Wrestling: Cherokee Trail’s Max Gonzales earns program’s first trip to state championship match

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Cherokee Trail junior Max Gonzales, left, gets a pound from coach Jeff Buck after his pin in a 220-pound quarterfinal match at the Class 5A state wrestling tournament. Gonzales pinned his opponent in the semifinals to earn a spot in Saturday's state championship round, scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Cherokee Trail junior Max Gonzales, left, gets a pound from coach Jeff Buck after his pin in a 220-pound quarterfinal match at the Class 5A state wrestling tournament. Gonzales pinned his opponent in the semifinals to earn a spot in Saturday’s state championship round, scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

DENVER | Ranked No. 2 behind Ponderosa freshman Cohl Schultz all season long in the 220-pound ranks, Cherokee Trail’s Max Gonzales will get a chance to see if he can finish the season in the top spot Saturday.

Gonzales earned a spot in the Class 5A state championship match — a first for the Cherokee Trail program — by recording a pair of pins Friday at the Pepsi Center. After he needed just 34 seconds to win in the quarterfinals, Gonzales (35-2) took just 2:14 in the semifinals as he handle Broomfield’s Noah Dohm to set up a meeting with Schultz (46-1) for the state crown.

WRESTLING
WRESTLING

Regardless of the outcome, Gonzales will post his career best finish at state, as he has already surpassed his third-place showing at 220 pounds from last season when he was at Rangeview.

The Parade of Champions is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, ahead of championships in Classes 5A-2A.

Coach Jeff Buck’s Cougars very nearly had a pair of finalists, but 170-pound finalist Seth Bogulski ended up on the short end of a 3-2 triple-overtime loss to Pomona’s Cameron Gonzales in his semifinal match.

Bogulski (41-4) took a lead with an escape point in the second period, then Gonzales evened it with an escape point in the third period to send it to overtime. Both again recorded escapes in the first two overtimes and Bogulski was on bottom for the third overtime, where he needed to earn an escape to win.

Gonzales managed to keep him from getting away and pulled off the upset win.

Bogulski and 182-pounder Ezequiel Silva — who rebounded from a tough quarterfinal loss with a second round consolation victory — can still work their way to the third-place match, which is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel