AURORA | For the first time, all 11 Aurora high schools have at least one wrestler qualified for the Class 5A and 4A state wrestling tournament, topping the high of 10 established the last two years.
Overland’s Amer Tipura finished second in 5A at 220 pounds in 2013, but the Trailblazers missed out on state qualifiers in the past two seasons, a streak snapped when junior Sean Kelly (120) and sophomore Kaelin Chin (195) made it this season.
Grandview has the largest state contingent with nine state qualifiers, followed by Aurora Central (6), Cherokee Trail (4), Hinkley and Rangeview (3), plus Gateway, Overland, Regis Jesuit, Smoky Hill and Vista PEAK (2) and Eaglecrest (1).
・The first round of the 5A & 4A state tournament begins at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, with matches running until they are completed. Championship quarterfinals take place at 12:15 p.m. Friday and championship semifinals at 7:15 p.m. Placing matches are slated for 2:30 p.m. Saturday and the Parade of Champions preceding the finals is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Consolation matches take place following each championship round Friday and preceding placing matches on Saturday.
・Tim Yount of On The Mat released his predictions for the top six placewinners in each weight class and his predictions have eight Aurora wrestlers making their way on to the medal podium.
Leading the way in the predictions is Seth Bogulski, who Yount has winning Cherokee Trail’s first-ever state championship at 170 pounds, while he also expects Grandview’s Joshua Vigil-Harrison to reach the heavyweight final and lose to Fruita’s Clayton Voytilla, who has beaten him twice this season, including a 5-2 decision in the Region 1 championship match last weekend. The pre-state picks also show Cherokee Trail with a pair of third-place finishers in juniors Ezequiel Silva at 182 pounds and Max Gonzales at 220 pounds (the same place Gonzales took last season) with Hinkley’s Ben Rhoton and Serj Chavez placing fifth at 106 and 138 pounds, respectively and Grandview’s Xavier Cardenas (120 pounds) and Gabriel Baumgartner (220 pounds) taking sixth.
Five other Aurora wrestlers sit in the close to placing category in Grandview’s Giovanni Federico (106) and Tanner Patterson (138), Aurora Central’s Jonnathan Quijada (132), Hinkley’s Rafael Garibay (120) and Regis Jesuit’s Brandon Minear (152). Yount defines close as one match away from making the medal round depending on the flow of the tournament.
Yount still has Cherokee Trail ranked No. 6 in the team standings despite just four state qualifiers. The reason is points, as he has Bogulski, Silva and Gonzales scoring significantly with their projected top-three finishes. Grandview is in a race for 10th, which would be a marked improvement from its 17th-place showing last season.
・Thirteen of Aurora’s 36 qualifiers made it to the state tournament last season and 15 have wrestled at the Pepsi Center before, as Rangeview senior Kipp Corby and Eaglecrest senior Anthony Malone appeared in 2014 before missing out last season. Aurora’s contingent includes three four-time state qualifiers in Grandview seniors Xavier Cardenas (120 pounds) and Joshua Vigil-Harrison (285 pounds) and Regis Jesuit’s Nick Elgin (182 pounds), a three-time qualifier in Aurora Central’s Jonnathan Quijada (132 pounds) and two returning state placers in Vigil-Harrison and Cherokee Trail’s Max Gonzales (220 pounds), who both placed third last season.
・Grandview sophomore Giovanni Federico comes into the tournament with a 40-10 record, giving him the most wins among the Aurora contingent. Federico needs three wins in the 106-pound bracket to tie the Wolves’ program record for wins in a season, a mark of 43 set by Eric Wilson — one of Grandview’s four all-time state champions — in 2008-09. Cherokee Trail’s Seth Bogulski (170 pounds) is next with 39 wins, followed by Grandview’s Tyler Ross (38), Aurora Central’s Jonnathan Quijada (37) and Regis Jesuit’s Nick Elgin (182 pounds) and Grandview’s Joshua Vigil-Harrison (285 pounds) with 36 apiece.
・Aurora has the most state qualifiers at 138 pounds, with four of them in 5A — seniors Kipp Corby of Rangeview and Tanner Patterson of Grandview and juniors Serj Chavez of Hinkley and Omar Gonzalez of Aurora Central — plus Vista PEAK senior Marcus Guerra in 4A. Next is 182 pounds, where seniors Christian Calkins of Rangeview and Nick Elgin of Regis Jesuit and juniors Ezequiel Silva of Cherokee Trail and Elijah Kelly of Gateway are all in the 5A brackets. The city has single qualifiers at 145 pounds (Aurora Central’s Jose Millan), 152 pounds (Brandon Minear of Regis Jesuit) and 160 pounds (Grandview’s Tyler Ross).
・City wrestlers are involved in 33 first-round matches, which include three all-city matchups. At 138 pounds, Rangeview’s Kipp Corby (34-8) takes on Hinkley’s Serj Chavez (33-6), while Regis Jesuit’s Nick Elgin (36-7) meets Cherokee Trail’s Ezequiel Silva (33-4) at 182 pounds and heavyweights Ryan Campbell (19-17) of Smoky Hill meets Grandview’s Joshua Vigil-Harrison (36-8).
Chavez won a meeting with Corby recently, as the Thunderbirds’ junior posted a 7-2 decision over the Raiders’ senior in the EMAC championship match at 138 pounds on Feb. 6. Vigil-Harrison pinned Campbell in the third period when the two squared off in a Centennial League dual match between Grandview and Smoky Hill on Jan. 21. Cherokee Trail and Regis Jesuit faced off as part of the Cougars’ Holiday Duals in December, but Elgin wrestled at 195 pounds then while Silva was at 182.
Full 5A & 4A state wrestling pairings involving Aurora wrestlers, here.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel