Wrestling: Cherokee Trail a close second to Coronado at Brighton Invitational


BRIGHTON | It was a third-place kind of day for the Cherokee Trail wrestling team on Saturday, one that almost produced a team first.

The Cougars didn’t have any finalists at the 14-team Brighton Invitational, but eight wrestlers advanced to third-place matches as Cherokee Trail finished just 1.5 points out the top spot in the team standings.

Bruno Nicoletti (132 pounds), Michael Thelen (145), Harley Korte (152), Diego Rogel (170), Trent Rogers (182) and Garrett Zimmerman (285) each came away with thirds as the Cougars racked up 150 points, but fell short of the tournament championship as Coronado finished with 151.5.

Lisandro Hernandez at 113 pounds and 160-pounder Jalen Reyes finished fourth as well for coach Jeff Buck’s Cherokee Trail team.

Nicoletti came into the tournament at 30-4 and ranked No. 2 in Class 5A at 132 pounds by On The Mat, which netted him a first-round bye. He pinned his next opponent to reach the semifinals, but came up on the short end of a 4-2 decision to fifth-ranked Devon Zavala of Denver East, who went on to win the tournament championship. Nicoletti rebounded with two impressive victories, including a 15-0 tech fall over Niwot’s Joey Lambert in the third-place match.

Korte had a 4-1 day that included a second-period pin of Coronado’s Andrew West in the third-place match at 152 pounds. On a day he moved to 32-12, Korte’s only loss came in a 12-2 major decision to Brush’s Jake Marrow — ranked No. 3 in 4A — who went on to win the tournament championship.

All three of Rogel’s wins at 170 pounds came by fall, including a pin of Damien O’Hare of Niwot just before the end of the second period of the third-place match, which puts him at 29-11 on the season. Coronado’s Richard Cote outpointed Rogel 19-13 in a high-scoring semifinal before going on to win the title.

Rogers had a first-round by at 182 pounds by virtue of a 17-5 record coming in and posted a pin out of the gate to reach the semifinals, where he ran into fourth-ranked Alex Munoz of Prairie View. Munoz came away with an 11-6 decision between wrestlers who could meet again in a couple of weeks at the 5A Region 3 tournament. Rogers responded with a major decision and 7-6 victory over Cherry Creek’s Hunter Pasternack to get to 20-6.

Zimmerman (28-7) racked up four pins on his way to third — capped by a victory over Prairie View’s Francisco Garcia early in the second period — but was also a victim of one. Pueblo Centennial standout Demetrius Miller pinned him in the semifinals.

Thelen split his first two matches to drop into the consolation bracket at 145 pounds, but won three straight to claim third. The last victory, a 6-2 decision over Pueblo Centennial’s Nick Rocha, put him at 25-14 for the season. Niwot’s Matthew Strope had to forfeit the third-place match due to reaching his five-match limit.

Hernandez and Reyes each lost in their third-place matches — Hernandez by tech fall to Cherry Creek’s Matt Finesilver and Reyes to Coronado’s Grady Pina by an 11-7 decision.

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555


Feb. 2 at Brighton High School

Team scores: 1. Coronado 151.5 points; 2. CHEROKEE TRAIL 150; 3. Brighton 136.5; 4. Cherry Creek 120.5; 5. Prairie View 115.5; 6. Pueblo Centennial 103; 7. Brush 88; 8. Fort Morgan 78; 9. Burlington 63.5; 10. Niwot 54.5; 11. Denver East 53.5; 12. Fort Lupton 44.5; 13. Holyoke 39; 14. Yuma 37


113 pounds: Matt Finesilver (Cherry Creek) tech fall Lizandro Hernandez (Cherokee Trail), 16-0

132 pounds: Bruno Nicoletti (Cherokee Trail) tech fall Joey Lambert (Niwot), 15-0

145 pounds: Michael Thelen (Cherokee Trail) won by default (match limit) over Matthew Strope (Niwot)

152 pounds: Harley Korte (Cherokee Trail) pinned Andrew West (Coronado), 2:52

160 pounds: Grady Pina (Coronado) dec. Jalen Reyes (Cherokee Trail), 11-7

170 pounds: Diego Rogel (Cherokee Trail) pinned Damien O’Hare (Niwot), 3:57

182 pounds: Trent Rogers (Cherokee Trail) dec. Hunter Pasternack (Cherry Creek), 7-6

285 pounds: Garrett Zimmerman (Cherokee Trail) pinned Francisco Garcia (Prairie View), 2:34