Eaglecrest senior Blythe Cayko, right, works against Calhan’s Taylor Knox during the first period of the 190-pound final at the 2023 girls state wrestling tournament on Feb. 18, 2023, at Ball Arena in Denver. Cayko defeated Knox in the 2022 final, but Knox won the rematch 3-2 in the ultimate tiebreaker. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

DENVER | Seven Aurora boys and girls wrestlers got the chance to compete in the massive spotlight of the championship session of the state wrestling tournament at Ball Arena, but all of them finished a step down from the top of medal podium as runners-up.

Eaglecrest senior Blythe Cayko — who won a state championship in the girls tournament in 2022 — had the last chance of all the locals and in a rematch of last season’s final, dropped a 3-2 decision on the ultimate tiebreaker to Calhan’s Taylor Knox in one of the most palpably intense matches of the night.

Two other girls from Aurora programs finished on the short end of decisions in championship matches in Regis Jesuit junior Alexis Segura at 125 pounds and Vista PEAK Leilani Caamal at 155 pounds. It was the second career finals appearance for Segura — who was also a state runner-up as a freshman in 2021 — and the first for Caamal, who became her program’s first-ever state finalist.

The Vista PEAK boys also had its first wrestler in the state championship match in senior Ezekiel Taylor, who dropped the Class 4A 190-pound final by decision.

Three other first-time finalists — Eaglecrest junior Adonias Cantu at 106 pounds, Regis Jesuit sophomore Garrett Reece at 132 pounds and Grandview senior Max Kibbee at 190 pounds — all went down to defeat.

The large host of finalists highlighted a strong performance for Aurora programs — four in girls and nine in boys at the state tournament — who combined for 17 top-six finishes, including a fifth and sixth place in the girls side (story, here) and eight places between third and sixth for the boys (story, here).

Of the 17 qualifiers from four Aurora girls programs — eight from Eaglecrest, five from Vista PEAK, three from Overland one from Regis Jesuit — 12 won at least one match and seven won two or more. Complete results for each Aurora girls state wrestling qualifier, here.

Thirty-four qualifiers from Aurora boys programs — Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Grandview, Overland, Rangeview, Regis Jesuit and Smoky Hill in 5A and Aurora Central and Vista PEAK in 4A — saw at least 24 get their arm raised at least once and 14 two more. Complete results for each Aurora boys state wrestling qualifier, here.

— Final 2023 girls state wrestling tournament team scores and placing match results, here

— Final 2023 5A & 4A boys state wrestling tournament team scores and placing match results, here

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

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