Ponderosa dominant in return to finals

LITTLETON Top-ranked and three-time defending state champion Ponderosa used a blend of youth and experience Saturday to win the Class 5A, Region I wrestling tournament at Arapahoe High School.

Ponderosa advanced seven wrestlers into the finals, came away with five champions, and scored 243 points to overwhelm the 14-team field. Overall, the Mustangs of coach Tim Ottmann advanced nine wrestlers to next weekend's state tournament at the Pepsi Center.

Grand Junction, ranked No. 10 by On The Mat, placed second with 194 points and advanced eight wrestlers, including two champions. Grandview, also with a pair of champions in the field, was third with 174 points and also eight wrestlers heading downtown.

Ponderosa's two state champions, Ian Heinisch and Marcus Nelson, and runner-up Jesse Snider led with their experience. The youth came from freshmen Zeke Hofer and Daniel Kelly.

Heinisch, ranked No. 1 in his weight, pinned Palmer's James Gerstberger at 5:19 to win the 189-pound title. Gerstberger has only wrestled the second half of the season and was unbeaten until his final with Heinisch. He heads into state with a 16-1 record.

"(Gerstberger) was pretty tough and decent on his feet," said Heinisch, who improved to 35-5. "I just kept going at him. I'm better on the mat and I was able to get some good back points before the pin. But, he was a strong guy.

"Winning the team title is pretty good, and I think gets us on the right step to winning state," Heinisch said. "Our freshmen are pretty solid. They have a lot to look forward to."

Nelson, who won his state title in 2004 but fell to second last season, also holds down a No. 1 ranking at 135. His opponent in the final was Coronado's No. 2 ranked Cole Nash, but the results were certainly unexpected as Nelson easily won, 15-4.

"It's showing that all our hard work is paying off," said Nelson, who will take a 30-4 record into the state tournament. "We are just working to stay real tight with all our moves and not make any serious mistakes.

"That's just what I did today and was able to beat him," Nelson said. "I wrestled Cole in my freshman year and it was close. He's actually a great kid and I've had a chance to practice with him in freestyle in the summer. He's going to do well next week, too."

Snider, also holding down a No. 1 ranking, defeated Grand Junction's Jared Bratcher, 6-2, for the 140-pound title.

Ottmann had hoped for a couple more qualifiers, but he knew the competition in the region was going to be strong from the get-go.

"It went just about as we expected, but with a couple of disappointments," Ottmann said. "But we've also had a couple of kids step it up. I think the biggest surprise was our 171-pounder, T.J. (Heffron). He lost a tough one, but in the finals for the first time in any tournament.

"I was impressed with Grand Junction," Ottmann said. "They came in and did a fine job. Give them a lot of credit."

Hofer and Kelly got Ponderosa off on the right foot. Hofer, ranked No. 1 at 103-pounds, defeated Grand Junction's Paul Scanga, who is ranked No. 2, by an impressive 16-9 score. Kelly, who is ranked No. 5, had it a bit tougher beating Grandview's No. 6 ranked Patrick Brown, 7-3.

Goebel was the first of the Grand Junction wrestlers to come through with a win over a Ponderosa opponent. He ranked No. 9 at 171 and came through with a 6-2 win over Heffron.

"It was the first time I've seen Heffron, but I know that Ponderosa kids are always pretty good," said Goebel, 30-7 this season. "We're sending nine to state, so I think we might do all right. I felt confidence in myself and for our team. We have a pretty good team, but Pondersoa is pretty good, too, and they show it."

Grandview's Jon Brascetta, ranked No. 1 at 145, was the first to put a halt to Ponderosa's run. Brascetta improved to 28-3 with a surprising 13-2 victory over Ponderosa's No. 2 ranked Patrick Armstrong. He had beaten Armstrong before this season, but had a few worries this time out.

"This time I was a little nervous," Brascetta said. "Not as nervous as the first time, but still nervous. You can't afford a mistake. I'm really excited now for state, a lot more than I was. I'll probably wrestle Pat in the finals, but I'm just more excited than I've ever been."

Grandview's No. 1 ranked Curtis McNary had the toughest time of the top wrestlers. He trailed Arvada West's Ryan Sanchez 5-3 with less than :10 remaining. But a quick take down and a pin at 5:59 got the win and an improved record to 20-1.

