State Championship Preview – 2A/3A

Carlos Tarin of Wray (right) looks to win his second state title on Saturday night.

The state finals are upon us, which means we are in for another unforgettable night at Pepsi Center. Let’s take a quick look at each of the championship matches in classes 2A and 3A before the action begins.

(But first, let’s get pumped up with the only state finals hype music that matters)

Class 2A

Rye’s Cole Miller (106) can become the school’s first-ever state champion.
106 – Cole Miler, Rye (23-4) vs. Seth McFall, Fowler (37-4)

Seth McFall is back in the finals and looking to end his prep run as a two-time state champion. Cole Miller aims to become Rye’s first-ever state wrestling champion.

113 – Cade Rockwell (Wray) 43-4 vs. Michael Atencio (Rye) 33-0

Cade Rockwell and the Eagles are soaring to a second straight team title. He wants to put an exclamation on the weekend with his second individual title. But if all goes according to plan for Atencio and the T-Bolts, he could become the second champ in school history.

120 – Dillon Jaramillo (Rocky Ford) 33-4 vs. Trey Geyer (Cedaredge) 35-3

Jaramillo and Geyer both have a state championship under their respective belts — Jaramillo in 2017 and Geyer in 2018. One of them will become a two-timer tonight.

126 – Eyan Chavez (Centauri) 23-7 vs. Oran Huff (Lyons) 33-8

The brother of two-time state champion Joe Chavez of Alamosa (in the 3A finals at 126), freshman Eyan Chavez began the season as a Moose before moving to Centauri. Now he’s in the final seeking to continue the Chavez championship pedigree against Lyons’ Oran Huff, who has led the charge during the Lions’ recent surge.

132 – Anthony Aldretti (John Mall) 29-9 vs. Sergio Campos (Hotchkiss) 29-4

Aldretti scored a dramatic win in the semifinals over Holly’s Austin Crum to make his first final. Campos was a 2017 finalist who seeks to achieve redemption and stand atop the podium.

138 – Wesley VanMatre (John Mall) 42-4 vs. Tyler Collins (Wray) 50-1

Reaching 50 wins is an impressive feat in and of itself. But Wray’s Tyler Collins only needs his hand raised one more time to become a state champion. His opponent knows a thing (actually two) about winning in the state finals. John Mall’s VanMatre seeks to become a three-time champ and keep his quest for history alive.

145 – Tannen Kennedy (Meeker) 43-1 vs. Zach Martin (Centauri) 43-7

Centauri is pushing for a team trophy, thanks in part to Zach Martin’s march to the state final. He’ll square off with Meeker’s Tannen Kennedy, a runner-up last year with the top podium spot on his mind.

152 – Louis Aguilar (Burlington) 35-3 vs. Ethan Burns (Holly) 29-7

Burns’ run to the 152-pound state final shows the unpredictability of the state tournament and the importance of wrestling one match at a time. The Wildcat junior placed fourth at his region a week ago, only to arrive at Pepsi Center and go on a tear, even pinning his region’s champ in the semis. Aguilar has been equally impressive, scoring two pins and an 8-2 decision en route to the final.

160 – Cade Hillman (Wray) 45-5 vs. Micah Hertrich (Buena Vista)

The third of four Wray finalists, Hillman has been on a mission all weekend long. Hertrich made the final after emerging from a topsy-turvy semi. Both will make the Parade of Champions walk for the first time.

170 –  Jace Logan (Soroco) 40-1 vs. Carlos Tarin (Wray) 43-2

Logan has been here before — three times. He’s come up short before — three times. In his fourth trip to the final, the Soroco senior looks to win that long coveted state title. Tarin has also been here before, topping Logan in last year’s championship match. The rematch is sure to be exciting.

182 – Will Gabriel (Nucla) 31-3  vs. Hunter Planansky (Hayden) 35-5

Familiar foes meet again in the 182-pound final. Planansky owns a 2-1 lead in the season series over Gabriel, with the most recent win being a 1-0 decision in the regional final. However, none of the meetings this season have been decided by more than two points.

195 – Anthony Felice (Paonia) 30-5 vs.  Jesse Tapia (Rocky Ford) 40-3

Felice and Tapia have been on a collision course all tournament, if not all season. The top two seeds are both wrestling in their first state final — and they meet with potential team positioning on the line.

220 – Jayce Bauer (County Line) 41-0 vs. Taj Van der Linde (Cedaredge) 34-5

Bauer can cap his prep run with an unbeaten season and a state championship. Van der Linde seeks a championship of his own as he hopes to push the Bruins to bring home a team trophy.

285 –  Bennie Chacon (Centauri) 22-4 vs. Levi Peterson (Paonia) 29-6

Chacon has yet to spend a full period on the mat at Pepsi Center this weekend — his first three victories came by pin in a combined 1 minute, 25 seconds. Peterson also pinned his way to the final, including a second-period fall in the semis. Something’s gotta’ give.

