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  • Monarch sophomore Vince Cornella, left, may get a chance to...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Monarch sophomore Vince Cornella, left, may get a chance to leap in the arms of his coach, Ezra Paddock, once again as he is seen as s contender for a second 5A title.

  • Lyons' Oran Huff, right, is just a sophomore but will...

    Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Lyons' Oran Huff, right, is just a sophomore but will be seen as a leader for the Lions in the room in 2018-19.

  • Cole Hoffman of Frederick (sitting) will look to close out...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Cole Hoffman of Frederick (sitting) will look to close out his career in style as one of the Warriors' many seniors.



Hunter Branson, Jr., Holy Family: Branson will aim for his third consecutive trip to the state tournament and perhaps make a run when he gets there. He advanced to the second round as a freshman but fell in the opening round last year.
Vince Cornella, So., Monarch: He went 37-3 as a freshman last year and will look to lead the Coyotes as they set out to improve on the first top-10 finish in their program’s history.
Drake Engelking, Sr., Longmont: Despite a thumb injury that limited him to fewer than 30 matches, he went 25-3 and won the 4A 160-pound state title in dominant fashion last winter.
Darren Green, Jr., Broomfield: Green has made quite a splash in his first two state tournaments. He finished runner-up his freshman season and third last year at the Pepsi Center. Time will tell if this is the year Green will break through for gold.
Cole Hoffman, Sr., Frederick: Hoffman led his team in takedowns last year en route to a state tournament berth.
Oran Huff, So., Lyons: As a freshman last season, posted a 24-13 record and advanced all the way to the championships semifinals at state.
Dakota Key, Jr., Legacy: Key made quite a run in the consolation state bracket last season, winning three consecutive matches before falling in the third-place match in 5A 145s.
Rudy Lopez, So., Erie: His first appearance at the state tournament included a win and a match against Pueblo County’s three-time state champion, Brendon Garcia, who will be looking for his fourth this season. Initiation complete. Time for Round 2.
Drew Sandoval, So., Skyline: Just a freshman last season, he went 28-15 and went 1-1 at the state championships.


* Regional tournament to be completed by Feb. 16

2A Northeast Region 3 – Local team: Lyons. Location & date: Wiggins High School, Feb. 15-16.

3A Northern Region 2 – Local team: Holy Family. Location & date: Platte Valley High School, Feb. 15-16.

4A Metro Region 1 – Local teams: Longmont, Silver Creek. Location & date: Thomas Jefferson High School, Feb. 15-16.

4A Northern Region 4 – Local teams: Broomfield, Erie, Frederick, Mead, Niwot, Skyline. Location & date: Mead High School, Feb. 15-16.

5A Region 1 – Local teams: Boulder, Monarch. Location & date: Fruita Monument High School, Feb. 15-16.

5A Region 2 – Local teams: Centaurus, Fairview. Location & date: Adams City High School, Feb. 15-16.

5A Region 4 – Local team: Legacy. Location & date: Legacy High School, Feb. 15-16.



Coach: Will LeBoeuf (first season)
Last year: Did not qualify for the state tournament
Returning state qualifiers: None.
Others to watch: Joey Airola (Fr., 106); Marco Deroos (Sr., 145).

Outlook: Taking over for the Panthers’ wrestling program will be LeBoeuf, who has been an assistant coach in the program since 2016. Also joining the staff is former Fairview wrestler Conor Heun, who retired from MMA in 2012 and has served as a personal trainer since, according to the wrestling program’s website.

Coach: Pat DeCamillis (sixth season)
Last year: Finished fourth at the 5A state tournament
Returning state qualifiers: Darren Green (Jr., 138); Presley Madril (Sr., 126); Antonio Welch-Soto (Jr., 170); Bryant Walker (Jr., 220).
Others to watch: Ryan Vigil (Fr., 113); Tyler Carpenter (Jr., 285).

Outlook: Broomfield is headed back down to Class 4A after finishing fourth in the 5A tournament in February. Green leads four returning state qualifiers after falling in the 132-pound semifinals in and before taking third. Another returnee is Madril, who finished fifth in 113s. Watch out for those two — and the Eagles as a whole — to make some noise in the 4A tournament this season.

