Here’s a stat for you statisticians out there:
Two schools — Alamosa and Valley — have won the past eight Class 3A state wrestling championships.
That’s either really great, if you’re a wrestler/coach/parent/supporter for either of those teams, or it’s really not great if you’re a wrestler/coach/parent/supporter for any other team in Class 3A.
The fact of the matter is, these two programs are good at winning and bad at sharing. Let’s dive in to the Class 3A preview, dissect some of the returning champions and placers, and dig into a little bit of additional miscellany.
Defending team champion: Alamosa
‘Mo Town has captured 12 state wrestling championships in its storied history, tied with Rocky Ford for the most all-time in Colorado, including four of the past eight (as aforementioned above) in Class 3A and six since the turn of the century.
When you think of Alamosa, you think Sand Dunes, Campus Cafe, and Mean Moose wrestling. Reclaiming the throne from Valley, which had reeled off four straight titles, last year was made possible by a strong junior class that is hungry for more.
Coming back for the Mean Moose on the mat include two-time state champion Joe Chavez, returning frosh state champion Davion Chavez, and two-time placer and 2017 state finalist Elijah DeLaCerda.
Of course, Alamosa is expected to be among the favorites again this year. And in other news, the sky is blue.
Defending Individual Champions
(Name, School, 2018 grade/weight)
- Davion Chavez, Alamosa, fr./106
- Isaiah Gamez, La Junta, so./113
- A.J. Serna, Grand Valley, jr./120
- Joe Chavez, Alamosa, jr./126 (2017 – Centauri, so./120)
- Austyn Binkly, Berthoud, jr./138
- Wyatt Pfau, Brush, jr./152
- Nathan Johns, The Classical Academy, jr./182
Half of last year’s state champions are back to defend their crown (or crowns, in the case of Alamosa’s Joe Chavez). Additionally, five 2018 runner-ups return along with 2017 state champion Jacob Duran from Fort Lupton.
There are no Class 3A wrestlers who are in the mix to become a four-timer (at least not this season or next), but from top-to-bottom, Class 3A might have the highest percentage of returning champions/finalist/placewinners, which will make for a wild ride. Buckle up!
Other Returning Placewinners
These wrestlers also found the podium in 2018 and will be angling for that top spot this season.
(Name, school, 2018 grade, 2018 place)
- Alberto Felthager, Trinidad, fr., 2nd
- Dalton Williams, Berthoud, so., 3rd
- Zach Dooley, Woodland Park, so., 4th
- Santana Hernandez, Weld Central, jr., 5th
- Erik Wyman, Pagosa Springs, fr., 6th
- Kolten Strait, Berthoud, fr., 2nd
- Elijah DeLaCerda, Alamosa, jr., 3rd
- Luke Morrissey, Eagle Valley, jr., 4th
- Johnny Masopust, Florence, so., 5th
- Dylan Tressler, Pagosa Springs, fr., 6th
- Ethan Andrade, Lamar, jr., 2nd
- Jacob Duran, Fort Lupton, so., 3rd
- Zach Loft, Sterling, jr., 6th
- Andrew Sansbum, Jefferson, jr., 3rd
- Lucas Comroe, Eagle Valley, so., 4th
- Cameron Lucero, Pagosa Springs, fr., 2nd
- Dylan Yancey, Eaton, jr., 3rd
- Tyler Kenison, Alamosa, jr., 4th
- Zander Condit, Conifer, so., 5th
- Oswaldo Nunez, Brush, jr., 3rd
- Matthew Broughton, Montezuma-Cortez, jr., 5th
- Kolten Hillis, Alamosa, jr., 5th
- Josh Yancey, Platte Valley, so., 6th
- Jaziah Whaley, Valley, so., 3rd
- Hunter Branson, Holy Family, so., 6th
- Ty Garnhart, Eaton, jr., 5th
- Nick Wellen, Brush, so., 5th
- Abe Leonard, Elizabeth, jr., 6th
- Ernesto Rios, Platte Valley, jr, 6th
- Holt Brashears, Salida, jr., 5th
- Brock Johnson, Berthoud, jr., 6th
- Eli Smith, Salida, jr., 2nd
- Drew Book, Sterling, so., 3rd
- Logan Thompson, Alamosa, jr., 4th
- Daniel Westbrook, Bayfield, jr., 5th
- Jeremy Murano, Eaton, jr., 3rd
- Sy Spitz, Lamar, so., 4th
Notes and Miscellany
With the season right around the corner, it’s the time of year where anything and everything seems possible. Alamosa (six returning placers) could win its lucky number 13(th state championship).
The back-and-forth could continue with Valley (one returning placer) reloading. Or maybe it’s time for a new challenger to ascend to the throne, such as Eaton (three returning placers), Pagosa Springs (three returning placers), or even Berthoud (three returning placers).
In the southeast corner of the state, young Isaiah Gamez has emerged as one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch in the lower weights. Gamez notably went through the gauntlet to capture a fourth-place finish at last year’s Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament — and then the calendar flipped to 2018 and he won every single tournament from there on out. That included pinning his way to the 113-pound finals before winning his first state championship over Berthoud freshman Kolten Strait.
Sound off, Class 3A: what are you most looking forward to this season? Let us know @COWrestlingNet.