CENTENNIAL | The Eaglecrest boys wrestling program again honored the memory of late assistant coach Armando Rodriguez with its annual tournament and very nearly took home the top prize when it was all over.

The Raptors had three champions, five finalists and eight top-four placers when the tournament ended on Saturday, but it left them a scant two points behind Central of Grand Junction, which earned top honors in a field of 28 teams.

Eaglecrest had weight winners at 106 pounds (junior Adonias Cantu), 126 pounds (sophomore Alijah Gabaldon) and 215 pounds (junior Dalton Leivian), along with runners-up in junior Ethan Diaz (120) and senior Marcel Gordon (190) on its way to 234.5 points, while Central of Grand Junction earned 236.5 points with a pair of champions.

Coach Javier Quintana’s Eaglecrest team also got a third-place finish from junior Thayne Lundy at 165 pounds, plus fourth-place results from junior Gabe Rangel (157) and senior LaDainian Gordon (175).

Smoky Hill and Overland tied for 23rd place as they each scored 33 points, while Aurora Central finished 28th with a total of three points. The Buffaloes had a top-six placer in junior Zach Brophy, who was sixth at 165 pounds, while the Trailblazers’ highest placer was junior Eric Kelly, who won the seventh-place match at 144 pounds.

Cantu — who gained some momentum prior to winter break with a sixth-place finish at the Reno Tournament of Champions — dominated his way through the tournament with two wins by fall, another by major decision and finally a technical fall in the championship match. Now ranked No. 7 in Class 5A at 113 pounds by On The Mat, Cantu posted a 15-0 technical fall win over Francisco Villa of Center.

Gabaldon, a new addition to the Eaglecrest lineup who earned the No. 10 ranking at 132 pounds, earned his way to the championship match at 126 pounds with two wins by fall and two others by decision, but trailed Denver South’s CJ Morm (ranked No. 12 in 4A) into the third period with the title on the line.

In the final minute, Gabaldon earned a takedown to tie the match, then held Morm’s shoulders to the mat for the pin with 29 seconds remaining as Eaglecrest coaches and wrestlers leaped out of their chairs in excitement.

Leivian added a third title for the Raptors with his fifth pin in as many matches. Ranked No. 5 in 5A, Leivian faced No. 11 Eli Stevens in the championship match and earned the victory with a pin just over three minutes into the contest.

Diaz, who ascended to the No. 1 spot in On The Mat’s 5A rankings at 120 pounds, earned three wins to get a chance to face Jefferson’s Samuel Rosales, who was the 3A runner-up last season at 106 pounds. Rosales built a 7-2 lead in the second period with an escape and a takedown and rode Diaz out for the rest of the match to win.

No. 13 in 5A, Gordon came up against Central of Grand Junction’s Tyler Ziek, who won the match by fall in the second minute of the opening period.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at sports@sentinelcolorado.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports


Jan. 13-14 at Eaglecrest High School

Team scores: 1. Central Grand Junction 236.5 points; 2. EAGLECREST A 234.5; 3. Rocky Mountain 187; 4. Vista Ridge 178; T5. Fossil Ridge 171; T5. Greeley West 171; 7. Mountain Vista 163.5; 8. Center 155.5; 9. ThunderRidge 138.5; 10. Jefferson 129.5; 11. Northglenn 125; 12. Liberty 121; 13. Mountain Vista 106; 14. Bear Creek 94; 15. Northfield 83.5; 16. Lutheran 74; 17. Eagle Valley 67.5; 18. Discovery Canyon 64; 19. Skyview 55; 20. EAGLECREST B 54; 21. Denver North 40; 22. Las Animas 37; T23. OVERLAND 33; T23. SMOKY HILL 33; 25. Highlands Ranch 31; 26. Denver South 28; 27. Battle Mountain 27; 28. AURORA CENTRAL 3

Full championship, third-place and fifth-place match results, here

Courtney Oakes is sports Editor and photographer with Sentinel Colorado. A Denver East High School alum. He came to the Sentinel in 2001 and since then has received a number of professional awards from...

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1 Comment

  1. Way to go this kid is an all Timer champ, that has sturcher in his movements great thinking with his movements.

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