DENVER | Wrestlers from Aurora programs earned top-six places in 10 of the 14 weight classes on the final day of the Class 5A boys state wrestling tournament Saturday at Ball Arena.
It was a state championship-less event for the city, though the Cherokee Trail duo of seniors Derek Glenn Jr. and Matthew Buck and Eaglecrest junior Dorian Ervin all wrestled in title matches, but very successful by numbers as nearly one-third of the city’s 38 qualifiers between the 5A and 4A tournaments made the medal podium.
Grandview finished an Aurora-best fifth in the final 5A team standings with the help of a trio of placers in seniors Sonny Quintana (145 pounds) and Josh Allen (170) and junior Maxwell Kibbee (195), who all made it to the third-place matches at their respective weights and earned a large portion of the 71.5 points accrued by coach Ryan Budd’s Wolves.
Kibbee turned out to be the top winner of any of Aurora’s qualifiers as he had his hand raised five times in six matches, with the lone loss coming to eventual state champion Geoffrey Freeman of Chaparral in the quarterfinals by major decision.
Aside from that, Kibbee cut through his bracket with three wins by fall along with another by technical fall plus a hard-fought 1-0 decision over Monarch’s Zach Ferrera in the consolation semifinals. After that narrow win, Kibbee pinned Pomona’s’ Justin Cullen early in the second period of the third-place match to finish his season 40-7.
Quintana improved one spot from his fifth-place finish in 2020 when he took fourth at 145 pounds with three wins in five matches. Quintana won his first two matches to reach the semifinals before eventual state champion Levi Deaguero of Adams City stopped him and he dominated his consolation semifinal to reach the third-place match. Pomona’s Josiah Parson edged him 2-1 as he finished 35-8.
Allen capped a prep career that saw him improve tremendously over four seasons to get on the medal podium in his first and only trip to the state tournament. Eventual state champion Karter Johnson of Ponderosa stopped his progress to the state championship match in the semifinals, but he earned his way into the third-place match, where Adams City’s Daniel Long edged him 4-0.
Regis Jesuit freshman Garrett Reece and Rangeview junior Greg Brooks each recorded four wins over three days to place fourth at 126 and 182 pounds, respectively.
Brooks came into state undefeated and projected by On The Mat to make the state championship match, but he got derailed in the quarterfinals with a 7-6 loss to eventual runner-up Ponderosa’s Westin Hoffschneider. He rebounded with two victories to earn a chance to win third place in a match with Pomona’s Jacob Judd, who he had defeated to win the Region 1 championship a week earlier.
Judd came out on top this time in a 6-4 win and Brooks finished 29-2 on the season.
Reece and junior 220-pound Dirk Morley gave coach Brent Bieshaar’s Regis Jesuit team two top-four finishers out of a contingent of just three state qualifiers.
Reece ran into Pomona’s Jakob Romero in the quarterfinals and Romero picked up the win on his way to the state championship at 126 pounds and leaving Reece to fight through the consolation bracket. He did just that with two wins and gained a spot in the third-place match due to a medical forfeit, where he lost a 7-0 decision to Ponderosa’s Brandon Cannon.
The loss put Reece at 38-11 for the season.
Morley made it a step further than Reece in the championship bracket as he got to the semifinals at 220 pounds before Brighton’s Dylan Bravo-Packer, the defending state champion, pinned him in the first period. A consolation win moved Morley in the third-place match, where he faced Tyler Doyle of ThunderRidge, who he had beaten by decision at the recent Continental League Championship tournament.
Doyle got the better of the rematch, however, in a 3-1 decision.
Besides the runner-up finishes for Glenn Jr. and Buck, Cherokee Trail got another state place from freshman Chance Matthews, who finished sixth at 113 pounds.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports