Snow has fallen and wrestling rooms across the great state of Colorado turned up the heat, mopped the maps, and officially held practice for the first time on Monday.
Some wrestlers may have already practiced hundreds of takedowns, escapes, and reversals.
Others may have stepped on the scale for the first time since February (much to the chagrin of their coaches).
Others still may not be trading the cleats for the Asics for another week — or longer (again, much to the chagrin of their coaches).
While there will be plenty to dissect and disseminate over the coming weeks here at the Colorado Wrestling Network — from full season previews in each class to podcasts and rankings and a whole lot more — we thought the first official practice of the year would be a great time to look at some pre-pre-season storylines and make some way-too-early predictions.
So without further ado, the Colorado high school wrestling season officially (unofficially) begins right…now.
Many of Colorado’s top talents have already made their collegiate commitments, and the state is producing more Division I prospects than ever before. More blue-chippers will surely be announcing their decisions throughout the next few weeks, but here is an (unofficial) list of wrestlers to watch who have already announced their college plans:
- Justin Pacheco, sr., Pomona — Air Force
- Will VomBaur, sr., Windsor — Air Force
- Cohlton Schultz, sr., Ponderosa — Arizona State
- Colton Yapoujian*, sr., Pomona — Cornell
- Dominick Serrano, jr., Windsor — Nebraska
- Adrian Marquez, sr., Castle View — Northern Colorado
- Andrew Alirez, sr., Greeley Central — Northern Colorado
- Theorius Robison, sr., Pomona — Northern Colorado
- Brendon Garcia, sr., Pueblo County — Wyoming
(*Yapoujian, a two-time Class 5A state champ for the Panthers, announced in August that he planned to forego his senior campaign at Pomona to train in New York.)
Sheesh! And that’s just Division I. What a list, and it’s worth noting the advanced efforts that UNC (and Air Force, for that matter) took to keep some of the top recruits not only in the state, but in the nation, here in Colorado; Alirez, a three-time champ, is Flowrestling’s No. 3 ranked recruit in the country while Robison is No. 11.
[Who’d we miss? Send us an email at email@example.com if you know of another commit that should be on this list]
Pilot (Green) Light
Girl’s wrestling is starting to take off around the country, and Colorado is righteously starting the first of two pilot seasons for the sport here on our home mats. Schools can now host a girls’ team and girls can choose to participate on the the boys’ team or the girls’ team (if offered by their school or at another nearby school, following CHSAA protocol) and therefore participate in a number of girls’ tournaments throughout the season.
The girls’ teams will be made up of 10 weight classes (following the classes set by the NFHS), and an unofficially-official girls’ state tournament is scheduled for February 9, 2019 in Thornton. The pilot season is another major step toward girls’ wrestling becoming a sanctioned sport in the state of Colorado. You go, girls!
For the first time in Colorado High School Activities Association history, we could see four four-time state champions crowned in wrestling in the same night.
How wild is that? Extremely wild — especially considering that there have only been 21 wrestlers to complete the four-peat in the history of the state.
Those who could be vying to reach prep wrestling immortality and, more importantly, get featured on the annual video tribute prior to the state finals at Pepsi Center, include:
- Brendon Garcia, Pueblo County (4A)
- Andrew Alirez, Greeley Central (4A)
- Theorius Robison, Pomona (5A)
- Cohlton Schultz, Ponderosa (5A)
And oh by the way, there’s another fearsome foursome in a group of juniors that is looking to capture a third straight title. That group includes Dominick Serrano (Windsor, 4A), Isaiah Salazar (Windsor, 4A), Andy Garcia (Pueblo East, 4A), and Wesley VanMatre (John Mall, 2A).
It’s way too early to make any predictions. We don’t even know who’s going to be wrestling where or at what weight for sure just yet. So with that being said, let’s make some predictions.
- The new takedown/out of bounds rule is going to help officials make the right call every single time. Or, at least, it will help provide some clarity to the evergreen question of, “What is a takedown?” Maybe. Hopefully.
- Class 4A is going to be extremely fun. Remember how last year’s race came down to literally ONE-HALF of a point? This year’s will be even closer. ONE ONE-HUNDREDTH of a point!
- Coming off an unbelievable run to the Class 2A state crown, Wray is going to win every match by pin. Even the forfeits.
- Get ready to stand up a lot, Pepsi Center crowd. All four potential four-timers are gonna’ do it.
- The incomparable song “Pulstar”, by the incomparable band Vangelis, will return to its rightful place on the throne as the incomparable theme for the Parade of Champions.
Have your own predictions? I want to hear ‘em. Tag @COWrestlingNet on Twitter with your way-too-early predictions — or anything else wrestling-related that you want to talk about. Let’s go!