Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
BROOMFIELD — Every year, the Broomfield wrestling team seems to produce a number of wrestlers who end up standing on the podium at state.
This year should be no different.
In fact, this year’s Eagles feature a solid core that was young last year but will be coming into its own as upperclassmen in 2018-19. Two Eagles who placed at state as sophomores last season, in particular, will be leading the way.
Meet Darren Green, the Eagles junior who placed third at 132 pounds last season and finished runner-up as a 120-pound freshman two winters ago. Moving up to 138s this season, Green has set his goals high and if he can reach his already-proven potential as a contender, look out.
“I have no stress at all,” Green said. “I’m just going to go out and wrestle the best I can and everything else will take care of itself. I’m definitely more driven now after I took third last year and also because I took second as a freshman. I’ve already placed twice and I think I’m ready to go out and try to beat that.”
With the Eagles moving down from Class 5A to 4A, they figure to be among the top teams in the classification after finishing fourth in the 5A team scoring at the Pepsi Center in 2017-18. To remain in the state’s top tier, the Eagles attended a number of camps this offseason with the goal of continued improvement.
Following his impressive collection of state tournament experience and another offseason of hard work, Green plans to wrestle more aggressively this winter. His goal is an individual state title, which seems attainable since he enters the season ranked third at 138s by Tim Yount’s On the Mat preseason rankings after going 45-5 in prep matches last season.
With equally lofty goals, Broomfield junior Bryant Walker will also move up a weight class and will wrestle at 220s this season. He posted a 27-20 record last season and placed sixth at 195s and is ranked second at 220s to start the season. Combining their duo of junior placers with senior Presley Madril, who placed fifth at 113s last season, the Eagles have a strong core with which to hit the ground running in 2018-19.
“My goal this year is to win a state championship,” Walker said. “I’m just going to take it one match at a time. I believe that if we all have that mindset, we’ll all have success. I have total confidence in myself and in my team.”
As the Eagles begin their annual build towards the state championships, they won’t have to go far to find some stiff competition.
Cross-town rival Legacy placed 10th in 5A last season and figured to be tough again for the upcoming campaign. The Lightning will be bolstered by some talented transfers and also will return a pair of juniors who placed as sophomores in Dakota Key (fourth at 145s) and Grady Funk (sixth at 160s).
“We’ve battled against Legacy for I don’t know how many years,” Eagles head coach Pat DeCamillis said. “We’ve dualed them for four years and they’ve been tight matches all the way through. They have a good team and we have a good team so this year’s dual should be as competitive as it always is.”