Top of the Rockies 2020: Recap and Results

Top of the Rockies 2020 recap

It’s hailed as one of the toughest tournaments in Colorado’s prep wrestling regular season. 

And this weekend’s 22nd annual Top of the Rockies at Centaurus High School in Lafayette proved why. 

After all, it’s not everyday that you have three-time state champions wrestling for fifth place and a rematch of the previous Class 4A state championship match going down in the semifinals. Oh, and all of that was just in one of the 14 brackets. 

Plus, the fine folks who put on the tournament chose to grace everyone in attendance for the championship matches with the fine, fine, sounds of Pulstar, the song we all know and love, for the Parade of Champions. What more could you want?! Are you not entertained?! 

Here are a few of the takeaways from this weekend’s TOR, followed by the team scores and weight-by-weight results. 

Pomona is scary good

Daniel Cardenas of Pomona works on top against Poudre’s Dean Noble in the Top of the Rockies championship match

Not that this is breaking news or anything, but the top-ranked team in Class 5A is absolutely legit. The Panthers had a tournament best seven placewinners,  including three champions — Daniel Cardenas (138), Gage Bernall (160) and Franklin Cruz (195). 

All three champions were equally impressive in their own way. Cardenas, a top-ranked defending state champ, scored a tech-fall over No. 3 Dean Noble of Poudre and is one of the reasons why Pomona is set up to defend its team title in February. 

It was the type of team performance that was never really in doubt, as Pomona flexed its depth from top to bottom. But perhaps the scariest part about this team is that they have just two seniors. Teams in 5A have a tall, black-and-red painted hill to climb for many years to come. 

Vince Cornella is that dude

Monarch junior Vince Cornella, already a two-time state champion, just keeps on getting better. Tim Yount mentioned an anecdote that 

Cornella, ranked No. 1 at 126 pounds in 5A, has wanted to wrestle at Cornell University since he was in about fourth grade … he verbally committed to the Big Red in the offseason, and looks every bit the part of a future D1 star.

Cornella stormed through the 126-pound division, including putting on an absolute clinic in the final against second-ranked Dawson Collins, a talented state titlist from Grand Junction. Cornella, looking lean and sharp in every aspect, put Collins on his back in the second and ultimately came away with a 15-3 major decision. If you haven’t had the chance to see this young man wrestle yet, it is highly recommended that you make an appointment soon. 

Green means Gold

It was unfortunate that Darren Green (Broomfield) and Aaden Valdez (Pueblo East) had to meet in the semifinals of the 145-pound bracket, but my goodness did those two put on a show. It was a rematch of last season’s state final, which ended with Green’s hand in the air, and it was six minutes of pure, controlled chaos — and even that wasn’t enough. Everytime it looked like Green might score a takedown, Valdez funked his way out — and then almost, somehow, came away with points of his own. 

The two were deadlocked 1-1 at the end of regulation, bringing on a sudden death overtime period. Ultimately Green got the better end of the final scramble, securing Valdez’s ankles on the edge of the mat while planting his toes in bounds.

It was the type of match that elevates prep wrestling in Colorado to new heights, and one of the reasons why Top of the Rockies is a special tournament every January. Will we get another round of this epic rivalry in a month? What a treat that would be…

But of course, that was the semifinals, and Green still went on to be somehow even more impressive in the final. The Broomfield senior put up a major (18-4) over Monarch’s Max Fredricksmeyer — who himself scored an upset over three-time Class 2A state champion Wesley VanMatre in the quarterfinal round. 

Quick points: 

  • Pueblo East had a pair of champions — freshman Weston Dalton and senior Andy Garcia. Dalton, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, won the 120-pound bracket and firmly proved that he is every bit worthy of that top ranking. Garcia, a three-time state champ, edged Broomfield’s Tyler Carpenter in the final seconds of the heavyweight title match in what was a rematch of last year’s state final — and a potential preview of this year’s final. 
  • Rocky Ford was the smallest school to come away with an individual titlist at this year’s Top of the Rockies. The Class 2A squad was represented by defending state champion Jesse Tapia, who claimed the top podium spot in the 220-pound bracket. 
  • In a battle between two top-ranked wrestlers, Brighton’s Kenny Sailas (5A #1) pinned Erie’s Rudy Lopez (4A #1) in the first period of the 113 pound final. Sailas, a junior, was impressive all weekend, and is quietly one of the more impressive lightweights on the mat on any given day. 

