Team by team outlooks
Coach: Will LeBoeuf
The Scorecard: Joey Airola is expected to return after making it to the state final in 106s as a freshman. The BoCoPreps.com all-region wrestler pinned the first two opponents he saw at the Pepsi Center, then beat Douglas County’s Justin Kelchen. In the finals, he lost to Brighton’s Kenny Sailas by a 7-0 decision and finished the year 37-7. Theron Sovndal is also back. Last season, the then-sophomore was edged out by a 4-3 decision in the opening round of the state 170s to Emery Bemis of Hinkley. The Panthers, as a team, finished 28th — their best placing since they finished tied for 21st in 2012. This year, keep an eye out for Tyler Daniels and Manny Arellano, two wrestlers who could help Boulder come February. LeBoeuf said the team is expecting to have “four state qualifiers and placers this year.”
Coach: Arturo Mata
The Scorecard: Mata is back for his second season with the Warriors, looking to build a program and find some quality wrestlers to fill his roster. Centaurus didn’t score a point at last year’s Class 5A tournament along with Aurora Central, Highlands Ranch and Thornton. A wrestler to keep an eye out for the Warriors will be sophomore Alex Robles (182s), one of the few wrestlers in the program with on-the-mat experience. Prior to last season, Centaurus had scored a combined six points at the state tournaments in 2017 and 2018. In 2016, it finished 27th with 21 points
Coach: Jim Opperman
The Scorecard: The Knights had two state qualifiers a year ago in Lex Minnear and Brock Granberg, but both graduated. Minnear won his first-round match and another in the consolation bracket. Granberg lost his first-round match before winning a consolation match. This year, wrestlers like Damian Flores (152s), Jonny Uhlig (145s) and Ben Cronin (160s) could be names to watch for late in the season for the Knights. Opperman, however, said the team’s focus is narrower than that. We’re “looking to be more aggressive on the mat and have great team resolve,” he said. Fairview finished 43rd at the state tournament a year ago. The season prior to it, the Knights did not qualify any wrestlers.
Coach: Mike Thompson
The Scorecard: Joey Joiner, the soccer/wrestling star, moved all the way to the 145 finals at the Pepsi Center in February before falling to Regis Jesuit’s Antonio Segura by a 2-1 decision. He finished the season 38-14 and was named an all-region wrestler. Grady Funk, meanwhile, finished fourth in 160s and was also named an all-region wrestler after finishing the year 36-16. Adam Lynch, in the meantime, won a consolation match in 195s. All three return this season for the Lightning, who are looking to improve upon their sixth-place finish from last season. In a questionnaire sent out to wrestling coaches, Thompson said his team’s goal was to finish in the top five at state while having multiple state finalists and placers. Among other names to keep an eye out for include Kaeden Rasmussen, Dustin Cottew, Alex Almanza, Gavin Funk, Derrick Long and Andrew Ernst, Thompson wrote.
Coach: Ezra Paddock
The Scorecard: Junior Vince Cornella (113s) leads a large group of returning state qualifiers for the Coyotes. Cornella didn’t lose a match to any Colorado wrestler last season en route to his second state championship. Other state qualifiers returning are sophomore Dillon Roman (106s), junior Ryan Kuykendall (120s), sophomore Cole Carlucci (132s), senior Max Fredricksmeyer (138s) and senior Nathan Fitzpatrick (160s). “The Coyotes are excited to return six state qualifiers and a bunch of others that are ready to make the trip downtown,” Paddock said. “The goal is the same, be wrestling their best in February and challenge to be one of the top 5A teams in the state.” Others to watch include sophomore Brayden Legge (120s), sophomore Zach Ferrera (195s), freshman Matt Fasbender (106s), freshman Emilio Trujillo (120s) and senior Austin Fiala (285s). Last year, the Coyotes finished tied for 12th at state.
