sr. (14-5) vs. Nick Martinez, La Junta, Sr. (4-9)
126 pounds — Oran Huff, Fr. (21-11) vs. Colton Sims, Rye, Sr. (26-8)
170 — Konner Mauck, Jr. (17-12) vs. Jesse Tapia, Rocky Ford, So. (28-5)
182 — Keegan Bean, Sr. (32-2) vs. Matthew Brant, Ellicott, Jr. (19-15)
195 — Karson Bean, So. (20-3) vs. Brandon Clark, Hanover, Jr. (13-8)