With less than month before the high school wrestling regional tournament, the shortened season’s emphasis on being ready has never been more important.
Only the top two wrestlers from each region will qualify for the 8-person state tournament bracket, which makes the regular-season preparation for regionals a huge priority.
After the first full week of competition, the On The Mat regional rankings are already taking shape. There could still be some jockeying for position and possible shifts in weight classes, but there’s not much time to make those decisions.
In Class 5A, Fruita Monument has three state-ranked wrestlers and two of them are ranked No. 1 in Region 3.
Tyler Archuleta at 126 and Espin Hernandez at 220 are both ranked No. 1 in the region, and Geno Gallegos is ranked third at 106.
Grand Junction also has three state-ranked wrestlers. Returning state champion Kieran Thompson is ranked No. 1 at 145 pounds in Region 4. Cale Moore is ranked No. 1 at 152 and is currently the only state-ranked wrestler in the weight class in the region. Andrew Leyba is ranked second in the region at 120 pounds.
In Class 4A, Montrose, which will compete in the Pueblo Region, has three top-ranked wrestlers: Kamron Algeria (120), Raul Martinez (195) and Brandon Van Wooten (220).
Palisade and Central will compete in the Metro Region.
Central’s Davian Sandoval is rankled No. 2 in the state and No. 2 in the region behind Pueblo County’s Boden White, last year's 120-pound state runner-up.
Jason Pollard of Central is ranked third in the region at 152.
For Palisade, Judah Guajardo, who placed third at state at 120 last year, is ranked No. 2 in the region at 132. Dominic Hargrove of Discovery Canyon is ranked No. 1. He placed fourth last year at 126.
Jacob Lee is ranked fourth in the region at 126 for Palisade.
A total of eight area wrestlers are ranked in the top three in the Class 3A West Region.
Grand Valley heavyweight Hayden Grice is ranked No. 1, as is Eli Miramontes (220) for Delta.
The Panthers have Jeffery Griffith ranked No. 2 in the region at 182 and Ben Koch ranked third at 120. Koch is ranked No. 3 in the state, so the region has the three top-ranked wrestlers in the weight class. Davion Chavez, who placed second at state at 113, is No. 1 in the region followed by Erik Wyman of Pagosa Springs, who placed third at state at 120 last year.
Rifle has three wrestlers ranked in the top three in the region: Alex Guarder (195) and Bryce Rowley (138) at No. 2, and Caleb Gieselman (126) at No. 3.
Grand Valley also has Hector Delacruz (126) ranked No. 3.
In Class 2A, there are nine area wrestlers ranked No. 1 in the West Region and another seven ranked second. The region has three top-ranked wrestlers in the state and region: Traycer Hall (160) and Justin Mattison (170) from Hotchkiss, and Paonia’s Another Miller at 220.
Cedaredge has Lane Hunsberger (120) and AJ Robudoux (138) ranked No. 1 in the region. Heavyweight Derek Sanchez, Adrian Nieto (145) and Ty Walck (160) all ranked No. 2 in the region for the Bruins.
Also ranked second in the region is two-time state champion Trey Geyer at 132. He’s ranked No. 3 in the state with Lyon’s Oran Huff ranked No. 1 in the state and the West Region. Huff defeated Geyer is last year’s 126-pound title match.
Meeker has Colby Clatterbaugh (195) ranked No. 1, and Trae Kennedy (113), Ty Goedert (120) and Kelton Turner (160) all at No. 2 in the region.
Olathe’s Wyatt Masker (182) and Norwood’s Jarrett Sinks (126) are ranked No. 2 in the region.
Rangely has Zane Varner (152) and heavyweight Byron Mackay both at No. 1 in the region.
The regional tournaments are March 5-6 with the state tournament, which will be in Pueblo this year, the following weekend.
All four District 51 girls basketball teams are either ranked or receiving votes in the CHSAAnow.com coaches poll this week.
Fruita Monument's girls held steady at No. 11, and the Central girls moved up from No. 12 to No. 9 in Class 4A. Montrose and Grand Junction each received 14 votes and Palisade nine.
Delta dropped two spots to No. 9 in Class 3A, Cedaredge received one first-place vote and jumped one spot to No. 5 in Class 2A, with Paonia ranked No. 11 after not being in the top 15 last week.
The Montrose boys are No. 10 in Class 4A, with Palisade just out of the top 15, receiving 35 votes. Meeker is No. 10 in Class 2A and De Beque remains No. 1 in Class 1A, with Caprock Academy receiving 16 votes.