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Wrestling: Newcomers, returning state finalists make way to finals at state championships

12 wrestlers from six schools will compete in final round Saturday

  • Boulder Daily Camera file photo

    DENVER, CO - Longmont High School's John Nicholas is congratulated by coaches Chris Kline, left, and Jonathan Brennan after defeating Coronado High School's Ben Nagel during a 4A 138-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Broomfield High School's Antonio Welch-Soto wrestles Vista Peak High School's Isaac Renas during a 4A 182-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Welch-Soto won the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Broomfield High School's Darren Green wrestles Vista Ridge High School's Jaime Snyder during a 4A 145-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Green won the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Longmont High School Assistant Coaches Jonathan Nichols, right, and Jonathan Brennan yell to wrestler Logan Novara during a 4A 106-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Boulder Daily Camera file photo

    DENVER, CO - Mead High School's Emilio Chavez shows his excitement after defeating Montrose High School's Ben Robuck during a 4A 170-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Broomfield High School's Bryant Walker wrestles Pueblo County High School's Gavin Howes during a 4A 220-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Walker won the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Frederick High School's Victor Rangel shows his emotions after losing to Falcon High School's Josiah Aldinger during a 4A 160-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Longmont High School's Brayden Engelking gets pinned by Thomas Jefferson High School's Isaias Estrada during a 4A 152-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Niwot High School's Jovani Lopez wrestles Broomfield High School's Tyler Carpenter during a 4A 285-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Carpenter won the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Longmont High School's Logan Novara wrestles Pueblo East High School's L.J. Herburger during a 4A 106-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Novara won the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Longmont High School's High School's Logan Novara has his hand raised after defeating Pueblo East High School's L.J. Herburger during a 4A 106-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Erie High School's Noah Lopez wrestles Lewis-Palmer High School's Isiah Blackmon during a 4A 106-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Broomfield High School's Tyler Carpenter wrestles Niwot High School's Jovani Lopez during a 4A 285-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Carpenter won the match.

  • Boulder Daily Camera file photo

    DENVER, CO - Erie High School's Noah Lopez waits to wrestle Lewis-Palmer High School's Isiah Blackmonduring a 4A 106-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Broomfield High School's Morgen Watt wrestles Roosevelt High School's Miles Beam during a 4A 195-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Watt lost the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Mountain View High School's Jordan Gilbert gets pinned by Erie High School's Rudy Lopez during a 4A 113-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Thompson Valley High School's Kam Hanel, left, ties up with Broomfield High School's John Beau Hostler during a 4A 132-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Hostler won the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Erie High School's Rudy Lopez works to take down Mountain View High School's Jordan Gilbert during a 4A 113-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Berthoud High School's Peter Bullett wrestles La Junta High School's Benny Austi Gonzales during a 3A 220-pound consolation match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Bullett lost the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Broomfield High School's Morgen Watt wrestles Roosevelt High School's Miles Beam during a 4A 195-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Watt lost the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Longmont High School's John Nicholas wrestles Coronado High School's Ben Nagel during a 4A 138-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Nicholas won the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Broomfield High School's John Beau Hostler tries to avoid a takedown by Thompson Valley High School's Kam Hanel during a 4A 132-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Hostler won the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Longmont High School's Bini Barila practices his takedowns on teammate Logan Novara before the start of the quarterfinals during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Erie High School's Noah Lopez wrestles Lewis-Palmer High School's Isiah Blackmonduring a 4A 106-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Thompson Valley High School's Kam Hanel wrestles Broomfield High School's John Beau Hostler during a 4A 132-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Hostler won the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Berthoud High School's Peter Bullett wrestles La Junta High School's Benny Austi Gonzales during a 3A 220-pound consolation match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Bullett lost the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Mountain View High School's Jordan Gilbert wrestles Erie Rudy Lopez High School's during a 4A 113-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  • Boulder Daily Camera file photo

    DENVER, CO - Longmont High School's John Nicholas wrestles Coronado High School's Ben Nagel during a 4A 138-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Nicholas won the match.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    DENVER, CO - Berthoud High School's Peter Bullett wrestles La Junta High School's Benny Austi Gonzales during a 3A 220-pound consolation match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Bullett lost the match.

