2/11/2007 3:34:00 AM       

Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel & Daily Sun

Regis' Pasha Tabatabai, top, closes in on a pin of Sand Creek's Tommy Martin Feb. 10 in the 160-pound championship match at the Class 5A Region 3 tournament at Loveland High School. Regis had three regional champions and six of the 20 total state qualifiers for Aurora out of the region.

Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel & Daily Sun

Grandview's Tyler McGoffin, right, holds onto Aurora Central's Daniel Armijo Feb. 10 in the Region 3 135-pound championship match at Loveland. McGoffin won a 3-2 decision and along with 103-pound regional champion Eric Wilson will lead eight Grandview wrestlers into the state tournament.
Aurora Central (4): Ivan Mondragon (103); Phillip Nguyen (112); Ricardo Villalobos (119); Daniel Armijo (135)

Cherokee Trail (2): Dustin Brown (112); Daniel Jordan (152)

Eaglecrest (2): Josh Neuberger (119); Ryan Olvera (135)

Grandview (8): Eric Wilson (103); Mike Balagna (112); Patrick Brown (125); Josh Starr (130); Tyler McGoffin (135); Bryce Lucherini (145); Daniel Ramirez (152); Cody Gilmore (heavyweight)

Rangeview (2): Adam Jerome (135); Clayton Frawley (140)

Regis (6): Danny Bieshaar (125); John Hooper (140); Brian Rubenstrunk (152); Pasha Tabatabai (160); Matt Strohm (171); Ryan Tauer (heavyweight)

Smoky Hill (3): Nolan Myers (119); Austin Jones (189); Keefe Owens (heavyweight)

Aurora teams love 5A Region 3 tournament
Four squads in Loveland group have 20 of city's 27 total qualifiers in 5A and 4A

By Courtney Oakes
The Aurora Sentinel & Daily Sun

LOVELAND | Aurora wrestlers didn't find a lot of success at regional tournaments across the state Feb. 10, but the four city teams in the Class 5A Region 3 group at Loveland High School made up for it.

Aurora Central, Grandview, Rangeview and Regis came away with a total of 20 qualifiers for the Feb. 15-17 5A state tournament at the Pepsi Center, while Aurora's other five teams produced just five. Cherokee Trail got two wrestlers through the 4A Region 2 competition at Widefield.

In Loveland, Grandview had eight qualifiers - headed by regional champions Eric Wilson at 103 pounds and 135-pounder Tyler McGoffin - and finished second in the team chase with 174 pounts, just seven behind Brighton. Despite the graduation of a slew of talented seniors, including state champions Jon Brascetta and Curtis McNary, the Wolves qualified one more wrestler for state than last year.

Surprising Regis grabbed six state slots, with three of them coming as regional champions in John Hooper at 140 pounds, Pasha Tabatabai at 160 pounds and heavyweight Ryan Tauer. Matt Strohm lost in the final seconds of the 171-pound title match. Danny Bieshaar at 125 pounds placed fourth, and 152-pounder Brian Rubenstrunk earned his trip with a thrilling wrestleback victory.

Aurora Central has four wrestlers headed to state and three made it to regional championship matches, but Phillip Nguyen (112), Ricardo Villalobos (119) and Daniel Armijo (135) all were defeated. Armijo lost for the first time since Christmas when McGoffin edged him 3-2. Ivan Mondragon took third at 103 pounds.

Rangeview's Adam Jerome and Clayton Frawley each placed fourth and earned trips downtown. Jerome appeared at state as a sophomore, but fell short last year. Frawley will wrestle at the Pepsi Center for the first time.

In Region 2 at Legacy High School, Smoky Hill placed fifth with 101 points. Two Buffaloes made it to the regional finals, but both 119-pounder Nolan Myers and 189-pounder Austin Jones were beaten by opponents from host Legacy. Myers suffered just his third loss of the season when Adam Dunne edged him 3-2, but earned his second consecutive state berth. Jones got his first, though Nick Bauman pinned him in 3:33 in the regional championship match.

Heavyweight Keefe Owens makes it three Smoky Hill qualifiers, advancing losing by pin in the third-place match. Nick Shamburg was beaten by Standley Lake's Daniel Nissen in a 140-pound wrestleback with a trip to state on the line.

Gateway was shut out of state, as 145-pounder Justin Freeman lost in the third-place match to Thornton's Kyle Johnson and then was pinned by Boulder's Boost Lover in a wrestleback.

Eaglecrest, Overland and Hinkley engaged in Region 3 action at Northglenn High School, and the Raptors had the only two state qualifiers to come through the brackets.

Senior Ryan Olvera earned his third trip to state by placing third at 135 pounds, while 119-pounder Josh Neuberger punched the ticket for his first trip to compete at the Pepsi Center. Olvera lost to Durango's Rhett Breed - ranked No. 1 at 135 - in the semifinals, but rebounded for third. Neuberger was fourth.

Overland's Stephen Stahl qualified for state as a heavyweight last season, but dropped to 215 pounds this season and couldn't earn a return trip to state in his new class. Hinkley, returning to the mats this season after not having a team for 2005-06, had no qualifiers.

At Widefield, Cherokee Trail had multiple wrestlers qualify for the 4A state tournament for the first time in school history. Both freshman 112-pounder Dustin Brown and junior 152-pounder Daniel Jordan took third to accomplish the feat.

Kimball Jordan, the Cougars' lone state qualifier last season and the team's only senior, couldn't get back.