Team scores

1 Pomona 186.5
2 Broomfield 142.5
3 Pueblo East 136.0
4 Rocky Mountain 134.0
5 Monarch 131.0
6 Rio Rancho 125.0
7 Cheyenne East 116.0
8 Cleveland 115.0
9 Pueblo County 114.0
10 Brighton 110.0
11 Ponderosa 96.0
12 Poudre 88.0
13 Rocky Ford 84.0
14 Alamosa 82.0
15 Thompson Valley 78.5
16 Grandview 73.5
17 Grand Junction 71.5
18 Mountain Vista 54.0
19 John Mall 53.0
20 Fort Morgan 46.0
21 Cheyenne Central 45.0
22 Roosevelt 42.0
23 Cherry Creek 39.5
24 Legacy 32.5
25 Erie 30.5
26 Pueblo South 26.0
27 Adams City 25.0
27 Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep 25.0
29 Central – Grand Junction 19.0
30 Fort Lupton 9.0
31 Arvada West 6.0
32 Centaurus 2.0

Individual results


1st Place – Estevan Encinias of Cleveland

2nd Place – Marcus Williams of Rio Rancho

3rd Place – Frankie Sanchez of Grandview

4th Place – Vincent Cabral of Pomona

5th Place – Tony Garcia Lopez of Poudre

6th Place – Lance Johnson of Rocky Mountain

1st Place Match

Estevan Encinias (Cleveland) 28-2, Jr. over Marcus Williams (Rio Rancho) 23-8, Fr. (Dec 8-2)

3rd Place Match

Frankie Sanchez (Grandview) 26-3, Jr. over Vincent Cabral (Pomona) 21-6, Fr. (TF-1.5 4:26 (16-1))

5th Place Match

Tony Garcia Lopez (Poudre) 30-4, So. over Lance Johnson (Rocky Mountain) 19-7, Sr. (Inj. 0:00)


1st Place – Kenny Sailas of Brighton

2nd Place – Rudy Lopez of Erie

3rd Place – Davion Chavez of Alamosa

4th Place – Dillon Roman of Monarch

5th Place – Anthony Franklin of Pueblo East

6th Place – Tristan Mascarenas of Cleveland

1st Place Match

Kenny Sailas (Brighton) 31-3, Jr. over Rudy Lopez (Erie) 19-4, Jr. (Fall 1:54)

3rd Place Match

Davion Chavez (Alamosa) 28-4, Jr. over Dillon Roman (Monarch) 17-7, So. (SV-1 5-3)

5th Place Match

Anthony Franklin (Pueblo East) 21-6, Sr. over Tristan Mascarenas (Cleveland) 26-5, Sr. (Inj. 0:00)


1st Place – Weston Dalton of Pueblo East

2nd Place – Elijah Olguin of Pomona

3rd Place – Ryan Kuykendall of Monarch

4th Place – Tyler Gabaldon of Cleveland

5th Place – Boden White of Pueblo County

6th Place – Dale VanMatre of John Mall

1st Place Match

Weston Dalton (Pueblo East) 20-3, Fr. over Elijah Olguin (Pomona) 25-8, So. (MD 10-2)

3rd Place Match

Ryan Kuykendall (Monarch) 27-3, Jr. over Tyler Gabaldon (Cleveland) 24-7, Jr. (Dec 2-0)

5th Place Match

Boden White (Pueblo County ) 22-10, Fr. over Dale VanMatre (John Mall) 15-10, Jr. (Dec 4-3)


1st Place – Vince Cornella of Monarch

2nd Place – Dawson Collins of Grand Junction

3rd Place – Ryan Vigil of Broomfield

4th Place – Murphy Menke of Ponderosa

5th Place – Jakob Romero of Pomona

6th Place – Tim Lopez of Rio Rancho

1st Place Match

Vince Cornella (Monarch) 27-3, Jr. over Dawson Collins (Grand Junction) 26-1, Sr. (MD 15-3)

3rd Place Match

Ryan Vigil (Broomfield) 24-4, So. over Murphy Menke (Ponderosa) 13-5, So. (MD 8-0)

5th Place Match

Jakob Romero (Pomona) 24-9, Fr. over Tim Lopez (Rio Rancho) 18-7, Sr. (Dec 5-2)


1st Place – Jaron Mahler of Ponderosa

2nd Place – Alex Emmer of Rio Rancho

3rd Place – Kieran Thompson of Grand Junction

4th Place – Josiah Parsons of Pomona

5th Place – Max Franz of Cherry Creek

6th Place – John Beau Hostler of Broomfield

1st Place Match

Jaron Mahler (Ponderosa) 17-5, Jr. over Alex Emmer (Rio Rancho) 21-5, Jr. (Dec 9-5)

3rd Place Match

Kieran Thompson (Grand Junction) 26-3, Jr. over Josiah Parsons (Pomona) 24-7, So. (Dec 3-0)

5th Place Match

Max Franz (Cherry Creek) 22-7, . over John Beau Hostler (Broomfield) 19-7, Jr. (Dec 5-0)


1st Place – Daniel Cardenas of Pomona

2nd Place – Dean Noble of Poudre

3rd Place – Kolten Strait of Rocky Mountain

4th Place – Gabriel Keith of Rio Rancho

5th Place – Aiden Cartwright of Mountain Vista

6th Place – Xzavier Romero-Trujillo of Cleveland

1st Place Match

Daniel Cardenas (Pomona) 30-2, So. over Dean Noble (Poudre) 26-4, Sr. (TF-1.5 3:45 (17-2))

3rd Place Match

Kolten Strait (Rocky Mountain) 20-3, Jr. over Gabriel Keith (Rio Rancho) 25-7, Jr. (Fall 1:53)

5th Place Match

Aiden Cartwright (Mountain Vista) 24-8, So. over Xzavier Romero-Trujillo (Cleveland) 18-8, Jr. (Fall 1:45)


1st Place – Darren Green of Broomfield

2nd Place – Max Fredricksmeyer of Monarch

3rd Place – Aaden Valdez of Pueblo East

4th Place – Johnathan Vroman of Cheyenne Central

5th Place – Wesley VanMatre of John Mall

6th Place – Cael Langford of Fort Morgan

1st Place Match

Darren Green (Broomfield) 25-3, Sr. over Max Fredricksmeyer (Monarch) 20-8, Sr. (MD 18-4)

3rd Place Match

Aaden Valdez (Pueblo East) 21-4, Sr. over Johnathan Vroman (Cheyenne Central) 22-8, Sr. (Fall 2:39)

5th Place Match

Wesley VanMatre (John Mall) 22-2, Sr. over Cael Langford (Fort Morgan) 24-6, Jr. (Dec 9-2)


1st Place – Jaxon Garoutte of Pueblo County

2nd Place – Antonio Guerrero of Brighton

3rd Place – Jacob Bierman of Thompson Valley

4th Place – Adin Weaver of Mountain Vista

5th Place – Damien Bachicha of Cleveland

6th Place – Karter Johnson of Ponderosa

1st Place Match

Jaxon Garoutte (Pueblo County ) 30-2, Sr. over Antonio Guerrero (Brighton) 18-7, Sr. (Dec 9-3)

3rd Place Match

Jacob Bierman (Thompson Valley) 23-7, Jr. over Adin Weaver (Mountain Vista) 24-5, Sr. (Dec 6-5)

5th Place Match

Damien Bachicha (Cleveland) 24-6, So. over Karter Johnson (Ponderosa) 16-9, So. (Inj. 0:00)


1st Place – Gage Bernall of Pomona

2nd Place – Jackson Hesford of Cheyenne East

3rd Place – Chase Engelhardt of Thompson Valley

4th Place – Jadon Baldonado of Rocky Ford

5th Place – Xavier Salazar of Rio Rancho

6th Place – Diego Duarte of Pueblo East

1st Place Match

Gage Bernall (Pomona) 29-5, Jr. over Jackson Hesford (Cheyenne East) 27-5, Jr. (Dec 7-3)

3rd Place Match

Chase Engelhardt (Thompson Valley) 28-4, Sr. over Jadon Baldonado (Rocky Ford) 25-5, Sr. (Dec 5-1)

5th Place Match

Xavier Salazar (Rio Rancho) 18-5, Sr. over Diego Duarte (Pueblo East) 19-5, Jr. (Fall 2:38)


1st Place – Nathan Fitzpatrick of Monarch

2nd Place – Trey Hardy of Rocky Mountain

3rd Place – Hunter Smith of Alamosa

4th Place – Blaise Ronnau of Cheyenne East

5th Place – Roger Valdilles of Pueblo County

6th Place – Jarrod Dilly of Cheyenne Central

1st Place Match

Nathan Fitzpatrick (Monarch) 24-6, Sr. over Trey Hardy (Rocky Mountain) 19-5, Sr. (Fall 3:44)

3rd Place Match

Hunter Smith (Alamosa) 24-5, Sr. over Blaise Ronnau (Cheyenne East) 28-5, Jr. (SV-1 4-2)

5th Place Match

Roger Valdilles (Pueblo County ) 15-13, Sr. over Jarrod Dilly (Cheyenne Central) 15-9, Jr. (Fall 4:00)


1st Place – Joe Renner of Grandview

2nd Place – Bradley Whitright of Cheyenne East

3rd Place – Matt Kinerson of Rocky Mountain

4th Place – Antonio Welch-Soto of Broomfield

5th Place – Brian Paxton of Fort Morgan

6th Place – Grady Funk of Legacy

1st Place Match

Joe Renner (Grandview) 23-2, Sr. over Bradley Whitright (Cheyenne East) 31-2, Jr. (Dec 4-3)

3rd Place Match

Matt Kinerson (Rocky Mountain) 23-3, Jr. over Antonio Welch-Soto (Broomfield) 12-2, Sr. (SV-1 7-5)

5th Place Match

Brian Paxton (Fort Morgan) 23-8, Sr. over Grady Funk (Legacy) 24-9, Sr. (Inj. 0:00)


1st Place – Franklin Cruz of Pomona

2nd Place – Bryce Garcia of Pueblo County

3rd Place – Alec Hargreaves of Rocky Mountain

4th Place – Miles Beam of Roosevelt

5th Place – Gabe Garcia of Cleveland

6th Place – Zach Ferrera of Monarch

1st Place Match

Franklin Cruz (Pomona) 30-2, Jr. over Bryce Garcia (Pueblo County ) 18-6, So. (Fall 2:17)

3rd Place Match

Alec Hargreaves (Rocky Mountain) 21-2, Sr. over Miles Beam (Roosevelt) 18-4, Sr. (Dec 3-1)

5th Place Match

Gabe Garcia (Cleveland) 20-5, Sr. over Zach Ferrera (Monarch) 21-13, So. (Fall 1:56)


1st Place – Jesse Tapia of Rocky Ford

2nd Place – Dylan BravoPacker of Brighton

3rd Place – Bryant Walker of Broomfield

4th Place – Ian Tullos of Cherry Creek

5th Place – Austin Trujillo of Alamosa

6th Place – Caleb Burton of Thompson Valley

1st Place Match

Jesse Tapia (Rocky Ford) 19-2, Sr. over Dylan BravoPacker (Brighton) 27-6, Fr. (Dec 8-5)

3rd Place Match

Bryant Walker (Broomfield) 15-5, Sr. over Ian Tullos (Cherry Creek) 21-3, . (Fall 2:42)

5th Place Match

Austin Trujillo (Alamosa) 28-7, Sr. over Caleb Burton (Thompson Valley) 22-7, Sr. (Dec 6-0)


1st Place – Andy Garcia of Pueblo East

2nd Place – Tyler Carpenter of Broomfield

3rd Place – Riley Butt of Rio Rancho

4th Place – Victor Sosa of Pueblo South

5th Place – Junious Gooden of Grand Junction

6th Place – Peyton Froman of Rocky Ford

1st Place Match

Andy Garcia (Pueblo East) 19-2, Sr. over Tyler Carpenter (Broomfield) 16-1, Sr. (Dec 3-1)

3rd Place Match

Riley Butt (Rio Rancho) 14-6, Jr. over Victor Sosa (Pueblo South) 13-4, Sr. (Dec 1-0)

5th Place Match

Junious Gooden (Grand Junction) 21-7, Sr. over Peyton Froman (Rocky Ford) 20-11, Jr. (Fall 1:39)


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.