COLORADO SPRINGS | The Class 4A Region 3 wrestling tournament — which includes one Aurora program, Vista PEAK — at a glance:
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
CLASS 4A REGION 3 WRESTLING AT A GLANCE
Schedule: Feb. 10-11 at Cheyenne Mountain High School; Feb. 10 — Opening round, 4 p.m., championship quarterfinals & 1st/2nd round consolation, immed. following; Feb. 11 — Championship semifinals & 3rd round consolations, 9 a.m., consolation semifinals immed. following; gym cleared; placing matches and wrestlebacks, 12:30 p.m.
Aurora team: Vista PEAK
Other teams: Canon City, Cheyenne Mountain, Erie, Evergreen, Falcon, Golden, Littleton, Longmont, Pine Creek, Sand Creek, Valor Christian, Wheat Ridge, Widefield
What’s at stake: Four wrestlers from each of the 14 weight classes advance to the Class 4A state wrestling tournament Feb. 16-18, 2017, at the Pepsi Center. Regional finalists and third-place match finisher advance automatically; third-place match loser may face wrestleback against fifth-place match winner if two haven’t wrestled in regional tournament with winner advancing to state tournament.
Returning Aurora 4A state qualifier: Vista PEAK — Dilan Esparza, sr. (qualified last season at 113 pounds, again at 113)
Ranked Aurora wrestlers in Region 3 field (per On The Mat’s Week 10 rankings): Vista PEAK — Dilan Esparza, sr. (No. 8 at 113 pounds), Tony Lozano, jr. (No. 13 at 120 pounds), Tristan Curtis, jr. (No. 7 at 126 pounds) and Jayden Smith, jr. (No. 10 at 182 pounds). Full list of Aurora wrestlers ranked by On The Mat in Week 10, here
Total ranked wrestlers in Region 3 field: 50 (Canon City 10, Cheyenne Mountain 9, Erie 6, Evergreen 1, Falcon 1, Golden 2, Longmont 5, Pine Creek 5, Valor Christian 6, VISTA PEAK 4, Wheat Ridge 1, Widefield 4)
Ranked teams in Region 3 field: No. 3 Cheyenne Mountain, No. 8 Pine Creek, No. 11 Canon City
Aurora breakdown: Coach David Benedict is very pleased with the growth of his Vista PEAK program and he’s looking forward to the program potentially coming away from the 4A Region 3 tournament at Cheyenne Mountain with its largest number of state tournament qualifiers. The magic number to beat is two, which happened last season, with senior Dilan Esparza a part of that group. Esparza has been ranked in the top 10 all season at 113 pounds and knows the path to the Pepsi Center, while three other ranked Bison — junior Tony Lozano at 120 pounds, junior Tristan Curtis at 126 pounds and junior Jayden Smith at 182 pounds — would love to make it as well. While Esparza has only one other ranked wrestler in his weight class and Curtis has only two, Smith has six in his bracket. Benedict won’t have one of his lineup staples in junior Connor Ireland due to hip issues, but Seth Abeyta slides into the 132-pound slot with a chance in a wide open bracket with only two ranked wrestlers.