2006 state wrestling tournament
Coronado's Cejudo makes it 4-for-4 in state titles
Coronado’s Henry Cejudo is ready to look for bigger and better things in his life. But winning his fourth state title Saturday felt pretty good.

Those same feelings were shared by Ponderosa after Class 5A's top-ranked Mustangs won their fourth consecutive title before a crowd of 18,034 at the Pepsi Center. They also crowned three state champions in the process.

Cejudo, who won two titles at Maryville High School in Phoenix, came through with his fourth win by technical fall, a 24-7 victory over Ponderosa’s Ty Bennett. He finished his senior season with a 24-0 record.

"It’s exciting," said Cejudo, also the nation’s top-ranked 125-pounder by Wrestling USA magazine. "Winning four is an accomplishment and a goal I started with. It’s what I wanted, but now I want more."

Cejudo, who has not been taken down this season by any foe, is also a US hopeful for the 2008 Olympic Games and is currently the No. 1 ranked Junior in the World at his weight. However, Bennett did manage to hold Cejudo to a pair of stalemate calls.

Ponderosa had its fourth consecutive championship wrapped up before the remainder of the field took to the mats for the third and fifth-place matches. The Mustangs went into the finals with 144 points and the only question remaining was how many of their five wrestlers would win titles. The answer was three and total team points of 158.

Freshman Zeke Hofer delivered the first title at 103-pounds when he defeated Brighton’s Paul Montoya, 4-2. Marcus Nelson, appearing in a 5A final for the third time in three years, won his second title with a 4-2 decision over Wasson’s Casey Cruz at 135.

"It was all conditioning, all the pain and sweat," said Nelson (34-4) after his win over the previously unbeaten Cruz (40-1). "Everything went as planned. This is my senior year and my last match. I just put out everything I had."

Ian Heinisch won his second title taking the 189-pound title by pinning Palmer’s James Gersttberger in 3:20. Gerstberger, who moved to Colorado Springs from Kansas, finished the season 19-2, both losses to Heinisch.

"It’s kind of funny because he was the same guy I had to wrestle in the region," said Heinisch (39-6). "It is certainly a big jump from last year at 171, but going up in weight is fun. I love being on the team I’m on and contributing. I wanted to do as much as I could to help us win a state title. Now, we will be looking for another next year."

Loveland sophomore Tyler Graff won his second title, this time at 119-pounds. He pinned Grand Junction Central’s No. 2 ranked Sean White in 3:03.

"It was very good to get it over with quickly," said Graff, who won last year at 103 and has a career record 75-1. "I always expect my opponents to be tough, but winning this year seemed a lot easier than last. I’m definitely looking at four, but keep in mind, I have to win a third."

With Ponderosa setting in the top spot, attention turned to the battle for second place. Here, Wasson, with 76 points, Chaparral (73.5) and Brighton (70), were in the hunt. It went to Wasson with 87 points as the Thunderbirds won a pair of championships — Jesse Cruz at 130 and Eric Talmich at 140. Chaparral was third with 73.5 points.

"We had a great tournament," said Ponderosa coach Tim Ottmann. "We only had one bad match and I’m really proud of the kids. They were focused, they were ready, prepared, just a really good tournament for us. I really think our 125-pounder ( Bennett), who came out of the region third, but ranked No. 2 had a great tournament. He beat some tough kids to get to the final against Cejudo. Other than that, it played out like we kind of thought it would."

Ponderosa could be in the running for a fifth title. The Mustangs return six of their nine qualifiers and four of the six place winners. And, they have a good crop of eighth graders coming in.

"Ian and Marcus had good tournaments," Ottmann said. "Ian is a lot like Cejudo, just a cut above the others in this weight class and it shows through the number of pins he gets."

Thirteen wrestlers who held the No. 1 ranking in their weight class by On The Mat reached the finals as did seven ranked No. 2.

Ponderosa’s Jesse Snider was the only top-ranked wrestler who did not reach the finals.