Coach: Adrian Green
The Scorecard: The Eagles return a large contingent of state qualifiers from their fourth-place team a year ago, including state champ Darren Green. In 138s last year, the wrestler who’d been so close to gold the prior two seasons finally capped it off. He dominated the opposition en route to the finals, where he beat Pueblo East’s Aaden Valdez by a 3-2 decision. He finished the season 47-4. Alongside him, junior John Beau Hostler (138s), senior Antonio Welch-Soto (182s/195s), sophomore Morgen Watt (182s/195s), senior Bryant Walker (220s), who took fourth, and senior Tyler Carpenter (285s), who finished runner-up in the heavyweight class last season, are the other state qualifiers that return. Elsewhere, wrestlers like sophomore Ryan Vigil (126s) could be in for a big season. As could names like sophomore Matthew Balzano (120s/126s), junior Andy Johnson (126s/132s), senior T.J. Stones (132s), sophomore Hunter Harris (132s/138s) and junior Vince Beeson (138s). “We are working hard to get as many qualified to the state tournament, so we can make a strong push at the end,” coach Green said. “We finished in the top five the last two years and want to continue that trend.”
Coach: Joe Ferrera
The Scorecard: The Tigers are hoping to build off the momentum they gained at last season’s state tournament, where they finished 28th. This year, junior Rudy Lopez (120s) and junior Gustavo Fonseca-Walker return after punching their ticket to the Pepsi Center in February. Lopez won his regional title in extra time last season but fell to eventual state champ Brendon Garcia in the state quarterfinals and went on to place fourth. Fonseca-Walker, meanwhile, dropped his first state match. “Rudy looks to improve on his fourth place finish from last year and aims to be wrestling on Saturday night of this year’s state tournament,” said Ferrera, who is coming into his second year. “Gus looks to be standing on the podium at state. We still have a young team and look to continue to be better than the previous year.” Other wrestlers to watch include sophomores Noah Lopez (106s) and Michael Brazeau (152s).
Coach: Joey Gardner
The Scorecard: Gardner is confident with his roster this season despite only having one wrestler with state tournament experience. “I believe these guys can hang with anyone and we have the potential to put some, if not all on the podium come February,” he said. Senior Victor Rangel is the only wrestler who has qualified for state on the Warriors’ roster. He made it to the Pepsi Center as a sophomore but didn’t make the trip a year ago. Other wrestlers who may emerge include junior Justin Dean (106s), sophomore Alex Carrillo (113s), junior Kole Young (120s), junior JT Gardner (132s), junior Logan Rangel (138s), senior Jonah Sanders (145s), senior Bayley West (170s) and senior TR Kindvall (182s). The Warriors finished 35th at state last February.
Coach: Matt Engelking
The Scorecard: The Trojans return four state qualifiers from their state team that placed 10th in February. Senior Brayden Engelking (160s) is back after he finished fourth in 152s and capped off his junior year with a 40-8 record. Senior John Nicholas (132s), Gio Wilson (126s) and Logan Novara (106s) are also back from the state team. Gone is Drake Engelking, the first multiple state champion school. He was a three-time finalist and four-time placer. In his last final, he beat Cody Eaton of Windsor despite having a dislocated thumb, finishing the year 32-1. Without him, his dad, Longmont coach Matt Engelking, said he’s “looking to see improvement from the young guys and to be competitive in duals and tournaments” this season. Other wrestlers to watch include senior Eric Wagner (145s), senior Bini Barila (120s) and senior Mike Barone (138s).
Coach: Ty Tatham
The Scorecard: The Mavericks are coming off a season in which they finished tied for 23rd at the state tournament. Senior Emilio Chavez (152s) is back after he finished fifth at state a year ago. He won his first-round match over Pueblo East’s Noah Rivera with a pin before falling to state runner-up Trevor Singleton of Pueblo County in the second round. Other wrestlers to watch include senior Caleb Domenico (145s), senior Kyle Johnson (160s), junior RJ Guerra (126s), junior Nathan Rowden (120s) and sophomore Thomas Tatham (220s). We have a “good group of seniors with solid wrestlers in the other grades, which makes the room very competitive,” coach Tatham said. “(We’re) looking for continued improvement during the season leading into regionals and state.”
