AURORA | Up 12-6 four matches into Thursday night’s Centennial League wrestling dual at Grandview, Cherokee Trail coach Jeff Buck was hopeful, but sensed what was coming.
With a primarily young lineup with some missing pieces, Buck knew the Cougars would have trouble holding off the talented Wolves.
Indeed, coach Ryan Budd’s Grandview team can roaring back with nine wins in the final 10 matches of the night — including six by fall — on its way to an impressive 52-18 victory over the rival Cougars in a pivotal league match.
“You couldn’t ask for a better start from our upper weights,” Buck said. “Brock (Howard) got us started and Davione (Marshall) kept us going and I thought we were in good shape. Then, we met the heart off their lineup. They are the real deal and Coach Budd has them rolling.
“We knew were up against a monster for sure.”
Howard recorded a quick pin at 195 pounds, Marshall followed with a victory at 220 pounds and sophomore 106-pounder Andrew Chilton also had his hand raised early as Cherokee Trail won three of the first four matches as it sought to beat Grandview for the first time since a 37-34 victory in 2013.
But senior William Wikowsky’s pin in the heavyweight match for the Wolves was a portent of things to come, as Grandview won a total of eight matches by fall on its way to remaining undefeated in the Centennial League.
“Cherokee Trail is always tough; all of the matches were tough contested across the board on both sides,” Budd said. “I know things went our way tonight and we’re very fortunate. It was just a good team win for us.”
In what turned out to be the match of the night, Wolves senior Matthew Frye locked up with Cougars junior David Rivera, a two-time state qualifier, in a 138-pound match that went into overtime.
Ranked 12th at 138 pounds by On The Mat in the rankings that came out the same night as the dual, Frye came up with a five-point move early in overtime for a 9-4 win over Rivera, who is ranked seventh.
“It was kind of slow at the start, but I just had to use his mistakes to get my points,” said Frye (20-4), who had faced Rivera only in a summer camp before. “I knew I had to beat him and it gives me that confidence.
“I know I can hang with those guys and with the top of that state. That’s where I’ve got to be and where I’ve got to stay.”
Budd made some lineup adjustments that paid off as well after he saw Cherokee Trail’s projected lineup. He moved junior Raymond Johnson, an outstanding junior varsity wrestler, into the lineup at 120 pounds and bumped everybody else up a weight.
Johnson made the strategy pay off with a first-period pin over the Cougars’ Ethan Debelak.
“He’s been itching for the opportunity and I thought with how strong we are with Giovani (Federico) and Fabillan (Santillan), we could get RJ in tonight and bump those other guys up,” Budd said. “It worked out in our favor, so that was nice.”
Indeed Federico won a 9-2 decision at 126 pounds and Santillan — the top-ranked 126-pounder in 5A — earned a major decision win over Cherokee Trail’s Drake Davis at 1323 pounds to make the switch work.
Sophomore Alex Santillan (113 pounds) joined Wikowsky with early wins by pin for Grandview, then junior Dylan Ranieri (145), senior Grady Colgan (152), junior Brice Hartzhheim (170) and sophomore Joe Renner (182) also won by fall.
JJ Boimah’s 30-second pin at 160 pounds gave Cherokee Trail its only win in the final 10 matches.
Grandview got tuned up for the rugged Arvada West Invitational on Saturday, a 24-team tournament that includes a number of top teams from Colorado. The Wolves return to Centennial League action at upstart Eaglecrest on Jan. 18.
Cherokee Trail had a Saturday date ahead at the Rocky Mountain Duals in Fort Collins, then heads out of town for the Rockwell Rumble in Utah. The Cougars’ next league match comes with a home dual against Mullen on Jan. 25.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
GRANDVIEW 52, CHEROKEE TRAIL 18
195 pounds — Brock Howard (Cherokee Trail) pinned Isaac Smith (Grandview), 1:13; 220 pounds — Davione Marshall (Cherokee Trail) dec. Giovanny Beauge (Grandview), 7-1; 285 pounds — William Wikowksy (Grandview) pinned Cody Herdman (Cherokee Trail), 2:53; 106 pounds — Andrew Chilton (Cherokee Trail) dec. Frankie Sanchez (Grandview), 9-5; 113 pounds — Alex Santillan (Grandview) pinned Brayan Nicoletti (Cherokee Trail), 3:10; 120 pounds — Raymond Johnson (Grandview) pinned Ethan Debelak (Cherokee Trail), 1:18; 126 pounds — Giovani Federico (Grandview) dec. Kyler Pritchard (Cherokee Trail), 9-2; 132 pounds — Fabian Santillan (Grandview) maj. dec. Drake Davis (Cherokee Trail), 12-1; 138 pounds — Matthew Frye (Grandview) dec. David Rivera (Cherokee Trail), 9-4 (OT); 145 pounds — Dylan Ranieri (Grandview) pinned Zach Pierson (Cherokee Trail), 5:06; 152 pounds — Grady Colgan (Grandview) pinned Abel Ambriz (Cherokee Trail), 4:27; 160 pounds — JJ Boimah (Cherokee Trail) pinned Caleb Rider (Grandview), 0:30; 170 pounds — Brice Hartzhheim (Grandview) pinned Brahn Howard (Cherokee Trail), 1:57; 182 pounds — Joe Renner (Grandview) pinned Austin Jandik (Cherokee Trail), 3:18