There are countless stories that can come out of the state wrestling tournament every year. Some may be obvious while others need to be tracked down.
This year is no different, and while we at Colorado Preps will have our eyes peeled for stories we’re currently unaware of, here’s a quick guide to some of the stories we’ll be watching when the action kicks off Thursday.
Team racing is always fun to watch as it really is a game for everyone when matches kick off on Thursday. In the Class 2A race, Wray is targeting his fifth title in six years. The Eagles are No. 1 in the latest On the Mat standings and should be considered standings favourites. Meeker also ranked highly all season, but the Cowboys fell to North Fork in the team contest at Regionals. Other regional team champions looking to dethrone Wray are Buena Vista and Cedaredge.
Race 3A looks similar as Eaton is looking for its third title in four years, which includes a shared title with Valley in 2020. The defending champions have six fighters ranked in the top four of their respective weight classes. Brush, Severance and Alamosa also won regional team titles last weekend. Mullen, the No. 2 team according to On the Mat, finished second to Severance in Region 3.
Going back to 2016, Southern Colorado teams have won five of the last seven 4A team titles. Pueblo County has two, Pueblo East has two, and Cheyenne Mountain has one. In fact, the only team based north of I-25 and Cimarron St. is Windsor, which won titles in 2018 and 2020. Pueblo East has a very good shot at making a comeback after claiming five regional champions last year. week. Thompson Valley and Windsor battled to a close team contest in Region 4 with the Wizards grabbing the win. Montrose and Mesa Ridge also won team championships.
5A wrestling ranch has been owned by Pomona for most of the past decade, and like John Dutton, the Panthers have no interest in giving any of that land to anyone. The Panthers are shooting for their fifth straight team title and going high by getting their first four-timer in school history in Daniel Cardenas. The Panthers sent 13 wrestlers to regional championship games, where eight won.
While Discovery Canyon took first place in the On the Mat standings in the final weeks of the season, Chatfield remains the team to beat in the women’s team championship race. The Chargers are the only team to win the women’s wrestling title since the sport was first sanctioned for the 2020-21 season. The Chargers have the talent and mystique about them to once again win as champions.
Loveland Johnson seeks history
Morgan Johnson gets the chance to do something no other girl in the state has ever done. The senior is looking for her fourth state title (three officers and one from the CHSAA pilot season in 2019-20). Johnson is likely to receive the accolade of a four-time champion and her prowess on the mat speaks for itself. It’s definitely a storyline worth following for three days.
Juniors looking for the title n. 3
There won’t be a four-time champion crowned in 2023, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a four-time watch. There are six wrestlers total (four boys, two girls) entering their third championship, setting up a night similar to the 2020 state tournament where four wrestlers captured their fourth title.
The six juniors in the running for championship no. 3 are:
- Camp Caleb (Buena Visa, 2A 126)
- D’mitri Garza-Alarcon (Fort Lupton, 3A 138)
- Persaeus Gomez (Pomona, girls 120)
- Ciara Monger (Calhan, girls 235)
- Dale O’Bila (Mullen, 3A 113)
- Jackson Rairdon (Thompson Valley, 4A 120)
An individual wrestling champion can certainly raise a school’s athletic profile. And when a school has won a championship, then suffered a prolonged drought, the pressure can certainly mount.
Coming to the weekend, there are 30 schools that have not claimed an individual wrestling champion in at least 20 years and have at least one wrestler competing this weekend. Looking at the records of some of these wrestlers on the field, it wouldn’t be hard to think that this drought could end for many of these schools. Below we list the school, last year it had an individual champion (along with the champion it won that year) and the wrestlers in the field for that team.
- Arapahoe (2001 – Lewis Delponte): Marek Managers (106), Ryan Grubb (138), Cash Callas (157), Ben Brown (285)
- Central Aurora (1977 – Lewis Sondgeroth): Juan Cooper (157), Van Nawl (165)
- Basalt (1993 – Bill Rose): Brady Samuelson (190), Jose Munoz (285)
- Battle Mountain (200 – Sergio Sanchez): Grady Devins (106)
- North Denver (1993 – Ron Gonzales): Jackie Martinez (165)
- Denver West (1994 – Gabe Sandoval): Alexander Ramos
- Douglas County (2003 – Ian Biggs): Dustin Huber (144), Zach Rusin (285)
- Durango (2000 – Bryson Webber): Ryan Dugan (113), Riley Belt (132)
- Ellicott (1994 – Justin Hudson): Jedrek Howard (150)
- Evergreen (1970 – Rick Rohower): Alejandro Luna (126), Gabe Zimmerer (165), Max Johnson (175), Karl Schuenemann (190), Jack Johnson (215)
- Fairview (1987 – Dean MacArthur): Sam Benton (190), Brock Kolstad (215)
- Hawk (1989 – Ted Gallegos): Robert Joseph Meza III (113), Logan Millikan (144), Javani Majoor (157), Joseph Lovato Bakke (165), Alex Thorhauer (190), Jeremiah Sandiford (285)
- Federico (1997 – Toby Lopez): Santana Leon (126), Wyatt Schust (138), Ricardo Moreno (144), Adrian Casillas (157)
- Harrison (1998 – Brandon Boyd): Diego Watts (175), Antonio Camey-Valdez (285)
- Highlands Ranch (1998 – Keith Sanford): Connor Kennedy (120)
- Horizon (1998 – Antonio Trujillo): Jackson Scott (175), Camden Neil (190), Jordan Harris (215)
- Kennedy (1980 – Don Haddad): Gabriel Small (150)
- Las Animas (1992 – Jake Peterson): Cody Netherton (215)
- Littleton (1966 – Steve Smedley): Disan Tenorio (106), Elias Garcia (120), Luca Suro (138)
- Manitou Springs (2001 – Brandon Pritchard): Wes Reeves (190)
- North Park (1976 – Mauricio Sanchez): Jayden Dailey (126)
- On the ground (1996 – Ryan Miller): Scales James Rada (150)
- Pueblo Centennial (2001 – Craig Singleton): Jason Soto (132), Blake Roberts (165), Adrion Lopez-Vigil (190), Sal Mendoza (215)
- Rangeview (2002 – Roger Baker): Greg Brooks (190)
- Sargent (2000 – Nate Gibson): Nate Gibson (2000)
- Simla (1998 – Chuck Sheldon): Jackson Pfost (132), Adam Shults (175)
- Skylines (1984 – Shawn Johnson): Brody Hufford (106), Calvin Mendez (113), Tobias Pinson (132), Maddox Leggett (175), Rene Perez (285)
- Skyview (1998 – Mike Alvarado): Isaac Ibarra (150)
- Strasbourg (2001 – Matt Krom): Zach Marrero (144), Thomas Devlin (190), Egen Stephens (215)
- Trinidad (1995 – Ken Rivera): Ashten Torres (106), Alex Martinez (120), Eddie Bowman (132), Lawrence Bowman (138), Charles Garcia (165), Jake Armijo (215), AJ Bowman (285)