A second-place finish had Grand Junction coach Gene Wilder feeling pretty good.

"We're tickled," Wilder said. "We had a lot of adversity at the beginning of the year with a few injuries and guys from the football team coming out late. We won the Southwestern League and beating Central (Grand Junction Central) was a real boost for our whole team.

"Coming in here, we knew it was going to be tough with Ponderosa, Coronado and Grandview," Wilder said. "Realistically, I told the guys we'll be happy with seven. We were, of course, shooting for 14, I'm really happy right now."

Grand Junction won its second title of the night at 215 as Justin Reed defeated Cherry Creek's Marty Taffet, 17-3.

There was little doubt the crowd in the Arapahoe gym was waiting for its opportunity to watch Cornado's Henry Cejudo at 125 pounds.

Cejudo is not only the No. 1 ranked wrestler in Colorado at the weight, but No. 1 in the nation and the Junior World Champion. And, he's an Olympic hopeful in 2008.

Cejudo thrilled the crowd with his skills with each opponent before mercifully ending the matches. He won the Region title with a 21-6 technical fall over Adams City's A.J. Maestas.

And Maestas is not all that bad, either, as he is ranked No. 3 at the weight. One consolation for the Adams City grappler is that he will be on the opposite side of the bracket at this week's state tournament.

In all, seven wrestlers were top-ranked in the Region I tournament. Also coming through with a victory and improving to 41-1 was Eaglecrest's Rocco DePaolo. He made short work of Arapahoe's Matt Croshal with a pin in 1:29.

Team scores

Place Score Name 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th

1 243.00 Ponderosa 5 2 2 2 1
2 194.00 Grand Junction 2 2 1 3 1 1
3 174.00 Grandview 2 1 2 1 2 2
4 155.50 Arapahoe 1 3 1 2 1
5 116.50 Palmer 2 2 1 1
6 101.00 Eaglecrest 1 1 2 2
7 85.00 Arvada West 1 1 1 1
8 83.00 Fruita 1 1 1 1
9 77.00 Rangeview 1 2 3
10 60.50 Cherry Creek 1 1 1
11 59.50 Coronado 1 1 1
12 50.00 Lakewood 1 1 1
13 49.50 Adams City 1 2
14 36.00 Overland 1 2
15 0.00 Team 15
0.00 Team 16

All finals

Championship

103 Zeke Hofer, Ponderosa Dec Paul Scanga, Grand Junction, 16/9
112 Daniel Kelly, Ponderosa Dec Patrick Brown, Grandview, 7/3
119 Jason Blasdel, Fruita M-Dec Kelan Hughes, Arapahoe, 14/0
125 Henry Cejudo, Coronado T-Fall A.J. Maestas, Adams City, 21/6
130 Rocco DePaolo, Eaglecrest Fall Matt Croshal, Arapahoe, 1:28
135 Marcus Nelson, Ponderosa M-Dec Cole Nash, Coronado, 14/5
140 Jesse Snider, Ponderosa Dec Jared Bratcher, Grand Junction, 6/2
145 Jon Brascetta, Grandview M-Dec Patrick Armstrong, Ponderosa, 13/2
152 Curtis McNary, Grandview Fall Ryan Sanchez, Arvada West, 5:59
160 Zach Phillips, Arvada West Fall Xander Elliott, Arapahoe, 3:48
171 Jared Goebel, Grand Junction Dec T.J. Heffron, Ponderosa, 6/2
189 Ian Heinisch, Ponderosa Fall James Gerstberger, Palmer, 5:19
215 Justin Reed, Grand Junction M-Dec Marty Taffet, Cherry Creek, 17/3
275 Bobby Strain, Arapahoe Dec Jon Russell, Palmer, 7/1

