Cherokee Trail sophomore Sam Hart, top, settles in and collects back points in his 10-0 major decision win over Brighton’s Santana Solano in a Class 5A 220-pound state quarterfinal match on Feb. 22, 2019, at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Hart went on to win his semifinal and make Saturday’s state championship match. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel)

DENVER | An elbow injury denied Sam Hart a chance to compete at last season’s Class 5A state wrestling tournament.

The Cherokee Trail sophomore healed up from surgery that ended his freshman season and not only made it to the Pepsi Center this time, but will wrestle on the tournament’s biggest stage Saturday.

Hart earned a spot in the 220-pound state championship match with his second-period of Northglenn’s Carlos Flores Friday night. His finals opponents will be Grand Junction’s Hunter Tobiasson, last season’s runner-up in the weight class who is 41-0.

Tobiasson, who beat Hart 3-0 last week in the Region 3 championship match, prevented an all-Aurora championship match when he pinned Eaglecrest’s Osman Yigit Topuz in the other 220-pound semifinal.

Hart (39-6) has won two of his three state matches by fall and the other by major decision. He has the chance to become the first state champion in Cherokee Trail’s program history.

Coach Jeff Buck’s Cougars has three other wrestlers still alive going into the third round of consolations at 10 a.m. Saturday. Junior Andrew Chilton (113 pounds), senior David Rivera (145 pounds) and senior Brock Howard (195 pounds) all can assure themselves of top-six places with a victory.

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