DENVER — Erie’s Michael Brazeau knew his 170-pound third place match wouldn’t be easy.
Having wrestled Mead’s Dalton Berg earlier in the season on a bum shoulder, Brazeau worked his way back to health and back into bronze-medal contention of the Class 4A state championships at Ball Arena on Saturday.
This time, he won in a 6-3 decision to further help his Erie Tigers in the team competition.
“Dalton’s a beast,” Brazeau said. “I only wrestled him once at the beginning of the year, the day after I tore my labrum in my right shoulder. He was pretty dominant. … He’s young. I’m sure he’ll win a title. I told him that.”
Brazeau was one of several locals on Saturday who found themsleves in position to place on podiums, even ahead of the area’s eight finalists between the boys and girls tournaments.
Brazeau’s teammate, Noah Lopez, battled back to place third at 120 pounds. Entering state as a favorite to make the championship final, Lopez kept in the game after a quarterfinals loss and won four straight matches to maximize his finish.
He finished his season 34-6 with his pin of Mesa Ridge’s Frankie Gallegos — in just 2 minutes, 39 seconds, to claim the bronze.
Also in a third-place match was Brendan Young, who contributed many points for the Tigers on the way to Saturday’s placement matches. He fell to Greeley West’s Ethan Sinclair by pinfall but still finished the season 23-8 overall.
Erie was in solid position to finish in fourth place as a team ahead of their two finalists Saturday night.
Gardner ends dominant season at third
Lyons’ Jaden Gardner might be young as a sophomore but, after finishing his season with a third-place medal and 4-1 mark at 2A’s 152-pound bracket, his future looks bright.
Gardner won a 5-0 decision Saturday against Rangely’s Zane Varner to finish up 44-6 overall this season.
Another Lion to hit the mats, Ashley Booth wrapped up her freshman year with Mead in fifth place, gaining a 9-5 deciions over Lamar’s Crystalyn Felan for her 34th victory of the year. She went 4-2 at Ball Arena this weekend.
Bach, Harris hold steady
Holy Family’s Brayden Bach was noted as a contender at 3A 106s all year long, and on Satruday he proved he belonged. Finishing with a 43-11 record, Bach nailed down third place in mature fashion en route to a 2-0 victory over La Junta’s Elijah Montalvan.
For Broomfield’s Hunter Harris at 4A 160s, it was all about experience in two tough consolation matches Saturday. Harris won decisions of 5-4 and 5-3, respectively, over Loveland’s Mason Moskalski and Pueblo West’s Zach Kottenstette to finish at 31-13 for the year.
Representatives from Holy Family, Boulder, Monarch, Mead, and Broomfield rounded out area placers Saturday afternoon.
Holy Family’s Abram Moore finished in fourth place at 3A 220s to end the season 34-6, while Monarch’s Jimmy Grace lost a tough 4-3 decision to settle for fourth at 5A 285s.
In addition to Berg’s fourth-place, Mead’s Leister Bowling (fifth at 4A 152s) and Jake Glade (sixth, 4A 138s) wrapped up their seasons with podium finishes.
Morgen Watt and Max Ziegler found themselves in fifth-place matches Saturday, with Watt winning his bout at 4A 195s. Ziegler secured a winning record for the season with her sixth-place finish in girls’ 215s.
Other sixth-place finishes went to Joey Airola of Boulder — he couldn’t wrestle Saturday because of injury — and the MoHi tandem of Brayden Legge (5A 120s) and Zach Ferrera (5A 195s).