Coach: Bobby Matthews
The Scorecard: The Cougars return both of their state qualifiers from last season in seniors Jovani Lopez (285s) and Daniel Torres (220s). Torres scored the team’s only point with a win in consolations. “(We’re) hoping to build on last season and get more than two wrestlers to the state tournament,” Matthews said. “Numbers are up and some wrestlers have returned.” He added: “Good group of freshmen out this season.” Other wrestlers to watch include senior Keith Hemenway (152s), senior Max Percherzewski (120s) and freshman Angel Aldama (106s). Niwot’s 40th-place finished last season came after not qualifying anybody for state in 2018. In 2017, it finished tied for 19th with 30 points. Matthews is in his fifth season with the Cougars.
SILVER CREEK RAPTORS
Coach: Chris Blair
The Scorecard: Silver Creek, which did not qualify for state last year, is hoping to turn the page this winter. “Last year we had a lot of freshmen in our group and (we) were struggling to fill out a full roster,” Blair said. “Between sickness and injuries, we spotted other teams at least 36 points. This year, with our returning sophomores and other athletes pulled in, we are looking at finally having a full roster. Our blank slate now has expectations and we look to be competitive this year.” Wrestlers to watch include David Ludlow (113s), Rodrigo Ordonez (152s) and Josef Dostal (160s), Blair wrote. The Raptors finished tied for 29th at state in 2018 and 27th in 2017.
Coach: Mike Silva
The Scorecard: The Falcons finished 26th at the state tournament last season with five qualifiers. State qualifiers Caden Silva (182s), Grayden Bridwell (145s), Drew Sandoval (138s) and Jose Perez (132s) return. Creighton Trembly also qualified last year in 170s. Ricky Childers, meanwhile, who finished fifth in 285s, graduated. Coach Silva said he wants his team to “place more wrestlers at state than last season.” Others that could be line include Oscar Aranday (285s), Liam Laughery (120s), Gabe Sedillos (113s), Calvin Mendez (106s) and Maddox Leggett (152s). Last year’s top-30 finish for the Falcons was the first in recent memory. In the four previous years, the Falcons finished 31st, 32nd, 42nd and 46th.
HOLY FAMILY TIGERS
Coach: Jason Pedigo
The Scorecard: Pedigo hopes his team can place inside the top 10 at regionals and state a year after taking 34th at the Pepsi Center. Senior Hunter Branson (170s) is back after bowing out in last season’s state semifinals. He fell to eventual-state champ Ty Garnhart of Eaton and finished fifth. Sophomore Jacob Barry (285) is also back after he qualified in the heavyweights. Another plus for the Tigers? “I am expecting great things from this team this year,” Pedigo said. “We have great numbers … coming back from last season, and not only that, we have added more members to the team.” The coach added: “I am excited to see that the numbers in the program are growing … Also excited about the kids that we have in our room this year.” Other wrestlers to watch include sophomore Matthew McCarthy (113s), junior Logan Erikson (120s), senior Joe Szymanski (152s) and junior Benito Hernandez (182s).
Coach: Brandon Lohr
The Scorecard: The Lions finished eighth at state last year, and Lohr believes that 2019-20 features the “strongest all-around team we’ve had in over 10 years.” Returning state champ Oran Huff (126s) returns as do two other podium finishers in senior Karson Bean (195s), who took fourth, and junior David Gardner (145s) who was fifth. Huff beat Centauri’s Eyan Chavez by a 5-3 decision in last year’s Class 2A 126-pound title. In the final set, Huff responded to Chavez’s reversal with one of his own to all-but clinch. Junior Christian Keller (120s), junior Monte Pickering (132s) and Logan Odell (160s) are back as well. “We are looking forward to a great season and plan to qualify our six from last year as well as several others this season,” Lohr said. “We are optimistic that you’ll see several of our wrestlers on the podium down at state this season.” Freshman Dequlyn Keller (138s) is among those who could be a newcomer to the state party this year.