Coach: Arturo Mata (first season)
Last year: Finished 36th at the 5A state tournament
Returning state qualifiers: None.
Others to watch: Nate Uribes (Sr., 195); Shane Ditlow (So., 220).

Outlook: The Warriors begin a new chapter under Mata, who said he is looking to bring excitement back to the “Lafayette wrestling community.” Centaurus has finished with a combined six points at state the last two seasons.

Coach: Joe Ferrera (first season)
Last year: Finished 37th at the Class 4A state tournament
Returning state qualifiers: Rudy Lopez (So., 120).
Others to watch: Witt Unruh (Sr., 160); Bransen Roylance (Sr., 152); Noah Lopez (Fr., 106); Michael Brazeau (Fr., 138).

Outlook: Ferrera takes over a young team at Erie, which returns just one state qualifier in Lopez. Lopez, as a freshman, won his first-round match over Windsor’s Jacob Parker by forfeit. In the second round, he was pinned by three-time state champ Brendon Garcia of Pueblo County.

Coach: Jim Opperman (third season)
Last year: Did not place at the state or regional tournament
Returning state qualifiers: None.
Others to watch: Avery Jackson (Sr., 145); Brock Grandberg (Sr., 152); Sorren Robinson (Sr., 182); Lex Minniear (Sr., 170).

Outlook: Opperman is excited for his senior and freshman classes, and the longtime wrestling coach believes his team has the talent to be competitive across the weight classes. Fairview, which has scored just 12 points at the state tournament over the past four seasons, has some nice talent this season — especially in the middle weights.

Coach: Joey Gardner (fourth season)
Last year: Finished 37th at the 4A state tournament
Returning state qualifiers: Cole Hoffman (Sr., 138); Victor Rangel (Jr., 160).
Others to watch: Jonah Gardner (Sr., 106); Cruz Jimenez (Sr., 113); Gabe Carrillo (Sr., 120).

Outlook: Frederick will have 10 seniors in its lineup as it looks to build off its 37th-place finish at the state tournament in February. Hoffman leads the state returnees as he and Rangel could be in line to make a deeper run this season.

Coach: Jason Pedigo (first season)
Last year: Finished 30th at the 3A state tournament
Returning state qualifiers: Hunter Branson (Jr., 160-170)
Others to watch: Joe Szymanski (Jr., 145); Christian Florez (Jr., 120).

Outlook: Pedigo takes over the wrestling program at Holy Family. The first-year coach said he is excited to build a core that is “young and hungry.” Holy Family returns just one state qualifier in Branson, who is aiming for a third straight trip to the state podium after finishing sixth in 2017 and 2018.

Coach: Mike Thompson (19th season)
Last year: Finished second in regionals and 10th at the 5A state tournament
Returning state qualifiers: Dakota Key (Jr., 145); Grady Funk (Jr., 160); Keegan Hoffman (Sr., 126); Joey Joiner (Jr., 138); Kevin Luker (Sr., 152); Adam Lynch (Jr., 170); Aron Baugh (Sr., 195).
Others to watch: Salvador Gutierrez (Sr., 106); Alex Almanza (Jr., 120); Kaden Rasmussen (Jr., 132); Jason Bynarowicz (Sr., 170); Adrian Kelly (Sr., 182).

Outlook: The Lightning qualified 10 wrestlers to the state tournament in February and return seven this season, including state placers Key (fourth in 145s) and Funk (sixth in 160s). Thompson believes his team can be one of the best in the state if it can perform to its potential in February.

Coach: Matt Engelking (fifth year).
Last year: Finished 20th at 4A state tournament.
Returning state qualifiers: Brayden Engelking (Jr., 152); Drake Engelking (Sr., 160); John Nichols (Jr., 120); Gio Wilson (Jr., 126).
Others to watch: Bini Barila (Jr., 113), Dylan Hassler (Sr., 132/138), Audie Herrera (Sr., 145), Logan Novara (So., 106), Leif Nuesken (Sr., 138), Eric Wagner (Jr., 132).

Outlook: This year’s Longmont team is heavy in junior athletes and coach Matt Engelking is excited to see what it can do. Leading the way will be senior Drake Engelking, who won last season’s 150-pound state championship in dominant fashion. Generally speaking, the Trojans are focused on improving their performances in duals and at regionals in order to take a larger team to state this winter.