Consolation

103 Eric Wilson, Grandview Dec Ruben Markarian, Eaglecrest, 4/0
112 Andrew Mayle, Coronado Dec Pace Bates, Grand Junction, 11/7
119 Joey Mellilo, Palmer Dflt Travis Rios, Lakewood
125 Ty Bennett, Ponderosa Dec Nathan Childers, Eaglecrest, 6/3
130 Tyler Young, Grand Junction Fall Matt Hamaker, Fruita, 4:35
135 Ryan Olvera, Eaglecrest Dec Harrison Frawley, Rangeview, 9/2
140 Micah Burak, Coronado Fall Addison MacDonald, Grandview, :45
145 Joe Meinhart, Fruita Dec Nick Gerace, Arvada West, 5/3
152 Justin Reed, Arapahoe T-Fall Craig Keefover, Ponderosa, 17/2
160 Jon Montgomery, Palmer Fall Mac Cunningham, Ponderosa, :42
171 John Simpson, Grandview Dec Leif DeWolf, Palmer, 9/6
189 Brandon Johnson, Rangeview Fall Robert Tucker, Grand Junction, 1:26
215 Drew Crosier, Ponderosa Dec Zach Curtis, Rangeview, 5/2
275 Stephen Stahl, Overland Fall Isaac Valentine, Grand Junction, 2:10

5th place

103 Ruben Sanchez, Adams City Fall Aaron Behm, Overland, 4:31
112 Norris Le, Rangeview Dec Josh Neuberger, Eaglecrest, 10/9
119 Geronimo Gemoya, Grand Junction Dec Nick Lopez, Arvada West, 7/1
125 Tyler McGoffin, Grandview M-Dec Dane Porter, Grand Junction, 14/5
130 Nathan Brickell, Coronado Dec Nick Turco, Ponderosa, 5/1
135 Wayne Enockson, Lakewood Dec Alex West, Palmer, 5/3
140 Chris Swan, Cherry Creek Fall Josh Baker, Lakewood, 1:58
145 Kyle Martin, Coronado M-Dec Jake Wilson, Arapahoe, 13/2
152 Brian Doyle, Rangeview Dec Nate Zeleski, Overland, 11/6
160 Matt Lucherini, Grandview M-Dec A.J. Matthews, Eaglecrest, 14/3
171 Robert Lanius, Arapahoe Dec Michael Kirrane, Cherry Creek, 13/8
189 Devon Minshal, Arapahoe Fall Zach Jones, Grandview, 2:06
215 LeRoy Vigil, Adams City Dec Penn Wade, Grandview, 5/3
275 Justin Craig, Rangeview Dec Carlos Padilla, Fruita, 5/0

Place winners

Weight: 103

1st: Zeke Hofer, Ponderosa 9 35- 5
2nd: Paul Scanga, Grand Junction 12 21- 2
3rd: Eric Wilson, Grandview 9 22- 12
4th: Ruben Markarian, Eaglecrest 11 27- 14
5th: Ruben Sanchez, Adams City 11 25- 16
6th: Aaron Behm, Overland 9 16- 16

Weight: 112

1st: Daniel Kelly, Ponderosa 9 37- 7
2nd: Patrick Brown, Grandview 10 29- 7
3rd: Andrew Mayle, Coronado 11 15- 7
4th: Pace Bates, Grand Junction 11 30- 13
5th: Norris Le, Rangeview 12 13- 15
6th: Josh Neuberger, Eaglecrest 10 22- 21

Weight: 119

1st: Jason Blasdel, Fruita 12 30- 5
2nd: Kelan Hughes, Arapahoe 12 26- 11
3rd: Joey Mellilo, Palmer 11 30- 7
4th: Travis Rios, Lakewood 9 30- 12
5th: Geronimo Gemoya, Grand Junction 10 29- 12
6th: Nick Lopez, Arvada West 10 18- 17

Weight: 125

1st: Henry Cejudo, Coronado 12 22- 0
2nd: A.J. Maestas, Adams City 11 17- 5
3rd: Ty Bennett, Ponderosa 12 31- 11
4th: Nathan Childers, Eaglecrest 12 36- 7
5th: Tyler McGoffin, Grandview 11 23- 10
6th: Dane Porter, Grand Junction 11 26- 17

Weight: 130

1st: Rocco DePaolo, Eaglecrest 12 41- 1
2nd: Matt Croshal, Arapahoe 12 31- 6
3rd: Tyler Young, Grand Junction 11 37- 5
4th: Matt Hamaker, Fruita 12 30- 9
5th: Nathan Brickell, Coronado 11 24- 12
6th: Nick Turco, Ponderosa 12 23- 15

