NORTHGLENN — The only thing that seems to be getting in the way of Erie wrestler Rudy Lopez these days is a recurring bloody nose.
But even that took a back seat to his bloody-good finish on Saturday afternoon.
Lopez was one of three area winners at the Northglenn Norse Invite, pinning Denver East’s Armando Garcia in the 113-pound finals. Other golds went to Lyons’ Oran Huff in 126s and reigning state champ Drake Engelking of Longmont in 170s.
Lopez trailed 4-2 heading into the final period before rallying back and flipping Garcia to the ground for the go-ahead takedown with 17 seconds remaining. The sophomore was then credited with a pin in the final second.
It was a thrilling end to a match that had to be halted several times as blood continually ran down Lopez’s face and onto the mat.
“His adrenaline gets going so much that once his nose starts bleeding it continues to gush,” Erie coach Joe Ferrera said outside the trainer’s room, where Lopez was still trying to stop the bleed after his match. “It’s not our first time, we had it actually happen last night at our home dual. It’s something we’re used to and we’re going to try and get on top of it before regionals and state.”
Lopez said he deals with nosebleeds almost every practice and expects to cauterize his nose some time next week in an effort to contain the issue. Despite it, bloody and all, he won four times inside the Northglenn gym as part of a 22-team tournament, improving to 29-3 on the season per Trackwrestling.com.
“Just nose plug after nose plug,” is how the sophomore described the day. “I just found a way to fight through it and push myself beyond my limits.”
From here, Lopez said he not only hopes to get back to the state tournament but place top three.
In something of a bitter end to the state tournament last season, Lopez won by forfeit before having to face Pueblo County’s three-time state champ Brendon Garcia in the second round.
He lost to Garcia, and then was deducted a point in his consolation match because he had braces and forgot to wear a mouth guard. He lost there, too — and yeah, it was by a single point.
“I have my goals set and I’m ready for state,” Lopez said. “Just pushing every day to get better.”
Lyons and Longmont each had two wrestlers advance into the finals and left with one gold apiece. The Lions finished an area-best fifth and the Trojans were seventh. Other area teams included Erie (15th) and Frederick (17th).
Huff, posting a 24-13 record last season in a dazzling freshman debut that ended in the Class 2A state semifinals, beat Longmont’s Gio Wilson 5-2 in the 126 finals. Teammate Karson Bean lost by a major decision in 195s.
Engelking, meanwhile, improved to 16-1 in the high school season and was named the most outstanding upper-weights wrestler of the tournament after beating Grand Junction’s Jay Skalecki 4-2 in a tiebreaker.
The Northern Colorado commit’s lone loss of the year came over winter break in the championship match at the talent-heavy Doc Buchanan Invite in California.
The three could be in line to make more noise at the state tournament, which is now just 26 days away.
Brent W. New: email@example.com and @brentwnew
Northglenn Norse Varsity Invite
At Northglenn HS
Team scores — Eagle Valley 179.5, Thompson Valley 168.5, Grand Junction 166.5, Arapahoe 130.5, Lyons 106.5, Legend 103, Longmont 86, Jefferson 85, Yuma 85, Greeley Central 82, Thornton 76, Chatfield 63, Prairie View 62.5, Heritage 61, Erie 60, Denver East 54.5, Frederick 52.5, Burlington 51.5, Northglenn 48, Regis 45, Hinkley 44, Northridge 29.
106 — Murphy Menke, Chatfield, major decision, Andrew Leyba, Grand Junction, 10-2.
113 — Rudy Lopez, Erie, pinned, Armando Garcia, Denver East, 6:00.
120 — Dawson Collins, Grand Junction, decision, Luke Morrissey, Eagle Valley, 7-1.
126 — Oren Huff, Lyons, decision, Gio Wilson, Longmont, 5-2.
132 — Andrew Sansburn, Jefferson, decision, Lucas Comroe, Eagle Valley, 5-1.
138 — Johnny Walker, Thompson Valley, pinned, Kade Syddall, Legend, 4:00.
145 — Joseph Valdez, Thornton, decision, Erik Cumley, Legend, 5-1.
152 — Austin McFadden, Prairie View, decision, Antonio Segura, Regis Jesuit, 5-0.
160 — Chase Engelhardt, Thompson Valley, pinned, Christian Hafey, Grand Junction, 3:12.
170 — Drake Engelking, Longmont, decision, Jay Skalecki, Grand Junction, 4-2 (TB-1).
182 — Davis Ward, Eagle Valley, pinned, Caid Lopez, Grand Junction, 1:13.
195 — Cody Solis, Greeley Central, major decision, Karson Bean, Lyons, 16-4.
220 — Hunter Tobiasson, Grand Junction, pinned, Cody Ponce, Eagle Valley, 2:57.
285 — Colin Lavell, Legend, pinned, Sage Gavin, Thompson Valley, 3:03.
Local third-place matches
106 — Logan Novara, Longmont, decision, Matthew Medina, Eagle Valley, 6-3.
120 — Aaron Fuller, Chatfield, decision, John Nicholas, Longmont, 8-3.
145 — David Gardner, Lyons, pinned, Rodriguez Gabe, Thompson Valley, 4:10.
Local fifth-place matches
113 — Cruz Jiminez, Frederick, decision, Carsen Trujillo, Arapahoe, 12-10.
120 — Gabe Carrillo, Frederick, pinned, Jose Campos, Jefferson, 2:53.
126 — Gustavo Fonseca-Walker, Erie, decision, Braden Smith, Yuma, 1-0.
182 — Aaron Coats, Hinkley, major decision, TR Kindvall, Frederick, 14-5.
195 — Cayden Lynch, Yuma, decision, Alonzo Warner, Erie, 1-0.
220 — Konner Mauck, Lyons, major decision, Jose Ruiz, Yuma, 8-0.