Cejudo now has the worlds left to conquer
Ponderosa wins fourth consecutive team title

By Brian Forbes
Special to The Denver Post

Often imitated and certainly envied, Henry Cejudo proved again Saturday night he is one of a kind.

The Coronado 125-pound senior added his fourth state title - second in Colorado - to a trophy case worthy of its own room with his clinical victory over Ponderosa's Ty Bennett, which included a small dose of his own medicine.

The multiple national champion, veteran of world competitions and 2008 Olympic hopeful gave the nearly 20,000 at the Pepsi Center a final glimpse of his catlike moves in the 71st annual state wrestling tournament.

Cejudo had 11 takedowns and gave up seven escapes for a 24-7 technical fall that was over with 42 seconds left in the third period. Cejudo finishes the season 25-0 and said he is happy to close the book on his prep career and move on to bigger and better things.

"I'm still up for a world title," said Cejudo, who won two 112-pound titles in Arizona before relocating near the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. "So I'll keep working."

Bennett (33-12) attempted a few shots, forced two stalemates and provided some laughs when he cut Cejudo loose from the bottom position to begin the second period.

"I was expecting him to ride it but he cut me," Cejudo said with a laugh. "He did my signature, huh?"

Bennett and the Mustangs did take home their fourth consecutive Class 5A team title, tying them for third-longest streak all time. Ponderosa scored 158 points for coach Tim Ottmann's sixth team championship since 1997, which also tied him for third all time.

Ponderosa crowned three state champions. Freshman Zeke Hofer won at 103 pounds, senior Marcus Nelson won at 135 for his second state championship, a feat matched by 189-pound junior Ian Heinisch.

Nelson's 4-2 decision handed Wasson junior Casey Cruz his first defeat of the season. Cruz's older brother, Jesse, won the 130-pound title moments earlier with a gutsy third-period pin of Eaglecrest's Rocco DePaolo.

"I knew it wasn't going to be easy and I just had to go out there and do everything perfect," Nelson said.

Season-long perfection was maintained by Monarch's 112-pounder Geoff Meng (44-0) and Loveland's 119-pound sophomore Tyler Graff (44-0), who won his second state championship by pinning Sean White of Central of Grand Junction.

Meng, who finished second to Graff last year, handed Kyle O'Brien of Rocky Mountain his first loss of the season with a nifty pin in the second period.

"I can't stop smiling," said Meng, who trains with O'Brien.

Good friends also met in the 160-pound final as Bear Creek's Eric Brennan got a takedown with 41 seconds remaining and held on for a 6-5 decision over Brighton's James Lucero.

"Before all my matches we were drilling together so he knew everything I was doing and I knew everything he was doing," Brennan said.

Three-day attendance for the event was 42,011.

Team scores

Ponderosa 158, Wasson 87, Chaparral 73 1/2, Bear Creek 71, Brighton 70, Centaurus 70, Grandview 63 1/2, Thornton 59 1/2, Pomona 59, Legacy 51, Poudre 51, Northglenn 45, Monarch 40, Coronado 38, Central (G.J.) 37 1/2, Rocky Mountain 37 1/2, Loveland 37, Doherty 34, Boulder 33, Eaglecrest 33, Grand Junction 32, Fruita Monument 30 1/2, Fort Collins 29, Douglas County 27, Arapahoe 26, Arvada West 23, Palmer 23, Highlands Ranch 22, Mitchell 22, Air Academy 19, Arvada 19, Adams City 17, Rampart 14, Durango 13, Regis 13, Columbine 11, Standley Lake 11, ThunderRidge 11, Heritage 10, West 9 1/2, Gateway 9, Cherry Creek 7, Rangeview 7, Overland 6, Wheat Ridge 6, East 5, Green Mountain 5, Lakewood 5, Abraham Lincoln 3, Aurora Central 3, Horizon 3, Montbello 3, Mountain Vista 3, Dakota Ridge 2.

Championship matches

103 - Zeke Hofer, Ponderosa, Fr. (39-1) dec. Paul Montoya, Brighton, So. (36-8), 4-2.

112 - Geoff Meng, Monarch, Sr. (44-0) pinned Kyle O'Brien, Rocky Mountain, Sr. (42-1), 3:33.

119 - Tyler Graff, Loveland, So. (44-0) pinned Sean White, Central (G.J.), Sr. (41-2), 3:03.

125 - Henry Cejudo, Coronado, Sr. (25-0) tech. fall Ty Bennett, Ponderosa, Sr. (33-12), 24-7.

130 - Jesse Cruz, Wasson, Jr. (36-1) pinned Rocco DePaolo, Eaglecrest, Sr. (44-2), 5:31.

135 - Marcus Nelson, Ponderosa, Sr. (34-4) dec. Casey Cruz, Wasson, Jr. (40-1), 4-2.

140 - Erik Talmich, Wasson, Sr. (41-1) major dec. Mike Conklin, Fort Collins, Jr. (40-6), 15-3.

145 - Jon Brascetta, Grandview, Sr. (32-3) dec. Patrick Armstrong, Ponderosa, Jr. (32-8), 8-4.

152 - Curtis McNary, Grandview, Sr. (24-1) dec. Brandon Doyle, Poudre, Jr. (35-3), 3-1 OT.

160 - Eric Brennan, Bear Creek, Sr. (39-1) dec. James Lucero, Brighton, Sr. (36-8), 6-5.

171 - Willie McClure, Pomona, Jr. (40-4) major dec. Brennan Whitman, Poudre, Sr. (20-4), 10-2.

189 - Ian Heinisch, Ponderosa, Jr. (39-5) pinned James Gerstberger, Palmer, Sr. (19-2), 3:20.

215 - Waylon Lolatai, Centaurus, Sr. (36-10) dec. Nick Bauman, Legacy, Jr. (34-5), 4-3.

275 - Marcus Felker, Thornton, Jr. (36-1) dec. Andrew Skinner, Chaparral, Sr. (42-3), 2-1.