The first week of the season is officially in the books — and what a week it was.
We saw new contenders rise, like Windsor’s Tristan Perez.
We saw 81 warriors turn out for the Second Annual Arapahoe Girls Tournament.
And now, we see the long-anticipated (or at least hopefully somewhat remembered) Five Count, our weekly feature that looks at the top performances and things to watch for the week in wrestling.
Here we go.
1: No Rest For The Wicked Wrestlers of the East
Pueblo East, the team that finished as the runner-up at the state tournament a year ago, is ranked No. 1 in Class 4A. Pueblo East also just got a handful of its best wrestlers back from the football team — the team that finished as runner-up in Class 3A. It’s been a problem for Coach Pat Laughlin and the Eagle wrestling team for the past five years or so — having a football program that perennially makes deep, even state championship-winning playoff runs that overlap with the start of the winter sports season.
But (so long as everyone stays healthy), it’s considered a good problem to have.
“Most of the football kids have wrestling experience, so it’s a matter of getting them into wrestling shape,” Laughlin said. “Seven of our starters play football, and all of them were in the room for wrestling practice the Monday after the title game. Not one of them asked for time off, which is a huge compliment to them and speaks volumes as to their commitment to our team goals as well as their individual goals for the wrestling season.
“As a wrestling coach, I understand we have good athletes and we must share them with other sports. It is a GOOD problem to have. Skills from one sport carry over to other sports.”
The late-arriving Eagles had no problems shaking off the rust in their opening match on Tuesday, with No. 1-ranked seniors Zion Freeman (195) and Dom Robles (220) among those earning pins in a 58-6 dual win over Thomas Jefferson.
But the real test comes Saturday, when East hosts its annual invitational tournament at Mel Spence Gym. This year’s edition has the makings to be one of the toughest in recent memory. Among those in attendance will be:
- 2A #4 Rocky Ford
- 2A #7 John Mall
- 3A #1 Alamosa
- 3A #6 Lamar
- 3A #8 Berthoud
- 4A #1 Pueblo East
- 4A #3 Pueblo County
- 4A #6 Pueblo Centennial
- 4A #7 Discovery Canyon
- And the always-tough Taos, N.M.
This is one you won’t want to miss. The action begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Keep an eye out for more on this Beast at East here throughout the weekend.
2 (TWOOOOOOOOO): Windsor Ranked No. 22
FloWrestling gave Windsor, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, some national love by listing the Wizards as the No. 22 program in the country in their latest rankings.
It makes sense, considering they have a pair of Division I commits on the roster in two-time Class 4A champs Will VomBaur and Dominick Serrano — along with a host of other D1 prospects.
Serrano is Flo’s No. 5-ranked wrestler in the nation at 132 pounds, while fellow junior (and two-time state champ) Isaiah Salazar is ranked No. 11 in the country at 170.
A host of other Coloradans garnered national ranking by Flo as well, including:
- Brendon Garcia, Pueblo County, sr. — No. 4, 113
- Vince Cornella, Monarch, so. — No. 7, 113
- Daniel Cardenas, Pomona, fr. — No. 12, 126
- Tony Ulaszek, Greeley Central, sr. — No. 16, 138
- Andrew Alirez, Greeley Central, sr. — No. 1, 152 (No. 4 Pound-for-Pound)
- Theorius Robison, Pomona, sr. — No. 5, 152
- Cohlton Schultz, Ponderosa, sr. — No. 1, 285 (No. 1 Pound-for-Pound)
3: Eaglecrest Girls Tournament
After the first girls tournament of the year saw more than 80 athletes compete, the Eaglecrest Girls Tournament should be another positive step forward during the first pilot season for the sport here in Colorado.
Among the female athletes who are picking up right where they left off a year ago is Tristan Kelly, who won the girls’ state title for Douglas County at 161 pounds.
Kelly is back and seemingly as good as ever, coming off a first-place finish at 185 pounds for Douglas County at the Arapahoe tournament.
It’s nice to see the sport continue to grow in Colorado. Here’s to another successful tournament!
4: Other Week Two Action
No matter where you are in Colorado this week, you’re bound to be within driving distance of some quality prep wrestling action — from the Western Slope to the Steel City, the Upper Ark Valley to the Front Range. Here’s some of what’s in store:
- 3A No. 3 Pagosa Springs will test its mettle at the Columbine Invitational
- Eli Smith, the No. 1 wrestler at 220 pounds in Class 3A, will has the opportunity to dazzle the home crowd at the annual Rob Mickel Tournament.
- The No. 2 and No. 3 teams in Class 2A, Cedaredge and Paonia, will clash at the Delta Panther Invitational. Get your popcorn ready for that one.
- Monarch’s Vince Cornella, Theorius Robison (and 5A No. 1 Pomona), and the big man himself, Cohlton Schultz of Ponderosa, are among Colorado’s heavy-hitters who will be at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman this weekend. Largely considered one of the toughest in-season tournaments in the nation, the Ironman features a gauntlet of who’s who in prep wrestling. Schultz was an Ironman champ last year and looks to recapture glory in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio this weekend.
5: More wrestling! More content!
We appreciate you reading, Tweeting, and interacting with Colorado Wrestling Network thus far. As the season goes on, we hope that you stick with us to see more Five Counts, more rankings, more feature articles, more videos, more podcasts, and more wrestling. We’re learning as we grow, and growing as we learn. Thanks again!