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Girls Wrestling: St. Vrain Valley team qualifies two for girls state wrestling tournament

Kassandra Reyes, Jenna Joseph to represent team next week

  • Brandon Boles/BoCoPreps.com

    Jenna Joseph (left) and Bennett’s Raena Schledwitz tie each other up in neutral position during their semifinal match at 136 pounds at the Region 1 girls wrestling tournament on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 at Fort Lupton High School.

  • Brandon Boles/BoCoPreps.com

    Jenna Joseph of Longmont tries to finish her third-place match with a pin over Fort Lupton’s Allison Laskoski in the Region 1 girls wrestling tournament on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 at Fort Lupton High School.

  • Boulder Daily Camera file photo

    Kassandra Reyes of Mead tries to score a takedown versus Audrey Bankes of Loveland in their championship match at 111 pounds at the Region 1 girls wrestling tournament on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 at Fort Lupton High School.

  • Brandon Boles/BoCoPreps.com

    Kassandra Reyes of Mead tries to finish her semifinal match with Fatima Duran of Yuma with a pin in the first period at the Region 1 girls wrestling tournament on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 at Fort Lupton High School.

  • Boulder Daily Camera file photo

    Sora Thomas of Legacy (left) competes with Charisma Nation of Severance in a consolation match at the Region 1 girls wrestling tournament on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 at Fort Lupton High School.

  • Boulder Daily Camera file photo

    Cloey Bonge, representing Silver Creek (right), circles the mat with Sophia Lucero of Skyview during their fifth-place match a t the Region 1 girls wrestling tournament on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 at Fort Lupton High School.

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FORT LUPTON — Girls wrestling is showing growth in Colorado from last year’s pilot program to this season, as evidenced by more teams and competitors taking part in the program this winter.

That includes an uptick in wrestlers for the St. Vrain Valley School District team based out of Mead, as well as a new team at Legacy that formed this season.

“There’s a lot of self-growth and there are more challenging aspects now,” Mead’s Kassandra Reyes said. “Last year there were a lot of girls, but this year it has grown a lot, no doubt about it.”

Reyes was one of two athletes for the Mead team that qualified for state in the inaugural year of the program in 2019 and finished in fourth place at the state meet. On Saturday, she was one of two athletes from the team to punch their ticket to state at the Region 1 tournament at Fort Lupton High School.

Wrestling at 111 pounds, Reyes picked up two wins by fall in the second period to make it to the championship match. In the finals, she lost to Audrey Bankes of Loveland, the top team in the field, by fall late in the first. Despite the finish, it was an improvement from last season.

“It feels amazing,” Reyes said. “I worked out pretty hard since last year. I feel like it worked out for this year. I was in better condition. Last year at regionals I got third place, but this year I got second and that’s something I’m very proud of.”

Joining Reyes at state next week will be Jenna Joseph. Representing Longmont High at 136 pounds, Joseph started her run at regionals with two wins by fall to make it to the semifinal round. A tiebreaker in overtime saw Raena Schledwitz of Bennett score a point escaping to neutral position that got her the 5-4 win. Joseph would grind out a couple of close decisions after in the consolation bracket, winning 6-5 over Abbigail Smith of Poudre and 10-8 over Allison Laskoski of Fort Lupton to finish in third place.

“I knew that I was better this year and I’ve grown as an athlete and a wrestler,” Joseph said. “It’s helped me to push myself to know that I can do this and make it, that I was good enough. My confidence has gone up and I was being more aggressive than I was last year.”

Cloey Bonge was close to becoming the third wrestler to qualify for the Mead team representing Silver Creek in the 147-pound bracket. Bonge got two wins by fall to make it to the consolation semifinals but lost her final two matches to finish in sixth place, one spot short of moving on. Kate Desmond was one round short of the consolation semifinals and finished 3-2 over the weekend and Claire Batrez won her first match but suffered an injury and had to pull out.

Legacy sent three freshmen to wrestle in the 100-pound bracket. Sora Thomas got the lone win for the Lightning with a 6-4 decision win over her teammate Layne Bellm in the consolation bracket. Bellm and Pozzi would each finish 0-2 in their first regional tournament.

Reyes and Joseph will now prepare to compete in the Colorado Girls High School Wrestling State Championships on Feb. 8 at Thornton High School. The state bracket will be made up of the top five finishers at each of the three regional tournaments that took place over the weekend.

“I’m hoping to at least place,” Joseph said. “Placing would be perfectly fine knowing this is my first year going, and being able to see not just myself but Kassandra from my team to also be going, that’s really cool.”