All-time career wins leader Kyle Cisneros leads dangerous Jefferson into Class 3A state wrestling tournament15 Feb 2017
EDGEWATER — Jefferson senior Kyle Cisneros is focused on what’s right in front of him, and usually that’s another wrestler. By living in the moment, the Colorado School of Mines commit believes he has the best chance in his pursuit of another individual state championship. Along the way he’s shattered the state record for all-time career wins. When Cisneros did just that, in his second victory en route to his third regional championship last weekend, he found out from the P.A. announcer, just like most of the fans in the stands. “He doesn’t get caught up in rankings or any of the other hype,” said Jefferson coach Oscar Fonseca, who is also Kyle’s stepfather. “When he broke the record, he didn’t know until it was announced. He goes about his business every day, in school and in the room.”
Cisneros, who wrestles at 132 pounds, now has 173 career victories, breaking the Colorado High School Activities Association record of 170 set by Bennett’s Josh Miller. Niwot senior Tommy Stager, a favorite to earn another title in Class 4A at 145 pounds, also broke Miller’s mark at regionals and sits one victory behind Cisneros heading into the state tournament, which begins Thursday at the Pepsi Center. But to understand how Cisneros climbed to such heights, one has to rewind back a few years, when his older brother, Aaron Cisneros, became the first state champion in Jefferson history by winning a title at 126 in 2013. Aaron and his fellow seniors that year set the mark of dedication and intensity in the wrestling room that season, and it rubbed off on younger wrestlers in the program.
Now, that grit is being passed along again. In addition to Cisneros, Jefferson crowned four other regional champions last weekend: freshman Jimmy Ramirez III (120), freshman Nick Gallegos (138), senior Brandon Onofre (152) and senior Oscar Lopez (220). Along with Cisneros, Onofre (Mines commit) and Lopez (Colorado Mesa commit) make up the team’s three seniors who are passing down a new legacy. “This group really learned from the group ahead of them, led by Kyle’s older brother Aaron, because he and his teammates set the tone on how to work out and how to do well in school by taking care of the little things,” Fonseca said. “Now this team has kept it going, and they’ve raised the bar. So they’re leaving a lot behind for other talented kids coming up, and I don’t feel like we’re going to skip a beat after they leave.”
And though 20 Class 3A teams have equal to or more than Jefferson’s five qualifiers—including favorites such as Alamosa (12) and Valley (9)—Fonseca believes his team has an outside chance at the program’s first-ever team title. A top-five finish, something the program has never done, is the definitive goal. “In Class 3A, there’s not a team like Pomona or Pueblo County that’s going to run out in front, and who knows what our five guys could do because I think 100 points will win it this year,” Fonseca said. “And I think if they wrestle the way they’re capable of, we could have all five in the finals.”
Cisneros, if crowned again, will graduate as CHSAA’s all-time wins leader regardless of Stager’s performance. He’s not worried about the record at this point. He knows his significance within the program is cemented. But, he certainly like to become the first two-time champion in school history—and possibly lead the Saints to a Cinderella team finish. “The most important thing with me has been to be a positive influence on our underclassmen—showing them what to do, always being the first one done with sprints, things like that,” Kyle Cisneros said. “That mentality has trickled down, and it’s why this weekend I think that we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”