AURORA | The 2023 girls state wrestling tournament at glance for Aurora teams:

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

BREAKDOWN: Four Aurora programs will be represented at the 2023 girls state wrestling tournament, which will be held at the Ball Arena for the second year in a row.

Coach Horacio Vialpando’s Eaglecrest team has the largest state contingent with eight state qualifiers, followed by coach Jakob Vargas’ Vista PEAK team with five, plus three for coach Nikki Garcia’s Overland squad and one for coach Gary Segura’s Regis Jesuit program.

Full state tournament brackets and pairings, here

The first round of the girls state tournament begins at noon Thursday and runs in the same session as the opening round of the Class 2A and 3A boys. The quarterfinal round and first round of consolations begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday, while all semifinals will be held at 6:30 p.m. Consolation matches begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, immediately followed by consolation semifinals, placing matches with the Parade of Champions for girls and boys at 5:30 p.m. preceding finals.

Five of Aurora’s 17 total qualifiers (a huge rise from the nine that made it last season) made the state tournament last season and four of them are seniors Overland’s Vianca Mendoza (120), Eaglecrest’s Kaiya Winbush (125), Vista PEAK’s Leilani Caamal (155) and Eaglecrest’s Blythe Cayko (190) in addition to Eaglecrest junior Gianna Falise (155). All five won at least one match at Ball Arena, but Cayko is the only returning placer as she was the state champion. Cayko is a four-time state participant — dating back to the last season of the sport in the pilot phase in 2020 — and Caamal will wrestle at state for a third time.

Aurora has multiple qualifiers in six weights, starting with 110 pounds — where Eaglecrest freshman Arianna Sanchez and Overland junior Violet Garcia are on opposite sides of the bracket — followed by 120 pounds, where Vista PEAK junior Reagan Perez (who was unable to compete last season due to injury) and Overland senior Vianca Mendoza share the bottom of the bracket and at 125 pounds, Regis Jesuit junior Alexis Segura — a state finalist in 2021 when the tournament was in Pueblo — is on the top side of the bracket and Eaglecrest senior Kaiya Winbush is on the bottom side. All-Aurora second round matchup are possible at 155 pounds (if Eaglecrest junior Gianna Falise and Vista PEAK senior Leilani Caamal) and 190 pounds (if Eaglecrest senior Blythe Cayko and Vista PEAK junior Taryn Holloway) win their first matches. Cayko pinned Holloway in the Region 3 championship match last season. At 235 pounds, Eaglecrest freshman Emma Roberts and Overland junior Ruth Workne both sit on the bottom side of the bracket. Aurora programs did not have a qualifier at 105, 135 and 140 pounds.

Among qualifiers, four come in after winning regional championships (Eaglecrest freshman Diora Moore and junior Blythe Cayko at 170 and 190 pounds, respectively, in Region 3, plus Regis Jesuit junior Alexis Segura (125) and Vista PEAK senior Leilani Caamal (155) in Region 3. Moore caused a stir at regionals as she pinned the state’s top-ranked wrestler in the final. Three other Aurora qualifiers lost in regional finals, four got into state by placing third, four via fourth-place results and two (Eaglecrest senior Kaiya Winbush and freshman Emma Roberts) placed fifth and won a wrestleback.

There is a family tie to the tournament for Vista PEAK freshman Amelia Bacon (115 pounds), as her twin brother, Ian, qualified for the Class 4A boys tournament at 113 pounds.

The breakdown of Aurora state qualifiers by year: five are seniors, seven are juniors and there is one sophomore and a whopping four freshman.

Courtney Oakes is sports Editor and photographer with Sentinel Colorado. A Denver East High School alum. He came to the Sentinel in 2001 and since then has received a number of professional awards from...

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