Reno TOC Preview

It’s that time of year again.

The holidays are in full swing.

School is out for winter break.

And more than 100 teams from across the nation are set to converge in the Biggest Little City in the World.

The 24th edition of the Reno Tournament of Champions begins Friday, and a number of Colorado’s biggest and best are scheduled to compete for holiday joy and national glory.

A dozen Colorado squads are scheduled to be in the field, highlighted by Class 3A No. 1 Alamosa, Class 4A No. 3 Pueblo County, and Class 5A No. 1 Pomona, among others.

Colorado boasts two defending Reno TOC champions — Pueblo County’s Brendon Garcia (113) and Ponderosa’s Cohlton Schultz, two of the state’s studs who aim to win a fourth state title once the calendar flips.

(Note: Colton Yapoujian also won the TOC last year while wrestling at Pomona, though he competed unattached in the Reno TOC college tournament at 157 pounds on Friday).

But first, they’ll get the chance to test their mettle on one of the nation’s premier wrestling stages.

FloWrestling will broadcast the action from Reno all weekend, including the high school and college tournaments (though a subscription is required).

Here’s a full breakdown of the Colorado teams and wrestlers set to compete at Reno TOC this weekend:

Team Breakdowns

Adams City (5A)

Who to watch: 

  • Joshua Deaguero, Adams City (5A #3, state placer)
  • Marquez Salazar, Adams City (5A #4)

Alamosa (3A #1)

Who to watch: 

  • Davion Chavez,  106 (3A #2, 2018 state champ)
  • Elijah DeLaCerda, 113 (3A #1, 2x state placer)
  • Joe Chavez, 120 (3A #1, 2x state champ)
  • Eyan Chavez, 132 (3A #5)
  • Tyler Kenison, 138 (3A #3, 2x state placer)
  • Kolten Hillis, 152 (3A #2, state placer)
  • Austin Trujillo, 220 (3A #6)
  • Logan Thompson, 285 (3A #2, state placer)

Alamosa is one of the pioneers when it come to Colorado teams traveling out-of-state to challenge some nationally recognized in-season competition. Coach Ramstetter has been bringing his squad to the Reno TOC for years, and the Mean Moose have brought back a fair amount of hardware in their travels.

In fact, the Moose even became the first Colorado team to win the high school division when they captured the team title in 2006 thanks in part to individual championships won by Josh Hensley and Sonny Yohn.

But that was then, and this is now — and now the defending Class 3A champs have another opportunity to make some national noise.

Broomfield (4A #4)

Who to watch: 

  • Ryan Vigil, 106 (4A #2)
  • Darren Green, 138 (4A #3, 2x state placer)
  • Bryant Walker, 220 (4A #2, state placer)

Grandview (5A #2)

Who to watch: 

  • Alex Santillan, 126 (5A #2, state placer)
  • Fabian Santillan, 138 (5A #1, 2018 state champ)
  • Matt Frye, 138 (5A #6)
  • Dylan Ranieri, 152 (5A #1, 2x state placer)
  • Brice Hartzhheim, 182 (5A #6)
  • Joe Renner, 195 (5A #2, state placer)

One of four top-five teams from Colorado’s Class 5A in the Reno field, Grandview has the firepower to make a real run this weekend.

Fabian Santillan, the Stanford Cardinal commit, already has one Reno TOC championship (and another finals appearance) under his belt — you might even remember his incredible cartwheel takedown that helped him knock off Pomona’s Colton Yapoujian on his way to the 2016 Reno crown:

Expect the Bros. Santillan and the Wolves to flip the competition upside-down over the course of the weekend.

Hinkley (5A)

Who to watch: 

  • Emery Bemis, 170
  • Aaron Coats, 182
  • Martin Renteria, 285

Jefferson (3A #2)

Who to watch: 

  • Angelo Lozado, 113 (3A #2)
  • Daniel Soto, 120 (3A #5)
  • Andrew Sansburn, 138 (3A #2, state placer)
  • Zander Condit, 145 (3A #3, 2x state placer)
  • Nicholas Gallegos, 152 (3A #1, state placer)

Jefferson is a young, but talented team that is not afraid to level-up its schedule— which is apparent by the fact that the team is making its first trip to the Reno TOC. Lozado (4th), Soto (8th), Sansburn (6th), Condit (5th), and Gallegos (5th) are fresh off podium performances at the Northern Colorado Christmas tournament, which should prove to be a worthy tune-up.

