State Championship Preview – 4A/5A

Pueblo County's Brendon Garcia can make history by becoming the state's 22nd four-time state champion.

Three wrestlers will look to make history and join Colorado’s most elite prep wrestling club by becoming four-time state champions tonight.

Pueblo County’s Brendon Garcia can be Colorado’s 22nd, Greeley Central’s Andrew Alirez can be the 23rd, and Ponderosa’s Cohlton Schultz can be the 24th to achieve immortality — something that has never been accomplished by more than one wrestler in a given year.

Get ready to stand up and cheer, Colorado, no matter what the results this evening.

Now here’s a look at each championship match in 4A and 5A. Let’s kick things off once again with the only song that matters.

Class 4A

106 – Brady Parker (Windsor) 22-2 vs. Dominick Castro (Pueblo Centennial) 43-7

In his first full varsity season, Windsor junior Brady Parker makes the state finals. He’ll look to kick off a magical night for the Wizards, while Pueblo Centennial sophomore Dominick Castro, also making a trip to the final in his state debut, hopes to help send retiring coach Gary Adamson out on a high note.

113 –  Brendon Garcia (Pueblo County) 36-4 vs. Xavier Espinoza (Pueblo East) 20-6

Brendon Garcia is quick, strong, and technically sound. That’s why he’s going for his fourth state championship. To be the 22nd four-timer in state history, the Pueblo County senior will have to defeat cross-town rival Xavier Espinoza of East, who is making his first championship appearance.

120- Will VomBaur (Windsor) 40-2  vs. Malachi Contreras (Mountain View) 41-3

The Wizards boast five finalists, three of whom are going for their third state titles. VomBaur, a senior and an Air Force commit, aims to go out on top with his third championship medal. Contreras, the lone finalist for the Mountain View Mountain Lions, hopes to win one of his own.

Discovery Canyon’s Patrick Allis goes for his second state title tonight.
126 – Patrick Allis (Discovery Canyon) 38-1 vs. Ryan Roth (Pueblo East) 36-4

The rematch of last weeks’ regional final, this one promises to be an entertaining clash for the title. Allis is a defending champion looking to bring home title No. 2 and won the earlier meeting in decisive fashion (11-5). Roth is a two-time runner-up — as a freshman in 3A (DHPH) and again last year (4A, Pueblo East) — hungry for that top podium spot.

132 – Dominick Serrano (Windsor) 41-0  vs.  James Ruona (Canon City) 37-4

Dominick Serrano has never lost a match in Colorado high school competition. The junior, a Nebraska commit, can keep his unblemished record in tact while also positioning himself for history should he win his third consecutive championship tonight. Ruona, a multiple-time placer for the Tigers, looks to halt that history and claim his first title.

138 –  Darren Green (Broomfield) 42-4 vs. Aaden Valdez (Pueblo East) 45-3

A late penalty point kept Valdez from claiming the top spot on the podium a year ago. He says that loss is what has motivated him to this, another trip to the state finals in a year that his team is soaring to the team title. Darren Green has also tasted the bitterness of a runner-up finish, and he owns a win over Valdez from earlier this season.

145 – Jaxon Garoutte (Pueblo County) 40-2 vs. Cole Hernandez (Pueblo Centennial) 46-2

Pueblo County’s Jax Garoutte is on a mission after coming close to his first title a year ago, and the junior pushed his way into his second straight final with a one-point win in the semis. Now he’ll meet another Steel City grappler, Centennial’s Cole Hernandez — the grandson of coach Gary Adamson with plenty of motivation on his side as well.

152 – Andrew Alirez (Greeley Central) 32-0 vs. Trevor Singleton (Pueblo County) 32-8

The second opportunity to crown a four-timer will come here, as Greeley Central’s Andrew Alirez, a Northern Colorado commit, looks to cap his remarkable run by winning his fourth state championship. Alirez says he loves to show the crowd the product of all the hard work he’s put in behind the scenes, something he’s put on display quite well over the years. Pueblo County’s Trevor Singleton will have an upset on his mind as he looks to deliver a title for the Hornets.