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DENVER — Logan Novara of Longmont has been to the state tournament a number of times in career, only to see himself come up short of reaching the medal podium.

Broomfield’s John Beau Hostler felt he would place at state for the first time last year until an unexpected battle with pancreatitis impacted him in Denver.

Nathan Fitzpatrick of Monarch suffered a loss in the first round last year and was eliminated in the second consolation round for an early exit.

DENVER, CO - Longmont High School's ...
Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer
DENVER, CO – Longmont High School’s High School’s Logan Novara has his hand raised after defeating Pueblo East High School’s L.J. Herburger during a 4A 106-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Their previous trials and tribulations provided motivation to change their fate this time around, and they will do just that.

All three will join the brotherhood of wrestlers who qualified for the finals at the state championships Saturday night and join a long list of other local wrestlers who won a critical semifinal match on Friday to make it to the finals.

“This feeling is amazing,” Novara said. “I’ve never even been a state placer before and now I’m in the finals. It just feels amazing.”

Novara won a 9-4 decision in the quarterfinal round and found himself scoreless with Isiah Blackmon of Lewis-Palmer through two periods. In the third period, Novara got to the back and put the pressure on to stay on top and score back points late to win an 8-0 major decision.

After a hug with his coaches, Novara darted to the side of the mats and hugged multiple family members who were sitting in the front row watching his bout.

“That was awesome,” Novara said. “My older brother placed at state before, but (my family) has never had anyone reach the finals. It’s an awesome feeling for the whole family.”

DENVER, CO - Thompson Valley High ...
Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer
DENVER, CO – Thompson Valley High School’s Kam Hanel, left, ties up with Broomfield High School’s John Beau Hostler during a 4A 132-pound quarterfinal match during the second day of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Hostler won the match.

Hostler proved to be a different competitor at state this year with his health in check thanks to a better nutrition plan. After getting his second win by fall in the quarterfinals earlier in the day, he picked up his third pin in a competitive match with Kaale Bradshaw to reach the finals for the first time in his career. Like Novara, it will also be the first time he places in the tournament

“After last year getting pancreatitis right after regionals and my body never really being able to recover, this year was really being dedicated to pushing past that,” Hostler said. “It feels really good (to win). I felt stronger, faster and in better condition coming into it (this year).”

Fitzpatrick continued his strong push this season and proved that his exponential growth with his game would pay off in a big way. The senior from Monarch had a pin late in the first period and then won a 6-0 decision over Mitchell Bond of Prairie View to advance.

For the three, they took the biggest leap getting to the finals after not placing the year before, but all three are now focused on reaching the top with a state title to close out their runs.

“You don’t change a thing,” Hostler said. “I’m going to continue to do what I do. Hopefully it pays off tomorrow night.”

Other wrestlers to reach the finals

A number of wrestlers that made it to the finals last season will make another appearance on Saturday with big wins Friday night. Vince Cornella’s dominant run at 126 pounds continued on Friday with two technical fall victories, lining himself up to become a potential three-time state champion in just his junior year. Darren Green of Broomfield took a step towards closing out his high school career as a back-to-back champion with his 16-2 major decision win in the semifinals. Oran Huff of Lyons will also wrestle for his second consecutive title thanks to an 11-2 major decision win Friday night.

One wrestler that will get the chance to redeem himself in the finals is Joey Joiner of Legacy, who lost in the finals last year. Joiner made it back Friday with a fall in the third period in the quarterfinals and a 6-2 decision win in the semifinals. He will get to wrestle Regis Jesuit’s Antonio Segura on Saturday in a rematch of last year’s championship match.

John Nicholas of Longmont showed improvement this year going from sixth place in the 2019 tournament to reaching the finals, but it did not come easy as he had to win a pair of decisions by a score of 1-0 and 9-6 on Friday to advance. Also hanging on to win a decision in the semifinals was Bryant Walker of Broomfield with a 1-0 victory at 220. Rudy Lopez of Erie made it back to the semifinal round and earned his own redemption with a third-round fall at 113.

Lyons saw all three of its semifinalists win and advance to the finals. In addition to Huff, David Gardner won by major decision 12-1 at 145 pounds and Karson Bean held on late in his match at 195 to win a 6-2 decision.

The state finals will begin Saturday with the parade of champions at 6:30 p.m. at Pepsi Center.