Legacy (5A #6)

Who to watch: 

  • Joey Joiner, 145 (5A #5)
  • Grady Funk, 160 (5A #3, state placer)

Monarch (5A #5)

Who to watch: 

  • Dillon Roman, 106 (5A #5)
  • Vince Cornella, 113 (5A #1, 2018 state champion)
  • Aidan Quinn, 145 (5A #3)
  • Keegan Feenstra, 182 (5A #5)
  • Will Ponder, 285 (5A #5)

Vince Cornella captured a 3rd place finish in Reno as a freshman, a mere two months before he went on to win the 5A 106-pound state crown.

This year, he and his squad have already challenged themselves to the max, competing at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman, where Cornella dropped a 2-1 ultimate tiebreaker decision to Ohio State-commit Jacob Decatur.

It doesn’t get much tougher than that. Is Cornella bound for the top spot on the Reno podium this year?

Pomona (5A #1)

Who to watch: 

  • Wyatt Yapoujian, 120 (5A #3, 2x state placer)
  • Daniel Cardenas, 126 (5A #1)
  • Justin Pacheco, 132 (5A #2, 3x state placer, 2017 state champ)
  • Theorius Robison, 145 (4A #1, 3x state champ)
  • Roman Cruz, 152 (5A #4)
  • Franklin Cruz, 182 (5A #2, state placer)

Where to start with the mighty Pomona Panthers? Pomona won the 2016 edition of the Reno TOC on its way to a 2017 Class 5A crown, the same year that Robison himself captured an individual TOC title.

The three-time Colorado state champ is eyeing redemption after a third place finish in Reno a year ago, while Justin Pacheco aims to capture his own title after a runner-up finish a year ago and Wyatt Yapoujian looks to improve on his fifth-place finish.

And then there’s freshman Daniel Cardenas, a nationally-known (and feared) youngster who burst onto the scene with a fifth-place finish at the Super 32 preseason tournament. Cardenas missed out on a placing spot at the Ironman after falling to Ponderosa’s Mosha Schwartz — could the two wrestlers who are so close to one another at home meet again outside of state borders this week?

Ponderosa (5A #4)

Who to watch: 

  • Jaron Mahler, 126 (5A #5)
  • Mosha Schwartz, 132 (5A #1, state placer)
  • Traevin Osborn, 138 (5A #5)
  • Kayden Johnson, 160 (5A #2)
  • Cohlton Schultz, 285 (5A #1, 3x state champion)

Cohlton Schultz has won just about every tournament at every level at this point, including the Reno Tournament of Champions. His most recent accomplishment was winning another Ironman title, and this weekend the Arizona State commit and No. 1 ranked prepster in the nation will set out to win his fourth Reno TOC title.

Schwartz, meanwhile, still sits at No. 1 at 132 but has seen action at 126 pounds, placing eighth at the Ironman at the lower classification. Where will he go this weekend? No matter the bracket, he is sure to be a contender.

Pueblo County (4A #3)

Who to watch: 

  • Brendon Garcia, 113 (4A #2, 3x state champion)
  • Nathan Bonham, 132 (4A #3, 2x state placer)
  • Jax Garoutte, 145 (4A #1, 2x state placer)
  • Trevor Singleton, 152 (4A #5, state placer)
  • Chris Fasano, 160 (4A #1, 3x state placer)
  • Jayson Davis, 182 (4A #2, state placer)
  • Bryce Garcia, 195 (4A #3)

The 113-pound division in Reno is officially on notice.

Brendon Garcia lost his first ever in-season match in the state of Colorado last week — though it did come to an out-of-state opponent. Still, the three-time state champion and University of Wyoming commit fell from the top spot in the On the Mat rankings for the first time in a long time.

While he’s not the type of wrestler to concern himself with rankings, he is the type to get angry — and get better. After a third place finish at the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament, Garcia is going to be a man on a mission as he seeks a second straight Reno TOC title this weekend.

County won the NCCT in impressive fashion a week ago, and the Hornets will certainly look to carry that momentum into Reno. Make no mistake, Pueblo County is a contender at this tournament, with Garcia looking for redemption, Nathan Bonham back in the fold, and both Jax Garoutte and Chris Fasano on impressive tears, this team might even be stronger than it was a week ago.

Pueblo West (4A)

Who to watch: 

  • Nick Wilson, 132 (4A #4, 2x state placer)
  • Hayden Crosson, 152 (4A #3)
  • Dillon Derting, 170 (4A #4, state placer)

You can follow the action from Reno live all weekend on FloWrestling.

Nick Jurney
About Nick Jurney 100 Articles
Nick Jurney is a former wrestler and previously worked as a sports writer at the Pueblo Chieftain. He now works in marketing for Colorado State University in Fort Collins and helps run the Colorado Wrestling Network. You can follow him on Twitter @NVJurney.