DENVER | Home to a state champion the past two seasons in Fabian Santillan, Grandview has a chance to have two this season.
Santillan — who is now at Stanford — put the Wolves in the spotlight on the final day of the Class 5A state wrestling tournament at the Pepsi Center the past two seasons and they will stay there this year, as both junior Frankie Sanchez Jr. (106 pounds) and senior Joe Renner (182 pounds) will wrestle for titles Saturday.
Sanchez Jr. and Renner both made the finals for the first time and helped coach Ryan Budd’s Grandview team enter the final day of the tournament in fifth place in the team standings. Senior 132-pounder Alex Santillan, already a two-time state placer, remained alive in the consolation round as well.
Renner reached the championship match for the first time in his second trip to the semifinals. He lost a two-point decision in the 195 pound semifinals and went on to place fifth, while he was also fourth as a sophomore.
This time, Renner (36-2) made it to the championship match in style with a win by fall over Legacy’s Grady Funk, which followed a strong 8-4 win over Rocky Mountain’s Matt Kinnerson in the quarterfinals.
In the championship match, Renner doesn’t get a chance to avenge his only loss in Colorado, which came to Arapahoe’s TJ LaFrancis in a Centennial League dual meet, as Columbine’s Jack Forbes (38-4) topped LaFrancis in the other semifinal.
Sanchez Jr. — with his father Frankie Sr., a 1991 state finalist at Gateway, in his corner — made the state championship match in his second trip to the tournament.
He had to survive a quarterfinal challenge from Pomona’s Vincent Cabral, winning a 6-5 decision after winning by technical fall the first time they met, before he downed Prairie View’s Ane’e Vigil 10-4 in the semifinals.
Sanchez Jr. is headed for an all-Aurora rematch with Cherokee Trail’s Derek Glenn Jr. (37-6) in the state championship match. Sanchez Jr. edged Glenn Jr. 3-1 when they met in Centennial League competition and they’ve held the Nos. 1 & 2 spots in On The Mat’s 5A rankings for the bulk of the season.
The Grandview duo is part of a large Aurora championship match contingent that also includes the Cherokee Trail trio of Glenn Jr. (106 pounds), junior Sam Hart (220 pounds) and senior Julian Williams (285 pounds) along with Regis Jesuit junior Antonio Segura (145 pounds).
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports