Wrestlemania begins

District 51 schools all advance wrestlers into state quarterfinals

Central’s Jacob McClaskey tries to pin his opponent Thursday in the 106-pound first-round match at the Class 4A state wrestling tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver. McClaskey didn’t get the pin, but he won by major decision, 13-0. McClaskey was one of five Warriors to advance to today’s quarterfinals.



Central 132-pounder Andrew Bench pinned Cole Hernandez in 5 minutes, 36 seconds Thursday in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Bench was one of five Warriors to advance to today’s quarterfinals.



Central High School’s wrestling team picked a great time to be competing at its highest level of the season.

Thursday, the Warriors moved five of the eight wrestlers they qualified for the Class 4A state championships into today’s quarterfinals — with three of those wins by convincing margins. Should the Warriors continue their winning, they’ll be in position to do what they sought to do when the tournament ends Saturday night.

“We’re really happy with this showing,” Central coach Laurence Gurule said after the 4A Region 4 tournament in Montrose last weekend. “We fully expect to bring home some medals from the state tournament.”

Central 182-pounder Weston Holdren gave the Warriors a handful of quarterfinalists with his come-from-behind victory, scoring on a reversal against Gerardo Arellano of Greeley Central in the final 10 seconds for a 5-3 decision.

Central would have had seven in the quarterfinals if it not for a last-second score from Julian Herrera of Kennedy, who defeated Tanner Hickey 5-3 victory at 160 pounds, and a 3-2 win by Elias Espinoza of Pueblo South over Central’s Paul Salazar.

Many of the Warriors’ results were much less dramatic, including a 13-0 major-decision for 106-pounder Jacob McClaskey and a second-round pin by Riley Garner-Orr at 138. Andrew Bench added his own dramatic victory, advancing at 132 with a pin of Cole Hernandez at 5:36.

E.J. Barrera, the fourth seed at 170, won by forfeit after his first-round opponent, Mason Repshire of Canon City, didn’t make weight.

Palisade finished Day 1 in 10th place in the team standings with 13.5 points — just ahead of Central’s 13 — after four of its wrestlers advanced to the quarterfinals. Jaggar Wade, who lost to McClaskey in the 106-pound regional final in Montrose, won by technical fall over Cheyenne Mountain’s Ray Duron.

Needing little time to finish their matches were Isaac Maestas (160) and Terrance Williams (195), who each won with first-round pins. Austin Bernal held on against Pueblo Centennial’s Chandler Livingston for a 4-2 win.

In Class 5A, Grand Junction advanced seven of its 10 qualifiers to the quarterfinals. That solid showing left the Tigers in a position early on to compete for the team title, with their 25.5 points trailing only Brighton (31), Pomona (28.5) and Poudre (26).

Brighton, which came into the tournament with a tournament-high 12 qualifiers, has nine remaining in the championship bracket. Pomona, the top-ranked team in 5A throughout the season, has eight, and Poudre advanced nine of its 10 qualifiers past the first round.

Both of Grand Junction’s top-seeded wrestlers, Dylan Martinez (132) and Josiah Rider (145) needed a combined 1:14 to pin their first-round opponents. Also winning by pin was Dawson Collins at 106 pounds, Shawn Garcia (220) and Tyren Castonguay.

Fruita Monument’s Keegan Bailey advanced to the quarterfinals at 195 with a pin of Kaelin Chin of Overland.

Daniel Van Hoose (138) dropped into the consolation bracket, falling 8-6 to Estevan Maldonado of Arvada West. Remington McLean (120) also lost in the first round.

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