DENVER | The 220-pound weight class has been the strongest all season in Aurora wrestling, and the top two combatants square off for the Class 5A state championship Saturday night.

Undefeated and top-ranked senior Grant Neal of Regis Jesuit and senior No. 2-ranked Dexter Bess of Smoky Hill began the state tournament on a collision course on different sides of the bracket and both made it through Friday night’s semifinal round unscathed.

Bess (45-3) had to beat Aurora’s other 220-pound contender — Hinkley’s Max Carbajal — for the right to wrestle for the state championship, which he did with a late pin, while Neal (38-0) pinned Grand Junction’s Tyler Zook as well to reach a state championship match for the second straight season.

The two will square off as part of the championship session set for 6:30 p.m. at Pepsi Center, which will included another Aurora state title hopeful in Gateway sophomore 152-pounder Deyaun Trueblood.

Trueblood (38-3) knocked out one of the 5A tournament’s undefeated wrestlers in the semifinals, when he dealt Rocky Mountain’s Roman Ortiz — 37-0 coming into the match — a 3-2 defeat. He’ll go against Fountain-Fort Carson’s Rashawn Bedford (37-4), who beat him at last season’s state tournament, in the state championship match.

Besides Carbajal, two other Aurora wrestlers — both from Regis Jesuit — lost with trips to the state title match on the line. All three are assured of placing in the top six of their respective weight classes, as they drop into the consolation semifinals.

Junior Logan Ronan suffered a tough 6-4 loss to Ponderosa’s Torry Williams in one of the 145-pounder semifinals, while freshman Trenton Schultz lost a 13-4 major decision to Grand Junction star Jacob Trujillo.

Five other Aurora wrestlers made it through two rounds of the consolation bracket, keeping them alive to place in the top six: Cherokee Trail junior Danny Constant (106 pounds), Grandview sophomore Xavier Cardenas (120 pounds), Eaglecrest junior Dominique Evans (138 pounds) and Rangeview freshman Max Gonzales and Smoky Hill senior Demarcus Curtis, who will meet in the 195-pound consolation bracket.


Feb. 22, 6:30 p.m., at Pepsi Center

152 pounds: DEYAUN TRUEBLOOD, GATEWAY (38-3) vs. Rashawn Bedford, Fountain-Fort Carson (37-4)

220 pounds: DEXTER BESS, SMOKY HILL (45-3) vs. GRANT NEAL, REGIS JESUIT (38-0)

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel

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...