Grand Junction qualifies five wrestlers for state
WESTMINSTER — In Dylan Reed’s eyes, the pressure was off going into Saturday night’s 215-pound regional title match.
The Grand Junction senior had already accomplished the hard part, forging his way into the Class 5A state wrestling tournament for the first time. His finals match against Lakewood’s Joey Garcia was simply the icing on the cake.
Reed used four takedowns to take care of Garcia, winning his first regional title by a 9-3 decision. Teammates Dylon Thompson (119) and Jessie Hoffschneider (145) also won titles as the Tigers placed fourth overall in the 5A Region 2 tournament at Westminster High School.
In all, Grand Junction qualified five individuals for state, which gets under way Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
“It’s definitely a big monkey off my back going through this season,” Reed said. “It’s the ultimate goal … it’s just good to get this stress over with, finally getting there.”
Central placed third overall and qualified six individuals for state but came up short in three regional finals. Pomona won the regional championship with 270 points, followed by Rocky Mountain at 174, Central at 151 and Grand Junction at 140.5.
“I’m pretty happy with it,” Warriors coach Laurence Gurule said. “Everyone gave it their best effort, and six is nothing to cry about.”
Thompson got the ball rolling early in the evening for Grand Junction with his 3-0 decision over Pomona’s Austin Marvel. An escape with one minute, 14 seconds remaining in the third period was the first point of the match, and Thompson added a takedown 35 seconds later.
“Once I got that one point I was happy,” Thompson said. “But I knew I still had to wrestle. Any time he could have taken me down.”
The title for the Tigers was sandwiched in the middle of four for the Panthers, who claimed six titles and qualified 11 for state.
Both Thompson and Hoffschneider had to defeat a wrestler from Central in the semifinals to reach the title match. Hoffschneider, who edged Central’s Willy Holdren 3-1 in the semis, had a much easier time in dispatching Pomona’s Darrick Chavez 9-1 in the finals. The junior improved to 42-0 on the season.
Joining the trio at state are senior Kamron Medina, who fell 3-1 in the 135-pound final to Northglenn’s Vance Feliciano, and senior Chase Arrieta, who placed third at 125.
Central’s Anthony Feller dropped a 4-2 decision in the 130-pound final to Pomona’s Ray Robledo; Zach Short took second at 152, falling 4-1 to Pomona’s Justin Frazer; and Kyle Jamison was pinned in 5:07 at heavyweight by Columbine’s Tony Campton.
Feller, who knocked off top seed Adam Barela of Fort Collins in the quarterfinals, was still happy with his performance.
“I’m pretty pumped. This is going to be my first time going to state,” Feller said. “It makes me one step closer to my goal of being a state placer.”
Joining Feller, Short and Jamison are Oscar Ruiz, who placed fourth at 103; Holdren, who took third at 145; and Aaron Wallway, who was fourth at 189. It will be the first state appearance for Ruiz, Wallway and Jamison.
Class 5A Region 4: Fruita Monument 103-pound freshman Ian Konrad qualified for state to lead the Wildcats to a 12th place finish.
Konrad took fourth place and had to win a wrestleback. He is the Wildcats’ only state qualifier.
“I’m disappointed, but I would’ve been more disappointed if we lost the wrestleback and sent no one to state,” Fruita coach Dan Van Hoose said.
Dallas Bernal placed fifth at 152 pounds and Ryan Barakat took fifth at 130 pounds. Neither wrestler got a wrestleback.
Steven Tausch placed sixth at 145 pounds.