Hey. Hello. How’s it going out there, wrestling fans?
It’s already been a wild, thrilling, fun, and dare I say quick season so far. Colorado Wrestling Network has (sadly) not been as active this season as we were last season, but it’s certainly not for a lack of wanting to be. And hey, we’re here now! So let’s embrace the rest of the season and buckle up for what promises to be a wild week of wrestling.
This weekend’s docket boasts the annual star-studded Top of the Rockies Invitational at Centaurus High School in Lafayette this Friday and Saturday, and it’s shaping up to be as good as ever.
Among those slated to be in attendance are the top four teams in Class 5A — Pomona, Ponderosa, Rocky Mountain, and Grand Junction; four of the top five in Class 4A — Pueblo East (#2), Broomfield (#3), Pueblo County (#4) and Roosevelt (#5); Class 3A #2 Alamosa, and Class 2A #2 Rocky Ford. And that’s not even to mention the other slew of top-10 and out-of-state teams in the mix
Here’s a full list of teams:
|Central – Grand Junction||4A #9|
|Fort Morgan||3A #9|
|Grand Junction||5A #4|
|John Mall||2A #7|
|Pueblo County||4A #3|
|Pueblo East||4A #2|
|Rocky Ford||2A #2|
|Rocky Mountain||5A #3|
|Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep|
It’s going to be a doozy. I’m going to be there. You should be there. If you can’t be there, then be sure to follow along with us on Twitter at @COWrestlingNet, or check out the Trackwrestling dashboard here.
Now, what are some of the storylines to watch at Top of the Rockies (and around the state) this week? I’m so glad you asked.
Top-Ranked Wrestlers Atop The Rockies
Top of the Rockies, an annual juggernaut hosted by Centaurus High School and its, er, two cozy gyms, draws some of the top talent from across the state (and the region) each year. And the first edition of the new decade promises to be as spicy as ever. Here’s a quick breakdown just some of the top-ranked wrestlers slated to be in attendance this weekend (*Side note: these rankings are from week six and may have changed with the latest release from Tim Yount/On the Mat).
|David Duran, Rocky Ford||2A #2|
|LJ Herburger, Pueblo East||4A #2|
|Noah Lopez, Erie||4A #3|
|Frankie Sanchez, Grandview||5A #1|
|Tony Garcia Lopez, Poudre||5A #3|
|Brandon Reveles, Alamosa||3A #4|
|Eric Griego, Pueblo County||4A #1|
|Davian Sandoval, Grand Junction Central||4A #2|
|Kenny Sailas, Brighton||5A #1|
|Davion Chavez, Alamosa||3A #3|
|Weston Dalton, Pueblo East||4A #1|
|Dawson Collins, Grand Junction||5A #1|
|Elijah Olguin, Pomona||5A #2|
|Ryan Kuykendall, Monarch||5A #3|
|Jacob Duran, Fort Lupton||3A #1|
|Will Loecke, Roosevelt||4A #2|
|Ryan Vigil, Broomfield||4A #3|
|Vince Cornella, Monarch||5A #1|
|Murphy Menke, Ponderosa||5A #2|
|Jakob Romero, Pomona||5A #3|
Certainly the case could be made for any of these brackets to be *the* bracket to watch, but the 126-pound division might really be the bracket. I remember a couple of years ago when Monarch’s Vince Cornella really burst onto the scene at this tournament, and he has been on a tear ever since (just look at the two state championship brackets he has at home). Jacob Duran also has the moniker of ‘state champion’ tied to his name, and he appears to be getting as healthy as he’s been in quite some time. Oh, and the other guys? They aren’t just some other guys. Should be a fun one.
|Colton Liddell, Alamosa||3A #2|
|Brendan Jones, Fort Morgan||3A #4|
|Luke Pleasant, Grand Junction Central||4A #2|
|Clayton Robinson, Roosevelt||4A #3|
|Jaron Mahler, Ponderosa||5A #1|
|Kieran Thompson, Grand Junction||5A #3|
|Max Franz, Cherry Creek||5A #4|
|Darren Green, Broomfield||4A #2|
|Jagger Wade, Grand Junction Central||4A #4|
|Daniel Cardenas, Pomona||5A #1|
|Kolten Strait, Rocky Mountain||5A #2|
|Traevin Osborn, Ponderosa||5A #3|
|Dean Noble, Poudre||5A #4|
There are many ways this weight class could shake out, but Green and Cardenas are definitely the two I’ll be watching closely. Collision course?
|Wesley Van Matre, John Mall||2A #1|
|Cael Langford, Fort Morgan||3A #2|
|Aaden Valdez, Pueblo East||4A #1|
|Juan Garcia, Roosevelt||4A #3|
|Joshua Deaguero, Adams City||5A #2|
|Joey Joiner, Legacy||5A #3|
Wesley VanMatre is (perhaps too quietly) one of the four wrestlers in the state aiming for a fourth state title this year. The senior, hailing from the tiny mountain town of Walsenburg, is out to make his mark on the big stage. He’s been nothing short of spectacular this season, already defeating the likes of Garcia (9-5 dec.) earlier in his senior campaign. But now his chance to gain a few extra set of eyeballs on him and represent for the small-but-mighty 2A factions. Would love to see a VanMatre vs. Valdez matchup.
|Anthony Aldretti, John Mall||2A #3|
|Gage Bernall, Pomona||5A #1|
|Antonio Guerrero, Brighton||5A #4|
|Jadon Baldonado, Rocky Ford||2A #4|
|Jaxon Garoutte, Pueblo County||4A #2|
|Chase Engelhardt, Thompson Valley||4A #3|
|Roman Cruz, Pomona||5A #1|
|Christian Hafey, Grand Junction||5A #3|
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million more times…Jax Garoutte is one of the premier stance motion/takedown specialists we have in Colorado. He’s a lot of fun to watch, and it’s why he’s coming off a second place finish at the Battle for the Belt in California. Pomona’s Roman Cruz is a talented sophomore who has spent most of the season wrestling at 170. He’s sure to make some noise if in fact he drops to 60’s.
|Hunter Smith, Alamosa||3A #4|
|Diego Duarte, Pueblo East||4A #3|
|Xavier Freeman, Pueblo East||4A #4|
|Trey Hardy, Rocky Mountain||5A #3|
|Kayden Johnson, Ponderosa||5A #4|
|Brian Paxton, Fort Morgan||3A #2|
|Matt Kinerson, Rocky Mountain||5A #1|
|Grady Funk, Legacy||5A #3|
|Joe Renner, Grandview||5A #4|
|Bryce Garcia, Pueblo County||4A #2|
|Miles Beam, Roosevelt||4A #3|
|Franklin Cruz, Pomona||5A #1|
|Alec Hargreaves, Rocky Mountain||5A #2|
|Jesse Tapia, Rocky Ford||2A #2|
|Bryant Walker, Broomfield||4A #1|
|Gavin Howes, Pueblo County||4A #3|
|Dylan BravoPacker, Brighton||5A #2|
|Ian Tullos, Cherry Creek||5A #3|
|Andy Garcia, Pueblo East||4A #1|
|Tyler Carpenter, Broomfield||4A #2|
|Junious Gooden, Grand Junction||5A #3|
Top of the Rockies spectators have been spoiled when it comes to waiting for the last match of the night in recent years. That’s because former Ponderosa stud Cohlton Schultz was there to put on a show for those who stuck around to the very end. This year is really no different. Another one of Colorado’s potential four-timers, Andy Garcia of Pueblo East, will be in the building after missing last year’s TOR. Could we see another 4A state finals preview with the reigning 3x champ and Tyler Carpenter of Broomfield?
While many top-ranked teams will be gathering at TOR, there are some others to watch around the state (and elsewhere) this weekend. That includes both Wray (2A #1) and Windsor (4A #1), which are both leaving Colorful Colorado to compete with some of the region’s challengers. Wray, now with 100% more Tyler Collins in the lineup (the returning state finalist had missed the first half of the season before scoring a pin the other night in his season debut), is heading off to the Chase County Invitational in Nebraska.
Meanwhile the Wizards are heading off to the Rockwell Rumble in Utah. Their last trip out of state was to the prestigious Doc Buchanan Invite in California earlier this month, and a pair of wrestlers brought back one of the most coveted prizes on the prep wrestling season — a Doc B cowboy hat. Those would be seniors Dominick Serrano (132) and Isaiah Salazar (182), who have continued blazing through the competition as they seek to become the state’s first pair of teammates to win a fourth state title in the same year.
Meanwhile in 3A, it is Jefferson which comes in as Tim Yount’s newly ranked No. 1 team (again). The Saints will be heading to the Alameda Invite this weekend.
In other (very exciting) news, one of the most captivating stories in Colorado prep wrestling history comes to life in Unmatched: Prep Wrestling’s Epic Chronicle written by Colorado’s own Brady Buck. This book tells the tale of the historic, wild, and one-of-a-kind matchup between Tom Clum and Brett Roller, including the leadup and fallout of that wild night in Denver. Check out the book trailer below and stay tuned for some more info about the book here soon.