Class 3A

106 – Davion Chavez (Alamosa) 39-6 vs. Brady Hankin (Woodland Park) 29-1

The rematch that many have been waiting for all season. Defending champion Davion Chavez looks to win title No. 2, while freshman Brady Hankin — who owns an early-season victory over Chavez — looks to complete an impressive feat in his first season.

113 – Angelo Lozado (Jefferson) 34-11 vs. Toby Gavette (Eaton) 38-5

Eaton is hanging around in the team race, thanks in part to Gavette’s march to the final after placing third in his region. Lozado scored possibly the upset of the 3A tournament, knocking off Alamosa’s returning finalist Elijah DeLaCerda in the semis.

120- Isaiah Gamez (La Junta) 31-2 vs. Ethan Andrade (Lamar) 39-6

Speaking of highly anticipated rematches, this one has potential to be the match of the night in the arena. Gemez and Andrade have battled back and forth in recent weeks, with Andrade winning two of the three season meetings. That includes a win in the regional final — a loss that Gamez looks to avenge on his way to a second straight state championship.

Joe Chavez of Alamosa seeks his third straight state championship.
126 –  Joe Chavez (Alamosa) 45-4 vs.  Jimmy Gonzales (Pueblo Central) 28-4

Gonzales has come close before, but the Wildcat finally broke through to make his first state championship final. Chavez looks to etch his name among Alamosa’s greats by winning his third state championship.

132 – Zane Rankin (Lamar) 41-10 vs. Lucas Comroe (Eagle Valley) 36-5

Rankin, a sophomore, beat top-seeded Andrew Sansburn to reach his first state final for Lamar. Comroe is also angling for his first title, producing two falls and a major decision to get there.

138 – Dylan Yancey (Eaton) 42-5 vs. Isaiah Rios (Valley) 30-1

Rios and Yancey emerged from the top two bracket positions to meet for a highly anticipated state championship final. Rios won the season’s first meeting by way of a major decision — but the two subsequent rematches have gone much differently. Yancey won a 4-3 meeting on Feb. 2, with Rios claiming the rubber match 3-2 just five days later. This time, it’s for all the marbles.

145 – Austyn Binkly (Berthoud) 40-2 vs. Cameron Lucero (Pagosa Springs) 45-1

Berthoud’s Binkly is a defending state champion with his sights set on a second. Lucero, a sophomore, pinned his way to his first championship final. The two have not met this season.

152 – Nick Gallegos (Jefferson) 42-7 vs. Oswaldo Nunez (Brush) 30-6

Nick Gallegos was forced to withdraw from last year’s state tournament due to injuries sustained in a car accident. His impressive comeback now brings him to the state finals for the first time. Nunez, one of two Beetdiggers wrestling for titles, made his first final with an exciting 8-5 decision in the semis.

160 – Jaziah Whaley (Valley) 41-1 vs.  Josh Yancey (Platte Valley) 27-9

Whaley has been among the most dominant wrestlers in the 3A tournament thus far, scoring two pins and a technical fall en route to the final. His opponent Yancey secured a 3-1 win in sudden victory to secure a spot in the championship festivities.

170 – Wyatt Pfau (Brush) 40-3 vs. Ty Garnhart (Eaton) 41-5

A Duke commit, Wyatt Pfau looks to secure his second state championship on Saturday night. He and Garnhart have both secured three pins to get to this point in the tournament.

182 – Nathan Johns (The Classical Academy) 34-1 vs.  Amos Wilson (Glenwood Springs) 48-0

The defending champion takes on the unbeaten challenger. TCA’s Johns looks to win title No. 2, but Glenwood’s Wilson has yet to stumble in his quest for a title of his own. Get the popcorn ready.

195 – Holt Brashears (Salida) 11-0 vs. Abe Leonard (Elizabeth) 34-2

Brashears missed the majority of the regular season but has been unscathed since his return to the mat, making his way to the final with three pins. Leonard has two first-period falls and championship aspirations of his own.

220 – Eli Smith (Salida) 27-1 vs. Cody Ponce (Eagle Valley) 38-5

The second straight Salida Spartan in the state finals, Eli Smith earned redemption from his hiccup in the regional finals a week ago. Now in the final, Smith takes on Eagle Valley’s Cody Ponce, a junior looking to make it to the top step on his first trip to the state podium.

285 – Logan Thompson (Alamosa) 40-6 vs. Emanuel Munoz-Alcala (University) 37-3

The Mean Moose can put a stamp on their 13th team state title by tonight, and the exclamation mark would be a win for the heavyweight. Thompson looks to win his first state title for Alamosa, but standing in his way is University’s Emanuel Munoz-Alcala — who upset Lamar’s Sy Spitz 2-0 in the semis.

Nick Jurney
About Nick Jurney 151 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.