Greeley Central’s Andrew Alirez
160 –  Christopher Fasano (Pueblo County) 41-0 vs. KJ Kearns (Coronado) 32-2

Fasano is another Hornet looking for that first elusive title after coming up just short a year ago. Fasano brings his unbeaten record to his second straight final, where he meets Coronado’s KJ Kearns in a remath of last week’s regional final that was won by Fasano.

170 – Drake Engelking (Longmont) 27-1  vs. Cody Eaton (Windsor) 38-5

Drake Engelking is another UNC-bound local athlete with an impressive resume. The Longmont senior looks to put a stamp on his prep days with a second state title tonight. He’ll face Windsor’s Cody Eaton, one of five Wizard finalists, who seeks to win his first championship.

182 – Isaiah Salazar (Windsor) 42-0 vs.  Jayson Davis (Pueblo County) 36-7

In a rematch of last year’s state final, Pueblo County’s Jayson Davis aims for redemption in his quest for a state title in his senior campaign.

On the other side is the third Wizard seeking a third championship: Isaiah Salazar, an unbeaten junior who won his first title at Eaton (3A) before defeating Davis to win the title with Windsor a year ago.

195 – Zion Freeman (Pueblo East) 37-0 vs. Nico Gagliardi (Cheyenne Mountain) 37-6

Pueblo East has six finalists, four of which have made the final only to finish second before. Among them is Freeman, who has been nothing short of stellar in his quest for redemption this season. Freeman, a four-time placer, brings an unbeaten record into his second state final, and looks to go out in style with a championship. Gagliardi, a freshman, is making his first championship appearance in his first try and got there will three straight pins.

220 – Dominic Robles (Pueblo East) 36-4 vs. Gage Pruitt (Canon City) 28-10

Robles is another Eagle on redemption road, looking to climb that final podium spot after a second place finish last year. He got back to the final with two falls and a major decision, while Pruitt comes into his first finals match with a pair of decisions and a fall under his belt.

285 – Andy Garcia (Pueblo East) 24-0 vs. Tyler Carpenter (Broomfield) 29-6

Is there more history in the works at heavyweight? Pueblo East’s Andy Garcia can take one step closer to his own quest for a four-peat on Saturday night. The junior seeks his third state championship, a feat never before accomplished by an East wrestler. Standing in the way is Broomfield’s Tyler Carpenter, a junior with three first-period falls — including one in six seconds and another in 17.

Class 5A

106 – Kenny Sailas (Brighton) 42-1 vs. Joey Airola (Boulder) 34-5

Kenny Sailas has been barreling toward the state finals since his third-place finish as a freshman a year ago. Now he’s there, and he’ll take on Boulder’s Joey Airola, a freshman with high aspirations and talents.

113 – Vince Cornella (Monarch) 36-3 vs. Armando Garcia (Denver East) 37-6

Vince Cornella is back in the final and looks to take the second step toward joining the four-timers’ club. The sophomore from Monarch will take on Denver East’s Armando Garcia, a sophomore who upset two of the regional champs on his side of the bracket.

120- Jaron Mahler (Ponderosa) 37-8 vs. Daniel Cardenas (Pomona) 33-7

Everywhere you look in this year’s state finals, there’s bound to be an underclassman making a march toward history. Here, there are two — Pomona freshman Daniel Cardenas and Ponderosa sophomore Jaron Mahler. Mahler made his way to the final with overtime wins over two returning finalists — Castle View’s Adrian Marquez in the quarters and Grand Junction’s Dawson Collins (last year’s state champ) in the semis. Cardenas, on the other hand, has been remarkably dominant for a freshman. The Panther has picked up three falls, all in the first period, to make the final in his first attempt.

126 – Wyatt Yapoujian (Pomona) 24-4 vs. Mosha Schwartz (Ponderosa) 42-6

Two of the most accomplished wrestlers who have yet to win a Colorado state title meet for that honor tonight. Yapoujian, a three-time placer and returning runner-up, takes on Schwartz, a placer in Colorado as a freshman who returns to the state after a two-year absence. One will win their first title in what is sure to be an electric match.

