Wrestling: Regis Jesuit’s Neal, Overland’s Tipura set for state championship matches

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Regis Jesuit's Grant Neal
Regis Jesuit coach Danny Bieshaar, left, and junior Grant Neal celebrate after Neal’s 4-3 win over Fountain-Fort Carson’s Tracy Hancock in a 195-pound semifinal match at the Class 5A state wrestling tournament on Feb. 22, 2013, at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

DENVER | Overland’s Amer Tipura and Columbine’s Brian Mayberry have wrestled four overtime matches in the past year-plus with one final showdown ahead.

The two will meet in prime time on Saturday night at the Pepsi Center, when they will face each other in the 220-pound championship match of the Class 5A state wrestling tournament.

Overland's Amer Tipura
Overland senior Amer Tipura raises his arms after he made the Class 5A 220-pound state wrestling championship match on Feb. 22, 2013, at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Tipura won in double-overtime when they wrestled a week ago at regionals and with another victory in the final — which comes in the championship session which begins after the Parade of Champions at 6:30 p.m. — would make him Overland’s first state champion since Dale King in 1996.

A 4-2 decision over Ralston Valley’s Jakob Buys in the semifinals made Tipura half of the Aurora duo set to wrestle in championship matches. Regis Jesuit junior 195-pounder Grant Neal is the other, as he scored a dramatic 4-3 decision over Fountain-Fort Carson’s Tracy Hancock.

Neal (40-3) — who beat Hancock with a takedown in the final five seconds — will face Fossil Ridge junior Payton Tapia (34-3) in the championship match. A victory would make Neal the fourth different state champion for Regis Jesuit since 2007, following John Hooper (2007), Denzel Washington (2008) and John Crowley (2010, 2011, 2012).

Aurora’s three other semifinalists — Gateway freshman 145-pounder Deyaun Trueblood, Cherokee Trail junior 152-pounder Harley Korte and Eaglecrest senior Mike Howshar — each went down to defeat.

By virtue of making it to the semifinals, Trueblood — who lost an 11-5 decision to unbeaten Jacob Trujillo of Grand Junction in the semifinals — will become the first Gateway wrestler on the medal podium since LaDaris Mungin took 5th in 2010, the only question is which place he will take.

A victory against either Pine Creek’s Derrik Ortiz or Ponderosa’s Torry Williams, who he beat in the opening round, would put Trueblood in the third-place match.

Korte suffered a 15-0 tech fall loss against Mountain Range’s Randy Boerner in the semifinals, but still has a chance to match the best result in Cherokee Trail history of third place.

Howshar became the victim of another win by fall at state for Rocky Mountain’s Tony Martinez, who a round earlier took out defending state championship Jorge Rodriguez of Mountain Range, but he’ll place for a second straight season. Howshar took sixth a year ago.

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555

AURORA CLASS 5A STATE WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES

195 pounds: Grant Neal, jr., Regis Jesuit (40-3) vs. Payton Tapia, jr., Fossil Ridge (34-3)

220 pounds: Amer Tipura, sr., Overland ( ) vs. Brian Mayberry, sr., Columbine