State Reflections07 Mar 2017
By Tom Blair - ICW staff
Reflecting on the State Wrestling Tournament these couple past weekends at the Pepsi Center. The stands were full for the parade of champions, which is the two wrestlers in each of the 14 weight classes and the 4 classifications walking in with their coach or their parent for the cross-mat introduction. The tension and excitement was high and the wrestlers were eager to see action on the mats, as once you start to wrestle your training and skills take over. The results whether you win or lose can be seen in your expression and actions immediately following the last whistle of the match.
Looking at some interesting facts on the three-day tournament. The 20th – 4X state champion was crowned as 152 lbs Hunter Willits, Pueblo County took down his 4th title in this his senior year. The six wrestlers looking for their third title all took that giant step and were able to have their arm raised in victory. Five of those wrestlers all left the high school mats for the last time in Colorado – Jacob Rodriguez, Rocky Ford; Johnathan Andreatta, John Mall; Isaiah Delacreda, Alamosa; Jody Sandoval, Ft Lupton and Grant Willits, Pueblo County. While the last wrestler junior Jacob Greenwood, Poudre now has his sights set on earning his fourth title in the 2017 – 2018 season.
There were 20 wrestlers going for their second state title in their career, 15 were able to succeed in that goal. Ending their high school career with 2 state titles - Trenton Schultz, Ponderosa; Brittan Holmes, Peyton; Kyles Cisneros, Jefferson; Aaron Trujillo, Valley; Ricky Ayala, Sheridan; Chris Sandoval, Windsor; Peter Isais, Pine Creek and Myles Wilson, Glenwood. This would leave three wrestlers that can challenge for a 3rd title next year wrestling season. Plus, four wrestlers that will be working for four state titles in the next two years.
As the season ended on Saturday night at the state tournament so did the undefeated season for eight wrestlers – seniors – Chris Sandoval, Windsor; Johnathan Adreatta, John Mall; Myles Wilson, Glenwood Springs; and Trent Schultz, Mtn Vista. The other four undefeated wrestlers for the 2016 – 2017 season were freshman Dominick Serreno, Windsor; junior Malik Heinselman, Castle View; junior Tate Samuelson, Castle View and junior Kaleb Gaebe, Limon.
Another information people missed is the breakdown of wrestlers by class. There were 29 freshmen, 55 sophomores, 99 juniors and 152 seniors that took the podium in the six placement spots. Out of the 56 champions there were 33 seniors, 10 juniors, 8 sophomores and 5 freshmen. The five freshmen have now started their march for four state titles.
In the team titles 5A Pomona became back to back champs – 2016 & 2017; 4A Pueblo County became back to back champs 2016 & 2017; 3A Valley became 4X repeat champs 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017; 2A Rocky Ford claimed its 12th team title after finishing in second place by 1 point last year.
There were several teams which were unable to qualify any wrestlers for the state tournament- 2A / 3 teams, 3A / 5 teams, 4A / 5 teams and 5A / 5 teams.
Three head coaches said goodbye to the coaching ranks as they retired after years of practices, early morning and late evening with their wrestling teams. Giving their wrestlers not only skills that they could use on the mat but also life learning experiences. Guiding them along to their goals for the year or for the four-year careers. Scott Pickert, Berthoud; Steve Gratton, Erie and Jerry Sisneros, Pueblo South all had long history of being seen around the mats and the state tournament.
As the last matches of the evening were over the crowd had dwelled as they were either going out to celebrate or going out to ream amiss about the season. It is just too bad that the team champions and runner-up were raising the trophies to a small group of fans and would get their 15 minutes of fame thru the media. The end of the season came much sooner than one would have wished for as time flew by so quickly this year. Congratulation to all the champions and place winner, plus all those that gave it their all and left it all the mat.