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Wrestling: Local teams earn several state berths at Class 4A Region 3 meet

Erie’s Malek earns first regional title

Erie's Gavin Malek wrestles in the ...
Brad Cochi/
Erie’s Gavin Malek wrestles in the 195-pound championship match at the Class 4A Region 3 tournament on Saturday, March 6, 2021 at Loveland High School.

LOVELAND — Regionals can make or break a high school wrestler’s season and with fewer wrestlers advancing out of each region in 2021, this weekend’s action was even more determinant than ever.

In the Class 4A Region 3 tournament at Loveland High School on Saturday, Erie’s Gavin Malek grappled his way to some good news.

The Tigers junior won all three of his matches and defeated Mountain View’s Isaac Muller with a 12-3 major decision in the 195-pound title match. It was the first regional crown for Malek, who will head to next weekend’s state championships with a good seed.

“It feels great,” Malek said. “With all the offseason work that we put in and all the stuff we’d had to go through during the season because of COVID, it feels good to finally get a first place at a tournament, especially at regionals.”

Malek didn’t begin wrestling until his freshman year and now is one of several Erie Tigers who will compete at state in a tougher year than usual to qualify. His teammate, Michael Brazeau, also qualified, but had to win a wrestleback match in order to do so after losing in the 160-pound finals. Erie’s Alex Austin was less fortunate, losing his wrestleback for a state berth after placing third at 182 pounds.

“I thought we wrestled well,” Erie head coach Joe Ferrera said. “Considering the year and everything that’s going on, it’s kind of hard to wrestle in two days and have seven guys going each day. But we got a good group of guys to state.”

Saturday’s action was a continuation of a two-day tournament, with the 103-145 weight classes wrestling Friday and the rest competing on Saturday.

Broomfield’s Ryan Vigil won a 3-0 decision over Erie’s Rudy Lopez to claim the 138-pound title. Also for Broomfield, 220-pounder Morgan Watt won his division title.

Mead’s Jake Glade won the 120-pound championship, winning 12-5 over Erie’s Ramon Salazar in the title bout. Also for Mead, 126-pounder Randy Guerra was runner-up in his bracket.

Frederick’s Alex Carillo placed second at 113 pounds. His Warriors teammate, JT Gardner, was also second at 132 pounds.

Skyline’s Calvin Mendez won the 103-pound title. After getting upset in the championship match, Skyline 152-pounder Grayden Bridwell defended his state berth in a wrestleback match. Falcons senior Oscar Aranday also qualified for state, finishing runner-up at 285 pounds.

“Being the number one seed and getting upset in the championship, those are really tough matches,” Skyline head coach Mike Silva said. “It’s disappointing in the sense that in a normal year, we’re taking like six dudes. But this year, we’re taking three because they have to be top two. In Grayden’s situation, it’s hard to overcome the momentum of losing against a guy who’s got the momentum of having just won and still go win that match. But that’s who Grayden Bridwell is.”

Brad Cochi/
Skyline’s Oscar Aranday wrestles in the 285-pound championship match at the Class 4A Region 3 tournament on Saturday, March 6, 2021 at Loveland High School. (Photo by Brad Cochi/

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