Weight: 135

1st: Marcus Nelson, Ponderosa 12 31- 4
2nd: Cole Nash, Coronado 12 34- 3
3rd: Ryan Olvera, Eaglecrest 11 34- 10
4th: Harrison Frawley, Rangeview 12 25- 12
5th: Wayne Enockson, Lakewood 11 31- 13
6th: Alex West, Palmer 11 23- 21

Weight: 140

1st: Jesse Snider, Ponderosa 11 37- 7
2nd: Jared Bratcher, Grand Junction 12 23- 2
3rd: Micah Burak, Coronado 11 34- 3
4th: Addison MacDonald, Grandview 12 23- 11
5th: Chris Swan, Cherry Creek 12 26- 14
6th: Josh Baker, Lakewood 12 20- 20

Weight: 145

1st: Jon Brascetta, Grandview 12 29- 3
2nd: Patrick Armstrong, Ponderosa 11 30- 7
3rd: Joe Meinhart, Fruita 11 28- 12
4th: Nick Gerace, Arvada West 12 29- 10
5th: Kyle Martin, Coronado 11 33- 11
6th: Jake Wilson, Arapahoe 9 21- 15

Weight: 152

1st: Curtis McNary, Grandview 12 20- 1
2nd: Ryan Sanchez, Arvada West 12 30- 4
3rd: Justin Reed, Arapahoe 12 26- 12
4th: Craig Keefover, Ponderosa 11 13- 10
5th: Brian Doyle, Rangeview 12 24- 9
6th: Nate Zeleski, Overland 12 19- 12

Weight: 160

1st: Zach Phillips, Arvada West 12 28- 6
2nd: Xander Elliott, Arapahoe 12 22- 9
3rd: Jon Montgomery, Palmer 12 31- 9
4th: Mac Cunningham, Ponderosa 11 13- 10
5th: Matt Lucherini, Grandview 12 28- 8
6th: A.J. Matthews, Eaglecrest 12 23- 13

Weight: 171

1st: Jared Goebel, Grand Junction 12 30- 7
2nd: T.J. Heffron, Ponderosa 11 22- 11
3rd: John Simpson, Grandview 12 12- 11
4th: Leif DeWolf, Palmer 11 24- 19
5th: Robert Lanius, Arapahoe 11 16- 18
6th: Michael Kirrane, Cherry Creek 11 13- 12

Weight: 189

1st: Ian Heinisch, Ponderosa 11 36- 5
2nd: James Gerstberger, Palmer 12 17- 2
3rd: Brandon Johnson, Rangeview 12 18- 8
4th: Robert Tucker, Grand Junction 10 26- 10
5th: Devon Minshal, Arapahoe 11 27- 8
6th: Zach Jones, Grandview 12 14- 15

Weight: 215

1st: Justin Reed, Grand Junction 12 36- 2
2nd: Marty Taffet, Cherry Creek 12 28- 7
3rd: Drew Crosier, Ponderosa 12 24- 12
4th: Zach Curtis, Rangeview 12 27- 11
5th: LeRoy Vigil, Adams City 10 23- 11
6th: Penn Wade, Grandview 9 20- 12

Weight: 275

1st: Bobby Strain, Arapahoe 12 34- 4
2nd: Jon Russell, Palmer 11 15- 4
3rd: Stephen Stahl, Overland 11 25- 10
4th: Isaac Valentine, Grand Junction 10 16- 10
5th: Justin Craig, Rangeview 12 11- 9
6th: Carlos Padilla, Fruita 11 18- 16

Wrestle back matches: Winner qualifies for state

135 Wayne Enockson (Lakewood) def. Harrison Frawley (Rangeview) 7-6
152 Brian Doyle (Rangeview) def. Craig Keefover (Ponderosa) 22-12
160 Matt Lucherini (Grandview) def. Mac Cunningham (Ponderosa) by pin, 1:57
171 Robert Lanius (Arapahoe) def. Leif DeWolf (Palmer) 11-2
215 Zach Curtis (Rangeview) def. Le Roy Vigil (Adams City) 2-1

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