Coach: Brandon Lohr (third year).
Last year: Finished 11th at 2A state tournament.
Returning state qualifiers: Karson Bean (Jr., 195); Oran Huff (So., 126); Konner Mauck (Sr., 182).
Others to watch: David Gardner (So., 145); Christian Keller (So., 120); Logan Odell (So., 152).

Outlook: With the graduation of two-time state champion Keegan Bean, there’s plenty of room for new faces to step up and lead the Lions. With a solid core with state experience and several up-and-comers back in the mix, the Lions feel confident that they’ll have several wrestlers do just that. “Our team is light in numbers but we have some very quality wrestlers this season,” Lohr said. “I have no doubt that we should qualify seven or eight guys for state and see at least two or three of our wrestlers on the podium down at the Pepsi Center.”

Coach: Ty Tatham (10th year).
Last year: Finished 36th at 4A state tournament.
Returning state qualifiers: Brady Borger (Jr., 160); Emilio Chavez (Jr., 132); Roman Salaz (Sr., 106).
Others to watch: Caleb Domenico (Jr., 160); R.J. Lopez (Sr., 285); Nathan Rowden (So., 113).

Outlook: The Mavericks are excited about their three returning state qualifiers, as well as their prospects of landing those three on the podium. Lopez will give the Mavericks a solid big man at the end of the lineup and had a bunch of wins before getting hurt last winter. The Mavericks uncharacteristically did not have a state placer in 2017-18 and getting someone back on the podium will be their primary focus.

Coach: Ezra Paddock (12th year).
Last year: Finished in a tie for eighth at 5A state tournament.
Returning state qualifiers: Vince Cornella (So., 113); Ryan Kuykendall (So., 120); Will Ponder (Sr., 220).
Others to watch: Keegan Feenstra (Sr., 182); Zach Hacker (Sr., 126); Max Fredricksmeyer (Jr., 138); Aidan Quinn (Sr., 145); Calvin Williams (Sr., 285).

Outlook: The Coyotes will lean on great experience and senior leadership as they try to improve on the program’s first top-10 finish in school history. Returning state champion Vince Cornella figures to be in the mix for another state title and hopes to have several teammates join him on the podium in February of 2019. Kuykendall and Ponder are the best bets to do so, but Paddock also is excited about a talented group of freshmen coming in this season.

Coach: Bobby Matthews (fourth year).
Last year: Did not score at 4A state tournament.
Returning state qualifiers: None.
Others to watch: Keith Hemenway (Jr., 152); Matt Pecherzewski (Jr., 113); Daniel Torres (Jr., 195).

Outlook: With no seniors on the team and no returning state qualifiers, the Niwot Cougars will be a young team once again in 2018-19. Matthews expects to spend a lot of time teaching the sport throughout the year with the hope of peaking and showing well at regionals. The Cougars placed last at the 4A Region 4 tournament last season and expect to improve on that standing this winter.

Coach: Chris Blair (first year).
Last year: Finished in a tie for 29th at 4A state tournament.
Returning state qualifiers: None.
Others to watch: Max Ruiz (Sr., 195); Keldan Stutzman (Sr., 160)

Outlook: With a new coach and no state qualifiers returning to the Raptors this season, the team’s outlook appears to be a blank slate. As a young team, the Raptors plan to create a foundation on which to build in future seasons. “We’re young but dedicated to each other, recognizing it will take exceptional individual efforts and mental toughness to accomplish our goals as a team and individually,” Blair said.

Coach: Mike Silva (third year).
Last year: Finished in a tie for 31st at 4A state tournament.
Returning state qualifiers: Grayden Bridwell (So., 138/145); Ricky Childers (Sr., 285); Isaac Hesse (Sr., 195); Jose Perez (So., 132/138); Drew Sandoval (So., 126/132).
Others to watch: Liam Laughery (Jr., 113); Caden Silva (Jr., 170); Creighton Trembly (Jr., 160); Ricky Waters (Jr., 182).

Outlook: This is a pretty tough returning crew that helped win 18 duals last year and qualified five wrestlers for last year’s state tournament. With the football team playing in the state championship game, the roster is a little bunched up and a bit behind but the Falcons should be able to spread things out more once they’re up to full strength. The Falcons tied for 31st in 4A last season and have a great shot at improving that finish this winter.

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