COMMERCE CITY | The final tune-up before the all-important regional state-qualifying tournaments proved fruitful for several Aurora wrestlers Saturday.
Hinkley senior Serj Chavez and Vista PEAK junior Jayden Smith won championships at the 2017 East Metro Athletic Conference Championship meet at Adams City High School, leading the way for a combined 14 wrestlers from five Aurora Public Schools programs to earn top-four spots in their respective weights.
Chavez — who recently returned the lineup after missing a significant portion of time — won his first two matches in the 138-pound bracket by fall, then defeated a pair of ranked wrestlers back-to-back to win his title.
Ranked No. 9 in 5A by On the Mat, Chavez posted an 8-5 decision over No. 16 Orlando Gallegos of Brighton in the semifinals, followed by a 5-3 victory over eighth-ranked Joshua Deaguero of Adams City in a tight final.
With only six wrestlers in the 182-pound bracket, Smith needed just two victories to wrap up his conference title. Ranked No. 9 in 4A, Smith won by fall against both of his opponents, including a pin recorded in the second period over 5A No. 15 Carlos Flores of Northglenn in the final.
Rangeview didn’t have any champions, but finished tops among Aurora teams with a fifth-place total of 56 points. The Raiders had four top-four placers, headed by senior Deron Solomon, the 145-pound runner-up. Solomon — ranked No. 6 in 5A at 145 pounds — lost a 4-3 decision to Prairie View’s Santana Salas, who sits one spot above in the rankings.
Bryan Fierro (third at 113 pounds), Allahjah Mujib (fourth at 160 pounds) and Kameron Reed (fourth at 285 pounds) rounded out the placers for Rangeview.
Hinkley finished sixth with a total of three placers, with senior Tairus Venable joining Chavez in making the finals. Unranked coming in, Venable lost an 8-1 decision to Brighton’s Jeremiah Ellerd — ranked No. 3 in 5A — in the final. Carlos Argueta placed fourth at 195 pounds.
Smith was joined on the medal podium by teammate Connor Ireland, who placed third at 132 pounds to help Vista PEAK to a seventh-place finish in its debut at the EMAC tournament.
Eighth-place Gateway had a trio of placers, who all took fourth at their respective weights, in Blake Thomas (138), Christian Trujillo (152) and Jarrett Reigies (170).
Aurora Central had a finalist in 126-pounder Werals Niyongabo, who won his first two matches handily before he was pinned in the first period in the final by third-ranked Nick Gonzales of Adams City. Jorge Valdez Leal also claimed fourth at 220 pounds for the Trojans, who finished 10th as a team.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2017 EMAC WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Feb. 4 at Adams City High School
Team scores: 1. Brighton 253 points; 2. Adams City 178.5; 3. Prairie View 140.5; 4. Northglenn 71.5; 5. RANGEVIEW 56; 6. HINKLEY 52; 7. VISTA PEAK 49.5; 8. GATEWAY 28; 9. Westminster 27; 10. AURORA CENTRAL 26; 11. Thornton 12.5
Aurora top four placers: 113 pounds — Bryan Fierro (Rangeview), 3rd; 126 pounds — Werals Niyongabo (Aurora Central), 2nd; 132 pounds — Connor Ireland (Vista PEAK), 3rd; 138 pounds — Serj Chavez (Hinkley), champion; Blake Thomas (Gateway), 4th; 145 pounds — Deron Solomon (Rangeview), 2nd; 152 pounds — Christian Trujillo (Gateway), 4th; 160 pounds — Tairus Venable (Hinkley), 2nd; Allahjah Mujib (Rangeview), 4th; 170 pounds — Jarrett Reigies (Gateway), 4th; 182 pounds — Jayden Smith (Vista PEAK), champion; 195 pounds — Carlos Argueta (Hinkley), 4th; 220 pounds — Jorge Valdez Leal (Aurora Central), 4th; 285 pounds — Kameron Reed (Rangeview), 4th