132 – Justin Pacheco (Pomona) 31-6 vs. Randy Myers (Castle View) 19-5

Pacheco is Air Force-bound, but first he seeks to win his second state title. One of three Panthers in the final, Pacheco takes on Castle View’s Randy Myers, a sophomore making his second trip to the podium and first trip to the final.

Fabian Santillan of Grandview drives through a takedown Thursday in first round Class 5A action.
138 – Fabian Santillan (Grandview) 47-3 vs. Joshua Deaguero (Adams City) 29-6

Fabian Santillan aims to win his second straight state title before he sets his sights on Stanford. Deaguero, who comes from a family of Adams City champions, found redemption after a third-place regional finish and seeks to win his first state title.

145 – Antonio Segura (Regis Jesuit) 35-8 vs. Joey Joiner (Legacy) 35-12

Segura turned in the upset performance of the tournament — possibly even the decade — when he scrambled and pinned three-time state champion Theorius Robison in Friday night’s semifinals. Now Segura, a sophomore, looks to complete his spectacular weekend with a title. On the other side is Legacy’s Joey Joiner, a junior angling for his first title as well.

152 – Austin McFadden (Prairie View) 42-4 vs. Tyson Beauperthuy (Doherty) 38-2

Austin McFadden has been as impressive impressive all season, and his momentum has carried into the weekend and resulted in a state finals appearance. McFadden now faces off with Doherty’s Tyson Beauperthuy, a junior with high accolades of his own.

160 – Austin Kelchen (Douglas County) 31-7  vs. Marquez Salazar (Adams City) 35-8

Douglas County’s Austin Kelchen was the cardiac kid in the semis, winning a 6-4 sudden victory decision to reach his first state championship match. His opponent has also done whatever it takes, as Marquez Salazar won his first three matches by a combined four points to make his first finals appearance.

170 – Kai Blake (Cherry Creek) 44-3 vs.  Jay Skalecki (Grand Junction) 27-4

It was only fitting that Blake and Skalecki, who have met on numerous occasions throughout the years, meet for the 2019 state championship. Blake has won the two most recent meetings in sudden victory, including a 3-1 win in last week’s regional final.

182 –  Jake Welch (Valor Christian) 38-2 vs. Franklin Cruz (Pomona) 35-9

Valor’s Jake Welch made the leap into the state finals this season, scoring two pins and a major decision to get to this point. On the other side is Pomona’s last of three finalists, Franklin Cruz, a sophomore with three pins in the tournament who is looking to join the Pomona state champions’ club.

195 – Alec Hargreaves (Rocky Mountain) 35-3 vs. Keegan Bailey (Fruita Monument) 47-3

Junior Alec Hargreaves, last year’s runner-up, is back in the final and looking to take the next step in his quest to become a state champion. Standing in his way is Keegan Bailey, the Fruita Monument senior who has racked up an impressive 47-win season.

220 – Hunter Tobiasson (Grand Junction) 41-0 vs. Sam Hart (Cherokee Trail) 39-6

Another runner-up looking for redemption, and one of two Grand Junction finalists, Hunter Tobiasson looks to end his senior campaign unbeaten and with a shiny, new commemorative coin-flipper. Cherokee Trail’s Sam Hart has been on a mission of his own with two pins and a major decision.

285 – Cohlton Schultz (Ponderosa) 45-0 vs. Colin Lavell (Legend) 42-7

Here we go. The third of three potential four-timers, Ponderosa’s Cohlton Schultz seeks to become the only wrestler to accomplish that feat from the 220/285-pound weight classes.

Schultz, an Arizona State commit and a cadet World Champion, can bring Pepsi Center to its feet with one last stunning performance. Looking to halt the Cohl Train’s quest for history in its tracks is Legend’s Colin Lavell, who made his way to the final with three pins.

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.