1/11/2006 4:47:00 PM  icle 

Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel & Daily Sun

Rangeview’s Adam Jerome, left, uses a Sanderson’s cradle to pin Montbello’s Mike Threadgill in the second period of the 119-pound championship match at the Rangeview Invitational Jan. 7. Jerome pinned Threadgill in 3 minutes, 50 seconds to collect one of the host Raiders’ two championships. Six Grandview wrestlers won titles as the Wolves took the team crown with 168.5 points.

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Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel & Daily Sun

Grandview’s Tyler McGoffin, facing, finishes off a pin of Highlands Ranch’s Michael Canono in the third period of the 125-pound championship match Jan. 7 at the Rangeview Invitational. McGoffin was 6-6 coming in, but won three matches and the individual crown.

For more photos like this go to the Aurora Sentinel Photo Gallery

Wolves pin down Rangeview Invite
Six champs give Grandview edge over host Rangeview

By Courtney Oakes
The Aurora Daily Sun & Sentinel

The calendar may have flipped over from 2005, but Grandview’s wrestling success continued Jan. 7.

Seven of the 12 Wolves at the Rangeview Raider Invitational made championship matches, and six of them won as Grandview topped the nine-team field with 168.5 points.

Rangeview, 26.5 points back in second, had individual champions in 119-pounder Adam Jerome and heavyweight Justin Craig, who scored a last-second takedown for a rousing 4-2 decision over Horizon’s Eddie Ellis in the meet’s final match. Zach Curtis was on the short end in the 215-pound title match, and Brandon Johnson was pinned going for supremacy in the 189-pound groups.

Aurora Central finalists Steve Nguyen, Darwin Pineda and Donnie Featherman couldn’t get the Trojans a win, but they helped the team score 76 points for seventh. Coach Conrad Parra’s squad also had three wrestlers come in fourth as Central fell just one point short of a tie with Green Mountain for sixth.

Grandview coach Greg Maestas enjoyed his team’s result, as the Wolves managed the comfortable win with a small squad. It was also Grandview’s first tournament since it took part in the grueling Reno Tournament of Champions Dec. 19-20. The Wolves head to the important Arvada West Invitational on Jan. 14, so the Rangeview tournament was an important tune-up.

“Reno was an eye-opener, but this was a nice way to start the year,” Maestas said. “We had some underclassmen perform well and get some good varsity experience.”

Indeed, Grandview’s two freshmen placed (Eric Wilson second at 103s and Penn Wade third at 215s), and sophomores Patrick Brown and Tyler McGoffin were among the individual champions.

Brown’s move up from junior varsity has been tremendous at the start. The 112-pounder’s raced out to an 11-2 overall record, leaving in his wake a number of pins and lopsided decisions. Brown only got in two matches at Rangeview, but he dominated with a major decision and a swift 1 minute, 56-second pin of Central’s Nguyen for the championship.

“I just went over the match in my mind and thought about what I wanted to do,” said Brown, who is determined to improve on his bottom work so he can make a run at qualifying for state.

“I just wanted to win more,” he added.

McGoffin (6-6 coming in the tournament) took command of Highlands Ranch’s Michael Canono and was on the verge of an easy decision, but instead won by pin with less than 30 seconds left on the clock.

Not to be outdone by the young Wolves, the teams’ studs in the middle of the lineup took care of business with ease.

Following senior C.J. Busby’s first high school tournament championship win at 140 pounds — a solid 4-2 decision over Horizon’s Brian Wingen — seniors Jon Brascetta, Curtis McNary and Matt Lucherini dominated.

Brascetta (5A’s No. 1-ranked 145-pounder according to On The Mat) scored at will against Aurora Central’s Donnie Featherman, racking up 25 points in a period-and-a-half for a tech fall win. McNary, in just his fifth match since coming back from an elbow injury suffered during the football season, pinned overmatched Jeremy Opperman of Green Mountain in a shade under a minute at 152 pounds, and Lucherini major-decisioned tired Jon Marts of Bear Creek for the 160-pound title.

Lucherini — who days earlier won the last match of the night to lift Grandview to a big win over rival Eaglecrest in a Centennial League dual — had hoped to see top-ranked Eric Brennan of Bear Creek, but he didn’t let that deter him from handling understudy Marts.

“I was disappointed to not face Brennan because I always look forward to a match against somebody really good to see how I’m doing for state,” said Lucherini, who suffered two of his losses in Reno and one to 4A No. 2-ranked Johnny Ortega of Thompson Valley at the Grandview Duals.

“This was nice, but state’s all that really matters. I don’t really care if I lose as long as I learn from it.”

For Rangeview, it marked the first competition in three weeks as the Raiders weren’t in action in the week after schools returned from winter break.

