Boulder Daily Camera file photo
Boulder Daily Camera file photo
NIWOT — Out of 19 teams competing in the Gary Daum Classic wrestling tournament at Niwot High School on Saturday, 10 were local teams. As a result, many local individual wrestlers would come away with a tournament title in the first action back on the mats since winter break paused the season.
The big winners in the tournament were Oran Huff of Lyons and Hunter Branson of Holy Family, both of whom were able to win impressively and continue their dominant starts to the season.
Huff began the day with a 18-0 record as the top seed at 126 pounds and got three wins by fall in the first period to advance to the championship match. In the finals with Gio Wilson of Longmont, Huff continued to push the pace and scored an early takedown in the first period. A reversal from bottom and second takedown in the second helped him win by decision, 8-1, to remain unbeaten.
“I never really had a break,” Huff said. “I kept wrestling (over break). A lot of guys might take some time off because there is no school, but I went out to some clubs and find a way to wrestle over break to stay in it. I’m really happy with how I’m wrestling right now. I’m wrestling better than I ever have.”
Huff saw his teammate Karson Bean win the tournament title at 195 with an 11-5 decision win later in the evening to give Lyons two champions. David Gardner wrestled for the title at 145 but lost a 6-2 decision to Cael Langford of Fort Morgan in the final match to finish second.
Holy Family’s Branson made quick work on the mats in all four matches to get him a title at 170 and continue his string of success at the Daum. In all four matches, he found a way to get a hold of a leg, finish a takedown and work from the top to quickly roll his opponent on his back. He only needed 45 seconds to defeat Jed Sidwell of Platte Valley for the title.
With four wins on Saturday, Branson reached 100 career wins.
“It feels great, I’m just happy I was able to make it to 100 wins today,” Branson said. “It makes me want to wrestle more and pushes me more. I was looking for more wins and that’s why I was going so hard.”
Erie had two wrestlers take home a title starting with Noah Lopez at 106 winning by fall in three of his four matches, including the championship match against Andrew Kramer of Elizabeth in the first. Michael Brazeau won the other title for Erie at 152 pounds with a pin in the third period as he was able to keep Skyline’s Maddox Legget down in bottom position before getting him rolled onto his back.
Skyline did have Oscar Aranday win the title at 285 with a pin against Jovani Lopez of Niwot in the first period. His title secured a top-five finish for Skyline to keep their winning ways going on the season.
“We already came out and won a dual tournament, we’re undefeated in duals this season and we won the Denver North tournament a couple of weeks back,” Aranday said. “(Winning) brings a lot back in the wrestling room for us. There is more life this year because of it.”
Ryan Kuykendall of Monarch won the title at 120 with a 10-5 decision win and John Nicholas of Longmont held on in the final seconds to win 4-3 for the championship at 138 to round out the other top winners. Boulder’s Joey Airola lost a 10-7 decision to Alec Beltran of Horizon at 113, Brayden Engelking of Longmont lost by decision 5-4 at 160 and Daniel Torres of Niwot lost in sudden victory for the title at 220.