Wrestling: Redrawn 220-pound 5A state bracket looks vastly different

Cherokee Trail junior Max Gonzales is one of Aurora's 16 returning Class 5A and 4A state wrestling qualifiers in the 2015-16 season and he comes in ranked No. 2 in 5A at 220 pounds by On The Mat. Gonzales placed third in the same weight class last season while he was at Rangeview. With four returning state qualifiers and a loaded top end of the lineup, the Cougars are the preseason No. 9 team in 5A. (Photo by Sara Hertwig/Aurora Sentinel)
With the 220-pound bracket of the Class 5A state wrestling tournament drawn, Cherokee Trail junior Max Gonzales receives a bye in the Feb. 18 first round and is now on the opposite side of the bracket as Ponderosa star Cohl Schultz. (Photo by Sara Hertwig/Aurora Sentinel)

DENVER | Just a few hours before Class 5A and 4A wrestlers took the mats at Pepsi Center Thursday for the opening round of the state tournament, two brackets in 5A had to be redrawn.

According to Colorado High School Activities Association officials, one wrestler in both the 126 and 220 pound brackets did not meet the skin requirements to be able to participate, which forced reshuffling of the matchups that originally came out on Sunday.

Though the removed wrestlers weren’t from Aurora, several city qualifiers are impacted by the change, especially in the 220 pound bracket where Cherokee Trail junior Max Gonzales, Grandview junior Gabriel Baumgartner and Eaglecrest senior Anthony Malone reside.

Because of the seeding criteria for the state tournament that involves returning state qualifiers and placers receiving points, Gonzales — who finished third at 220 pounds last season while he was Rangeview — had been in the top half of the bracket along with Ponderosa freshman Cohl Schultz, who had been ranked No. 1 by On The Mat (with Gonzales No. 2) all season because Schultz had no points from last season’s state tournament. In that set up, the two powerhouses would have met in the semifinals instead of the finals.

With Pomona’s Brandon Micale removed from the bracket, matchups shuffled and Schultz dropped from the upper half of the bracket to the lower. Gonzales ended up with a bye in Thursday’s first round, while Malone moved up from the lower bracket to the upper. He will now face Broomfield’s Noah Dohm — Baumgartner’s original matchup — with Baumgartner taking Schultz’s spot going against Doherty’s Tadeo Villavicencio.

Gonzales will wrestle in Friday’s quarterfinals at 12:15 p.m. against the winner of the first round match between Grand Junction Central’s Andres Martinez and Brighton’s Tanner Aitken, while Malone and Baumgartner could face each other in the quarterfinals if both post first-round wins.

The 126-pound bracket had Coronado freshman KJ Kearns removed, but stayed largely the same. Aurora’s two qualifiers in the weight — Cherokee Trail freshman David Rivera and Grandview senior Ben Ehrhard — face their original opponents. If Rivera wins, he would face Pomona’s Theorius Robison, who received a first round bye with the change.

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


126 pounds: Upper bracket — Estavon Maldonado, jr., Arvada West (18-10) vs. Jackson Huffman, sr., Horizon (24-3); Parker Benekas, soph., Ponderosa (30-10) vs. Justin Lien, jr., Castle View (30-14); DAVID RIVERA, FR., CHEROKEE TRAIL (31-15) vs. Andrew Bench, jr., Grand Junction Central (39-7); Theorius Robison, fr., Pomona (27-4), bye; Lower bracket — Teigan Thomas-Trujillo, sr., Mountain Vista (31-10) vs. Parker McQuade, soph., Monarch (35-5); Owen Lamb, sr., Poudre (33-12) vs. BEN EHRHARD, SR., GRANDVIEW (27-10); Noah Romero, jr., Prairie View (17-8) vs. Polo Garcia, jr., Denver East (28-6); Jordan Bledsoe, sr., Adams City (19-19) vs. Josh Finesilver, sr., Cherry Creek (42-5)

220 pounds: Upper bracketMAX GONZALES, JR., CHEROKEE TRAIL (33-2), bye; Andres Martinez, soph., Grand Junction Central (25-14) vs. Tanner Aitken, jr., Brighton (26-6); Noah Dohm, sr., Broomfield (28-15) vs. ANTHONY MALONE, SR., EAGLECREST (26-5); Tadeo Villavicencio, jr., Doherty (16-18) vs. GABRIEL BAUMGARTNER, JR., GRANDVIEW (30-12); Lower bracket — Weston Mayer, soph., Poudre (33-16) vs. Cohl Schultz, fr., Ponderosa (43-1); Tayler Clifton, sr., Pine Creek (32-7) vs. Dominic Vecchiarelli, sr., Arvada West (30-10); Jeff Rohrer, sr., Thornton (22-13) vs. Kyle Stewart, sr., Legend (39-5); Dominic Montoya, jr., Cherry Creek (18-14) vs. Charles Dunkelman, sr., Loveland (25-1)