However, he did battle back to finish third with a 6-2 victory over Micah Burak of Coronado.

Geoff Meng of Monarch and Kyle O’Brien of Rocky Mountain were the only unbeatens to wrestle in a final against one another at 112-pounds. And the results were quite surprising with Meng pinning his friend in 3:53 dropping O’Brien’s season record to 42-1.

"I really didn’t expect it would be that easy," said Meng (44-0), who was the state runner-up last season to Loveland’s Graff. "Kyle is a very tough wrestlers and we work out just about every Sunday with our club. I haven’t wrestled him in a high school match in two years. It just feels great to win a state championship. I can’t stop smiling."

Wasson’s Jesse Cruz and Talmich certainly ended their high school careers in splendid fashion. Cruz pinned Eaglecrest’s No. 1 ranked Rocco DePaolo in 5:31 while Talmich, ranked No. 2, came through with a 15-3 victory over surprising Mike Conklin of Fort Collins.

However, the Cruz brothers could not make it a sweep as Casey was defeated by

"Getting the pin was just great, but I felt pretty bad when Casey lost," said Cruz (36-1), who lost his only match of the season to Cejudo. "But Erik came back to get us another win, so things turned out fairly well for us."

Talmich ended his wrestling career with the win and a 41-1 record. He will play baseball in Independence, Kan. next season.

"I knew (Conklin) had an upset to get here, but that’s what happens in state tournaments," Talmich said. "This feels good to get the victory and end my career on a high note."

Grandview’s Jon Brascetta also put a dent in Ponderosa’s celebration beating the Mustang’s Patrick Armstrong, 8-4, to win the title at 145.

"I beat him 13-2 earlier this season, but the score never counts in a situation like this," said Brascetta (32-2). "You always know the Ponderosa guys can pull something. I just was not worried about a score. I just wanted to win."

Waylon Lolatai of Centaurus (36-10), ranked No. 4, pulled off the upset victory over Legacy’s No. 1 ranked Nick Bauman (34-5) for a 4-3 victory. And, there was an element of revenge and Bauman had beaten him earlier this year.

"I just felt that if I didn’t wrestle to my ability I was going to lose," said Lolatai, who is headed for the University of Hawaii. "I just put every last effort in that last escape."

Marcus Felker of Thornton, ranked No. 2 at 275, came up with a 2-1 victory over No. 1 Andrew Skinner of Chaparral. He won on a late penalty point to finish the season with a 33-6 record. Skinner finished 42-3.

Three other top-ranked wrestlers came through with titles. Grandview’s Curtis McNary defeated Brandon Doyle 3-1 in overtime to win at 152, Bear Creek’s Eric Brennan defeated James Lucero of Brighton, 6-5, to win the title at 160, and Pomona’s Willie McClure defeated Brennan Whitman of Poudre, 10-2, for the 171-pound title.

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Class 5A team scores
Ponderosa 158, Wasson 87, Chaparral 73.5, Bear Creek71, Brighton 70, Centaurus 70, Grandview 63.5, Thornton 59.5, Pomona 59, Legacy 51, Poudre 51, Northglenn 45, Monarch 40, Coronado 38, Grand Junction Central 37.5, Rocky Mountain 37.5, Loveland 37, Doherty 34, Boulder 33, Eaglecrest 33, Grand Junction 32, Fruita Monument 30.5, 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, Denver West 9.5, Gateway 9, Cherry Creek 7, Rangeview 7, Fairview 6, Overland 6, Wheat Ridge 6, Denver East 5, Green Mountain 5, Lakewood 5, Lincoln 3, Aurora Central 3, Horizon 3, Montbello 3, Mountain Vista 3, Dakota Ridge 2.

