It’s been a long, cold winter break without wrestling, hasn’t it? Fortunately, the action heats right back up this weekend with a fairly full slate of action on mats around the state and beyond. In this edition of the Five Count, the first of 2019, we glance at the tournaments to watch for week five as well as some of the top questions/storylines to keep an eye on between now and February.
But first, our heartfelt condolences go out to the families, friends, teammates, classmates of Kaden Currier and Avory Kvale, two Discovery Canyon High School athletes who died in an car crash on Dec. 27. We are all thinking of the Currier, Kvale, and Thunder families during this difficult time. Links to fundraising accounts to support the families can be found here and here.
1: Doc Buchanan
Clovis, Calif., is once again the site of one of the very best in-season prep competitions in all the land. Known for awarding tournament champions with a one-of-a-kind trophy — a Cowboy hat adorned with a Cliff Keen headband — the Doc B brings together top talent from all across the nation. That includes nationally ranked teams such as #3 Bergen Catholic (NJ), #10 Buchanan (Calif.), #13 Clovis and #16 Clovis North (Calif), among others.
Some of Colorado’s finest will also be representing at Doc B, including last year’s outstanding wrestler Cohlton Schultz (5A #1, 285) and the Ponderosa Mustangs.
Fresh off a fourth Reno TOC title, Schultz leads the charge as a Doc B favorite in the heavyweight division once again. Other Coloradans in attendance include:
- Brush (3A #5)
- Douglas County
- Grandview (5A #2)
- Jefferson (3A #2)
- Longmont (4A #10)
- Monarch (5A #5)
- Pomona (5A #1)
- Ponderosa (5A #4)
- Regis Jesuit
- Rocky Mountain (5A #7)
Pomona’s Theorius Robison (145) also looks to nab another cowboy hat from the Doc B after winning the title last year at 132. Teammate Wyatt Yapoujian (3rd, 106) also placed last year, as did Longmont’s Drake Engelking (2nd, 170). As always, the action can be followed live on FloWrestling throughout the weekend.
2 (TWOOOOOOO): Bobby “Hawk” Martinez Colt Classic
The second half of the season officially kicks off this week, and there’s really no easing into it. Like a wrestler who hits a Granby from their feet, we’re just going to dive right in with some big-time tournament action. Here’s some of what is on deck locally this weekend.
Pueblo South has hosted the Colt Classic for more than 20 years now, and this year’s edition is just as tough as any of its predecessors. Who’s in the mix? Breakout freshman Brady Hankin (3A #1, 106) and Woodland Park, Reno TOC placer Joe Chavez (3A #1, 126) and the top-ranked 3A Mean Moose, and the Colts’ own top-ranked Mac Martinez (4A #1, 106), among others.
South is the only Pueblo representative in the field (though nearby Rye is also in the mix), but don’t let that fool you — this tournament is Steel City tough, through and through.
The full team list includes Adams City, Air Academy, 3A #1 Alamosa, Canon City, Cheyenne Mountain, Falcon, Fountain Ft. Carson, Fowler, Harrison, La Junta, Mountain Vista, Pueblo South, 2A #3 Rocky Ford, 2A #10 Rye, Thomas Jefferson, 2A #9 Trinidad, Valor Christian, and 3A #9 Woodland Park. You can follow the action live on TrackWrestling.
3: Bennett Girl’s Invite
For the second season, Bennett is set to host a girl’s tournament to run in conjunction with the 39th annual Bennett Tiger Invitational. While Eaglecrest (5A #9), Lakewood, and host Bennett duke it out on the boys’ side, keep an eye out on Chatfield’s contingent on the girls’ side. That includes a trio of Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament champs in Savannah Cosme (118), Isabel Garcia 147), and Jaidyn Mueller (161).
4: Eagle Valley Invitational
Lest we forget the action going down on the Western Slope, the Eagle Valley Invite brings together an electric mixture of small schools, large schools and everything in between.
Highlighting the field is defending Class 5A champ Grand Junction, now ranked #3, and the Bruins of Cedaredge, ranked #2 in Class 2A.
As far as weights to watch, the 132-pound division could be of interest. That bracket could feature 2A #1 Sean Dale of Cedaredge and 3A #1 Lucas Comroe of host Eagle Valley.
5: Second Half Storylines
Way back in November, we published our early storylines and way-too-early predictions. As we head down the homestretch, culminating with our annual trip to The Can in February, many of those storylines are starting to heat up. Here are a few more to add to the mix:
- The Pride of Pueblo: The Class 4A team race is as tough as they come. Between defending champion Windsor, current #1 Pueblo East, and winners of three of the past four crowns in #3 Pueblo County, the battle gets more interesting by the week. In Pueblo alone, two of the top three and three of the top ten (#6 Centennial) all compete within the same county borders. After Pueblo County’s resurgent victory at the NCCT, followed by a top-three finish at the Reno TOC, it’s hard not to consider the Hornets a very serious contender (again). Circle the calendars for Jan. 31, when County and East meet in a South-Central League dual clash that is sure to bring a full house of proud Puebloans.
- Phenomenally Fresh: The first half of the season saw a handful of freshman force their way into the state title conversation. There is of course Pomona’s Daniel Cardenas, ranked #1 in 5A at 126, who placed third in Reno. And there’s the previously mentioned Brady Hankin, who beat the defending 3A champ handily early in the season. Those two are just a few of the freshman in the mix — and there are surely many more to come as the season shakes out.
- Dual State Championships: A project that was originally spearheaded by Pueblo West coach Ryan Schumann is going to make its long-awaited debut in February, and it’s going to be pretty darn awesome. For the first time, an official(ish) dual state champion will be crowned for the state of Colorado. The details are scant as of now, but the meet is on the books for Feb. 2. Keep an eye out for more info about the dual championships in the coming weeks.
- The Fight Continues: Of course we can’t go without mentioning the ongoing quest to return Pulstar to its rightful place in the Parade of Champions. We want Pulstar. We love Pulstar.