Cherokee Trail sophomore 106-pounder Derek Glenn Jr. is one of eight Aurora wrestlers that go into the 2020 Class 5A state wrestling tournament with top seeds as regional champions. Glenn Jr. won the Region 1 title and is one of an Aurora-best 10 qualifiers for the Cougars. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

AURORA | The 2020 Class 5A state wrestling tournament at glance:

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

∙ Nine Aurora programs — eight in Class 5A, one in Class 4A: Aurora Central, Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Grandview, Overland, Rangeview, Regis Jesuit and Smoky Hill in 5A, Vista PEAK in 4A — will be represented at the 2020 state wrestling tournament, set for Feb. 20-22 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Eight city programs were represented at least year’s state tournament.

Cherokee Trail has the largest state contingent with 10 state qualifiers, followed by Grandview (7), Eaglecrest (4), Rangeview (3), Regis Jesuit (3), Smoky Hill (2), Vista PEAK (2) and Aurora Central and Overland with one apiece.

Full Class 5A state tournament pairings, here

∙ The first round of the Class 5A/4A state tournament begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, with matches running until they are completed. Championship quarterfinals take place at 12:45 p.m. Friday and championship semifinals at 6:45 p.m. The third round of consolation matches resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by consolation semifinals, then third– and fifth-place matches as mats become available. The Parade of Champions for the finalists in 2A-5A begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, preceding championship matches.

∙ Tim Yount of On The Mat released his predictions for the top six placewinners in each weight class and his predictions — based on a thorough analysis of the bracket and how wrestlers have performed coming into the tournament — have 11 Aurora wrestlers making their way onto the medal podium and two others one match away from making the medal round depending on the flow of the tournament.

Yount’s projections have five Aurora wrestlers making the finals, including an all-Aurora 106-pound championship bout between Grandview’s Frankie Sanchez Jr. and Cherokee Trail’s Derek Glenn Jr., plus Regis Jesuit’s Antonio Segura at 145 pounds (vs. Legacy’s Joey Joiner in a rematch from last season), Grandview’s Joe Renner at 182 pounds (vs. Arapahoe’s T.J. LaFrancis, who dealt Renner one of his two losses during the season) and Cherokee Trail’s Sam Hart at 220 pounds (vs. Arvada West’s Elijah Olson, who has been injured most of the season and forfeited to Hart in the Region 1 final a week ago). He has Sanchez Jr. as the champion with wins also for Segura, Renner and Hart. Last year, Yount correctly projected Grandview’s Fabian Santillan to win the 138-pounds championship and for Hart to make the final and lose to Grand Junction’s Hunter Tobiasson. He predicted two other Aurora wrestlers to make finals that fell short.

The pre-state picks project Aurora to have top-six placers in 10 of the 14 weight classes (save 113, 138, 170 and 195) and 11 total. Yount has six Cherokee Trail wrestlers (out of 10 qualifiers) projected to place, led by a champion in Hart and finalist in Glenn Jr., who will be making his state debut, plus heavyweight Julian Williams in third, Austin Kammerer (126) in fifth and Brock LaBonde (152) and Connor Davis (160) in sixth. Grandview is projected to have three placers — out of seven qualifiers — with champions in Sanchez Jr. and Renner and a fourth-place from 132-pounder Alex Santillan, who has two previous top-four places to his credit. Segura is projected to repeat as state champion at 145 pounds for Regis Jesuit and Eaglecrest’s Caeleb Knoll is projected for sixth at 120 pounds in his third state tournament.

One match away from making the medal round depending on the flow of the tournament are Cherokee Trail’s Andrew Chilton (120) and Jorge Felix (138).

As a team, Yount projects Cherokee Trail to finish as the 5A runner-up (which would be the highest result in school history) behind Pomona, with Grandview 7th. Last year, Yount accurately pegged the Wolves to finish fourth and was close on Eaglecrest (predicted 11th, finished 12th) and Cherokee Trail (predicted 12th, finished 17th)

Just 10 of Aurora’s 33 qualifiers made the state tournament last season, with five of them three-time qualifiers in Cherokee Trail’s Andrew Chilton (2-4 at state), Eaglecrest’s Caeleb Knoll (3-4 at state), Grandview’s Alex Santillan (7-3 at state with a third-place finish in 2019 and fourth place in 2018) and Joe Renner (7-4 at state with a fourth place in 2018 and fifth place in 2019) and Regis Jesuit’s Antonio Segura (6-2 at state with a state championship in 2019). Two-time qualifiers are Cherokee Trail’s Brock LaBonde and Sam Hart (a state runner-up in 2019), Grandview’s Frankie Sanchez Jr., Eaglecrest’s Kyle Maccagnan and Regis Jesuit’s Antonio Sandora.

Eight Aurora wrestlers enter the state tournament with top seeds that come from winning regional championships, including five that came from the 5A Region 1 tournament: Cherokee Trail’s Derek Glenn Jr. (106 pounds), Brock LaBonde (152 pounds), Sam Hart (220 pounds) and Julian Williams (285 pounds) along with Eaglecrest’s Caeleb Knoll (120), while three others came from 5A Region 4 in Grandview’s Frankie Sanchez Jr. (106 pounds) and Joe Renner (182 pounds) and Regis Jesuit’s Antonio Segura (145 pounds). Knoll and Segura were regional champions last season as well.

The most Aurora qualifiers in a weight is three, coming in six different brackets (106, 113, 126, 182, 195 and 285), but the 113, 126 and 285 pound classes all have no Aurora wrestlers with previous state experiences.

Regis Jesuit junior Antonio Segura has the most wins among any of Aurora’s state qualifiers with 43 (against five losses), while Rangeview junior Romeo Cortez (a first-time qualifier) is next with 39 and Grandview’s Frankie Sanchez Jr., Eaglecrest’s Caeleb Knoll and Cherokee Trail’s Brock LaBonde have 36 apiece. Every Aurora state qualifier has a winning record, while Smoky Hill’s Obie Sanni, a first time state qualifier, has the fewest numbers of decisions with just 14 (10-4). Cherokee Trail’s Sam Hart is the lone Aurora wrestler to enter the state tournament with an undefeated record at 34-0.

City wrestlers are involved in 32 first-round matches with just one All-Aurora matchup with Regis Jesuit junior Antonio Segura taking on Overland sophomore Ryan Hensley at 145 pounds. Segura — who was also involved in an all-city contest to open last season’s state tournament against Aurora Central’s Werals Niyangabo — is the defending state champion at the weight, while Hensley is a first time qualifier.

The breakdown of Aurora state qualifiers by year: seniors 16, juniors nine, sophomores four and four freshmen (Aurora Central 106-pounder Timothy Herrera, Grandview 113-pounder Sean Arnett, Rangeview 160-pounder Gregory Brooks and Grandview heavyweight Cayden Bird).