Class 5A championship matches
103: Zeke Hofer, Ponderosa, def. Paul Montoya, Brighton, 4-2.
112: Geoff Meng, Monarch, pinned Kyle O’Brien, Rocky Mountain, 3:33.
119: Tyler Graff, Loveland, pinned, Sean White, Grand Junction Central, 3:03.
125: Henry Cejudo, Coronado, technical fall, Ty Bennett, Ponderosa, 24-7.
130: Jesse Cruz, Wasson, pinned Rocco DePaolo, Eaglecrest, 5:31.
135: Marcus Nelson, Ponderosa, def. Casey Cruz, Wasson, 4-2.
140: Erik Talmich, Wasson, def. Mike Conklin, Fort Collins, 15-3.
145: Jon Brascetta, Grandview, def. Patrick Armstrong, Ponderosa, 8-4.
152: Curtis McNary, Grandview, def. Brandon Doyle, Fort Collins, 3-1 (ot).
160: Eric Brennan, Bear Creek, def. James Lucero, Brighton, 6-5.
171: Willie McClure,, Pomona, def. Brennan Whitman, Poudre, 10-2.
189: Ian Heinisch, Ponderosa, pinned James Gerstberger, Palmer, 3:20.
215: Waylon Lolatai, Centaurus, def. Nick Bauman, Legacy, 4-3.
275: Marcus Felker, Thornton, def. Andrew Skinner, Chaparral, 2-1.

Third-place matches
103: Phil Grout, Northglenn, def. Evan Atencio, Thornton, 7-0.
112: Daniel Kelly, Ponderosa, def. Dominic Valenzuela, Centaurus, 8-7.
119: Lorenzo Garcia, Northglenn, def. Oliver Yaney, Air Academy, 12-4.
125: A.J. Maestas, Adams City, def. Nathan Childers, Eaglecrest, 3-0.
130: Chris Branch, Doherty, def. Trevor Schuch, Pomona, 7-1.
135: Rodney Padilla, Chaparral, def. John Hooper, Regis, 3-2.
140: Jesse Snider, Ponderosa, def. Micah Burak, Coronado, 6-2.
145: Joe Meinhart, Fruita Monument, pinned Nick Johnson, Monarch, 4:01.
152: Garrett Lanham, Centaurus, def. Ryan Sanchez, Arvada West, 3-1.
160: Logan Johnson, Mitchell, pinned, Matt Lucherini, Grandview, 3:56.
171: Jeff Quinlin, Highlands Ranch, def. Jordan Weber, Legacy, 6-4 (ot).
189: Sal Howes, Arvada, maj. dec., Peter Herring, Boulder, 8-0.
215: Keith Shinsato, Bear Creek, def. Justin Reed, Grand Junction, 5-4.
275: Bobby Strain, Arapahoe, pinned, John Kyed, Boulder, 2:08.

Fifth-place matches
103: Gavin Peters, Standley Lake, def. Dominic Madril, Pomona, 4-1.
112: Martin Maldonado, Doherty, pinned, Alonzo Montoya, Brighton, 4:43.
119: Vernon Anthony, Durango, pinned, Jason Blasdel, Fruita Monument, 2:48.
125: Anthony Doyle, Poudre, def. Tony George, Rampart, 5-3.
130: Seiji Hashimoto, Thornton, pinned, Steven Reynolds, Grand Junction Central, 3:41..
135: Brent Schriner, Brighton, pinned, Phil Schmedeman, Douglas County, 2:59.
140: Jared Bratcher, Grand Junction, pinned, Zach Votruba, Rocky Mountain, 2:27.
145: Reece Montour, Legacy, def. Nick Gerace, Arvada West, 3-1.
152: Matthew Murphy, Chaparral, technical fall, Brant Fuller, Bear Creek, 17-0.
160: Almir Hodzic, Gateway, def., Lee Nadeau, Fort Collins, 10-3.
171: Jacob Terada, Northglenn, def. Ed Matthews, Boulder, 2-1.
189: Marc Schiechl, Bear Creek, def. Brandon Johnson, Rangeview, 2-0.
215: Bayard McCue-Frazier, Chaparral, def. Marty Taffet, Cherry Creek, 6-1.
275: Will Ard, ThunderRidge, def. Cody Baker, Douglas County, 4-3.