Rangeview coach Tim Corby could tell that some rust remained, especially when it got to the final matches of the day.

“I think we’re a better team than how we performed,” said Corby, whose team had 11 placers overall, including third-place winners Ken Spotts (130), Brian Doyle (152) and James Gardner (171).

“This was our first time back at in three weeks, so we came out a little flat,” Corby said. “We got stronger as the day went on, but we still struggled with the last match of the day. We’re getting to the finals, we’re just not winning in numbers. I think we could have given Grandview a better push.”

The Raiders pushed hard at the beginning of the finals thanks to Jerome, a returning state qualifier who stands at 16-7 after pinning Montbello’s Mike Threadgill in 3:50. Jerome led 4-2 in the late stages of the period, then caught Threadgill in a Sanderson’s cradle.

“It’s a move I’ve been working on in practice a lot,” Jerome said. “I hit the Sanderson’s cradle and it worked out. It’s a good win.”

Jerome was particularly satisfied with the victory because it came after he survived some tactical errors that nearly cost him in the previous match, a too-close-for-comfort 9-5 decision of Aurora Central’s Ricardo Villalobos.

After Johnson (pinned by Mullen’s Vince Neiman) and Curtis — who lost 6-4 late in a stall-filled final to Highlands Ranch’s Robby Unger — failed to add to Rangeview’s championship, Craig came through in dramatic fashion.

With everybody watching the last match of the day, Ellis controlled the action for the first two periods and led 2-1 with under a minute left. Craig evened things with an escape point and then overwhelmed Ellis for a winning takedown as the final second hung on the clock. Arms thrust in the air, Craig was mobbed by teammates.

“As important as that was for Justin, it was also important for the team,” Corby said. “It showed them that it’s never over.”

Parra’s Aurora Central team came into the tournament unbeaten in the Skyline League and full of confidence.

Nguyen had trouble with Brown and got pinned quickly in the 112-pound final. Pineda trailed from the start against lanky Joe Waples of Mullen, eventually going down 11-1 at 130s.

“I usually have a better time against the tall guys, but he really knew what he was doing,” said Pineda, who got a major decision in his first match and a pin of Rangeview’s Spotts in the semifinals.

“I was really pumped for the last match, but my adrenaline went away,” he said.

Featherman, 5-11 coming in, pinned Bear Creek’s Brian Sparhawk and Rangeview’s Clayton Frawley with ease on his way to the championship match. Brascetta was a different story, taking Featherman down 12 times for a 25-10 tech fall. Seven of Featherman’s points came when Brascetta intentionally let him escape.

Two-time state qualifier Servando Heredia finished fourth, losing two close decisions. Marts stopped him 12-9 in the 160-pound semifinals and Highlands Ranch’s Jake Julian downed him 7-5 late in the third-place match. Daniel Armijo, entered along with Pineda at 130s, took fourth. Villalobos rebounded from his loss to Jerome to make the third-place match at 119s, but Mullen’s Ben Armendariz pinned him.

Rangeview Raider Invite

Team scores — Grandview 168.50, Rangeview 142, Mullen 108, Horizon 91.5, Highlands Ranch 84, Green Mountain 77, Aurora Central 76, Bear Creek 70, Montbello 29

Championship matches

103 pounds: Zach Maes (Mullen) pinned Eric Wilson (Grandview), 5:54

112: Patrick Brown (Grandview) pinned Steve Nguyen (Aur. Central), 1:56

119: Adam Jerome (Rangeview) pinned Mike Threadgill (Montbello), 3:50

125: Tyler McGoffin (Grandview) pinned Michael Canono (High. Ranch), 5:38

130: Joe Waples (Mullen) maj. dec. Darwin Pineda (Aur. Central), 15-1

135: Zach Padilla (Horizon) pinned Chad Busnardo (Green Mtn.), 0:34

140: C.J. Busby (Grandview) dec. Bryan Wingen (Horizon), 4-2

145: Jon Brascetta (Grandview) tech fall Donnie Featherman (Aur. Central), 25-10

152: Curtis McNary (Grandview) pinned Jeremy Opperman (Green Mtn.), 0:51

160: Matt Lucherini (Grandview) maj. dec. Jon Marts (Bear Creek), 11-2

171: Tripper Florentz (Bear Creek) dec. Jeff Quinlin (High. Ranch), 10-8

189: Vince Nieman (Mullen) pinned Brandon Johnson (Rangeview), 4:52

215: Robby Unger (High. Ranch dec. Zach Curtis (Rangeview), 6-4

Hwt.: Justin Craig (Rangeview) dec. Eddie Ellis (Horizon), 4-2