AURORA | Time is disappearing before the arrival of regional state-qualifying tournaments and each match is getting more critical for Aurora wrestlers in preparation of making a run to the state tournament at the Pepsi Center in February.
Saturday provided a number of quality tests for city wrestlers, none more difficult than the annual Top of the Rockies Invitational at Centaurus High School.
Grandview, Aurora’s lone competing team, had six wrestlers posted top-five finishes in a competition that included 31 teams from four states (Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming). Coach Ryan Budd’s team — ranked No. 3 in 5A by On The Mat — finished sixth as a team and fourth among 5A teams behind winner Pomona, Brighton and Poudre.
Full Aurora prep sports scoreboard for Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, here.
Sophomore Fabillan Santillan finished second at 120 pounds after missing the final due to injury, while seniors Robert Woods (195) and Gabriel Baumgartner (285) placed fourth at their respective weights and junior Giovani Federico (113) plus seniors Armando Santillan (132) and Tyler Ross (182) each claimed fifth.
The Northglenn Norse Invitational field included Aurora entries Regis Jesuit, Hinkley and Gateway, which combined for seven top-six placers.
Regis Jesuit senior Brandon Minear — ranked No. 3 in 5A at 160 pounds — won the lone championship among city wrestlers, while teammates Brian Butler (132) and Hayes Ward (170) each took fourth and Brian Hodes (160) came in sixth. Jonathan Perdomo (4th at 145 pounds) represented Hinkley on the medal podium, while Blake Thomas (5th at 138 pounds) and Jarrett Reigies (6th at 170) made it for Gateway.
Grant Bradley (106 pounds) and Sean Kelly (138 pounds) came away with championships on a successful trip to the Kennedy Commander Invitational for Overland, which placed fourth in a 21-team field that also included Aurora Central.
Isaiah Bradley (120) and Kaelin Chin (195) posted runner-up finishes for the Trailblazers, with Mikey Mendoza placing third at 132. Omar Gonzalez finished as the 132-pound runner-up as the best result among three placing Trojans.
Rangeview senior 145-pounder Deron Solomon won the lone championship among Aurora competitors at the Smoky Hill Buff Invitational, which also included Vista PEAK and the host Buffaloes.
Eaglecrest finished second at the Rock Canyon Duals tournament with a 4-1 record, dropping the championship dual to Valor Christian 37-36.
The Raptors got big days from sophomores Tyler Maccagnan at 138 pounds and Yigit Topuz at 220, as both won three matches by pin and received two forfeits, while junior Morgan George at 126 pounds and senior Caridin Hester at 152 pounds also won three times and got two forfeits.
Dilan Esparza (113) and Tristan Curtis (126), plus Tony Lozano (120), each posted top-three finishes for Vista PEAK, while fourth-place 195-pounder Diego Velasquez represented Smoky Hill on the medal podium.
Grandview extended its recent string of success playing at Cherry Creek with a 70-55 victory behind senior Michaela Onyenwere’s 30 points and a lot of veteran savvy. It marked the fifth win in the past six trips to the Bruins’ home for the Wolves, who took sole possession of first place in the Centennial League in the process.
The Wolves trailed briefly in the second quarter as Cherry Creek freshman Jana VanGytenbeek lit it up from the outside (hitting five of her seven 3-pointers in the opening half), but regained the lead by halftime and continued to build it, even when Onyenwere went to the bench with foul trouble.
The teams play again at Grandview Feb. 15.
Regis Jesuit traveled to Wyoming for its third taste of out-of-state competition and came away with a 70-36 victory over Walsh in Casper.
Junior Emma Wrede knocked down five 3-pointers on her way to a season-high 21 points for the Raiders, while double-double machine Fran Belibi, a sophomore, added 13 points and 15 rebounds and junior Noelle Cahill chipped in 12 points.
A 13-point edge in the second quarter propelled Cherokee Trail past visiting Rangeview in a non-league matchup of Aurora teams. The Cougars outscored the Raiders by a combined total of 25-10 in the middle two periods to improve to 6-8.
Sophomore Angel Broadus scored 16 points to pace Rangeview, which had a three-game win streak snapped and fell to 7-8.
Junior Lyric Thompson posted her sixth straight double-figure scoring effort with 15, but Overland dropped a 60-44 non-league contest to George Washington.
Sophomore Kailey Brown added 10 points and junior Maia Jackson and sophomore Isis Charles contributed nine points apiece for the Trailblazers, who fell to 7-8.
Gateway dropped its third straight game following a three-game winning streak as its trip to Prairie View resulted in a 62-41 defeat. The Olys fell to 3-12 overall and 1-2 in the EMAC.
Dayne and Gaige Prim packed a powerful punch for the Grandview in its 57-46 Centennial League road win at Cherry Creek. The duo combined for 38 points and 22 rebounds as the Wolves
Hinkley posted a 57-35 EMAC victory against Thornton, powered by a 20-point second quarter and a 24-point final frame.
Junior Dewayne Carter shouldered the scoring load for the Thunderbirds with a season-high 27 points, while senior Anthony Chavez chipped in eight and senior Nick Wasmundt added six.
On the second night of a back-to-back, Vista PEAK trekked north to play a non-league contest at Silver Creek and fell 56-52 in a battle of strong 4A programs.
Coach Gary Childress’ Bison were paced by Tre Early’s 19 points and Dylan Holt’s 15, but dropped to 11-3 on the season.
Gateway got into the win column again with a 76-72 win against Prairie View, moving to 3-13 overall and 3-0 in the EMAC.
Regis Jesuit hung with George Washington for a half in a non-league contest, but the Patriots exploded for 51 points in the final two quarters to deal the Raiders a 74-56 defeat.
Junior Elijah Martinez scored a season-high 22 points and was matched by senior Connor Hobbs for coach Ken Shaw’s Regis Jesuit team, which lost to a ranked team for the third time in the past four games to fall to 7-8.
The Cherry Creek co-op team played the second game of a back-to-back and ended up with a split after a 5-1 loss to Monarch at the Sports Stable in Superior.
Freshman goaltender Dylan Romanow (Cherokee Trail) faced 30 shots from the Coyotes and made 25 saves, but the Bruins fell into a 5-0 hole before Nico Hemming scored the team’s lone goal in the third period on an assist from Adam Frances (Cherokee Trail).
Coach Jeff Mielnicki’s Cherry Creek team suffered its first loss in six Foothills Conference games and dropped to 8-2 on the season. The Bruins play host to Monarch at 8 p.m. Feb. 8 at Family Sports Center.