AURORA | The Class 5A Region 3 wrestling tournament — which includes four Aurora programs, Cherokee Trail, Gateway, Rangeview and Smoky Hill — 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 5A REGION 3 WRESTLING AT A GLANCE
Schedule: Feb. 10-11 at Cherokee Trail High School; Feb. 10 — Opening round, 4 p.m.; Championship quarterfinals & 1st round consolation, 5:30 p.m.; Feb. 11 — 2nd round consolations, 9:30 a.m.; championship semifinals & 3rd round consolations, 11 a.m..; lunch break (gym cleared), 12:30 p.m.; consolation semifinals, 1:30 p.m.; championship finals, 2:45 p.m.; wrestlebacks (if necessary), following championship matches; awards
Aurora teams: Cherokee Trail, Gateway, Rangeview and Smoky Hill
Other teams: Adams City, Bear Creek, Boulder, Broomfield, Columbine, Grand Junction, Legend, Prairie View, Rock Canyon, Rocky Mountain, ThunderRidge
What’s at stake: Four wrestlers from each of the 14 weight classes advance to the Class 5A 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 5A state qualifiers: Cherokee Trail — David Rivera, soph. (qualified at 126 pounds, now at 132 pounds), Ezequiel Silva, sr. (qualified at 182 pounds, now at 195 pounds) and Max Gonzales, sr. (qualified at 220 pounds, again at 220 pounds); Smoky Hill — Ryan Campbell, sr. (qualified at 285 pounds, again at 285 pounds)
Ranked Aurora wrestlers in Region 3 field (per On The Mat’s Week 10 rankings): Cherokee Trail — Chad Powell, sr. (No. 11 at 106 pounds), Drake Davis, jr. (No. 16 at 120 pounds), David Rivera, soph. (No. 8 at 132 pounds), Josh Richardson, sr. (No. 7 at 160 pounds), Ezequiel Silva, sr. (No. 2 at 195 pounds), Max Gonzales, sr. (No. 2 at 220 pounds) and Davione Marshall, sr. (No. 7 at 285 pounds); Gateway — Blake Thomas, sr. (No. 20 at 138 pounds); Rangeview — Deron Solomon, sr. (No. 6 at 145 pounds); Smoky Hill — Ryan Campbell, sr. (No. 13 at 285 pounds). Full list of Aurora wrestlers ranked by On The Mat in Week 10, here
Total ranked wrestlers in Region 3 field: 66 (Adams City 10, Bear Creek 5, Boulder 1, Broomfield 8, CHEROKEE TRAIL 7, GATEWAY 1, Grand Junction 11, Legend 2, Prairie View 6, RANGEVIEW 1, Rocky Mountain 9, SMOKY HILL 1, ThunderRidge 4)
Ranked teams in Region 3 field: No. 2 Grand Junction, No. 8 Adams City, No. 11 Cherokee Trail
Aurora breakdown: The densest of the 5A regional tournaments in terms of Aurora teams is Region 3, where Cherokee Trail plays host to a field that includes three other city squads in Gateway, Rangeview and Smoky Hill. Region 3 is particularly stacked as the 15-team field includes three ranked teams and a whopping 66 ranked wrestlers. Coach Jeff Buck’s host Cougars feature seven ranked wrestlers, headed by seniors Ezekiel Silva (195 pounds) and Max Gonzales (220) pounds, who along with sophomore David Rivera (132) are returning state qualifiers. A handful of other seniors seek their first trips to the Pepsi Center. Deron Solomon is Rangeview’s lone ranked wrestler and he has previous state experience, but he missed out the last two seasons following his state bid as a freshman. His 145-pound bracket has six ranked wrestlers, including undefeated Josiah Rider of Grand Junction. There aren’t many weak brackets in the regional, but opportunities exist for Aurora wrestlers in the higher weights, including Smoky Hill senior heavyweight Ryan Campbell, who seeks a return to the state tournament. Senior Blake Thomas of Gateway — ranked No. 20 — has his work cut out for him in a difficult 138-pound bracket. Coach David Larson’s Olys could have some surprises at other weights depending on how the seeding falls.