Bringing it home: Recent local state champions
2019: Vince Cornella, Monarch (5A 113 pounds); Darren Green, Broomfield (4A 138); Drake Engelking, Longmont (4A 170); Oran Huff, Lyons (2A 126).
2018: Keegan Bean, Lyons (2A 182); Vince Cornella, Monarch (5A 103); Drake Engelking, Longmont (4A 160); Mason Watt, Broomfield (5A 220)
2017: Keegan Bean, Lyons (2A 182); Tommy Stager, Niwot (4A 145); Kolsen Welham, Holy Family (3A 160).
Point me to the postseason
Regional tournaments will be completed by Feb. 15, 2020 and the state tournament will be held at the Pepsi Center from Feb. 20-22. Per the CHSAA bulletin, Lyons will be in 2A Region 4, which is expected to be hosted by Rocky Ford at Otero Junior College. Holy Family will host 3A Region 3. Broomfield will host 4A Region 2, which also includes Longmont and Erie. Skyline, Mead, Niwot, Frederick and Silver Creek are in 4A Region 3, hosted by Windsor. Boulder is in 5A Region 1, hosted by Cherokee Trail. 5A Region 2 will be at Legacy and will also include Monarch. Fairview and Centaurus are in 5A Region 3, hosted by Fort Collins.
Cream of the crop: 2019 BoCoPreps.com All-region team
First Team (Name, 2018-19 class, school )
Joey Airola, Fr., Boulder; Kassandra Reyes, Fr., Mead; Vince Cornella, So., Monarch; Presley Madril, Sr., Broomfield; Oran Huff, So., Lyons; Cole Hoffman, Sr., Frederick; Darren Green, Jr., Legacy; Brayden Engelking, Jr., Longmont; Grady Funk, Jr., Legacy; Clarissa Batrez, Fr., Mead; Drake Engelking, Sr., Longmont; Konnor Mauck, Sr., Lyons; Bryant Walker, Jr., Broomfield; Will Ponder, Sr., Monarch; Tyler Carpenter, Jr., Broomfield.
Jacob Barry, Fr., Holy Family; Aron Baugh, Sr., Legacy; Karson Bean, Jr., Lyons; John Beau Hostler, So., Broomfield; Hunter Branson, Jr., Holy Family; Grayden Bridwell, So., Skyline; Jason Bynarowicz, Sr., Legacy; Cole Carlucci, Fr., Monarch; Emilio Chavez, Jr., Mead; Ricky Childers, Sr., Skyline; Gustavo Fonseca-Walker, So., Erie; Nathan Fitzpatrick, Sr., Monarch; Max Fredricksmeyer, Jr., Monarch; David Gardner, So., Lyons; Brock Granberg, Sr., Fairview; Zach Hacker, Sr., Monarch; Audie Herrera, Sr., Longmont; Keegan Hoffman, Sr., Legacy; Dakota Key, Jr., Legacy; Christian Keller, So., Lyons; Ryan Kuykendall, So., Monarch; Jovani Lopez, Jr., Niwot; RJ Lopez, Sr., Mead; Rudy Lopez, So., Erie; Kevin Luker, Sr., Legacy; Adam Lynch, Jr., Legacy; Lex Minnear, Sr., Fairview; John Nicholas, Jr., Longmont; Logan Novara, So., Longmont; Logan Odell, So., Lyons; Monte Pickering, So., Lyons; Aidan Quinn, Sr., Monarch; Dillon Roman, Fr., Monarch; Drew Sandoval, So., Skyline; Caden Silva, Jr., Skyline; Theron Sovndal, So., Boulder; Daniel Torres, Jr., Niwot; Creighton Trembly, Jr., Skyline; Nathan Uribes, Sr., Centaurus; Morgan Watt, Fr., Broomfield; Antonio Welch-Soto, Jr., Broomfield; Gio Wilson, Jr., Longmont; Witt Unruh, Sr., Erie.