City wrestlers scatter for state shots
Four Aurora teams at Region 3
By Courtney Oakes
The Aurora Sentinel & Daily Sun
Unlike last year, all Aurora wrestling teams
will miss three-time defending state champion
That's not to say anything is going to be easy
Feb. 9-10 in regional qualifying, but anytime
the powerful Mustangs are elsewhere things seem
much more wide open.
Ponderosa resides in Class 5A Region 1, but the
city's nine teams are scattered among Region 2
at Legacy, Region 3 at Loveland and Region 4 at
Northglenn. Cherokee Trail has a 4A Region 2
date at Widefield.
The top four finishers in each weight class
advance to the Feb. 15-17 state tournament at
the Pepsi Center. The following is a
region-by-region look at Aurora teams:
5A Region 3
The Region 3 group may be the toughest for
Aurora teams, although some of its strength is
provided by city squads Aurora Central,
Grandview, Rangeview and Regis.
Host Loveland is stacked and Brighton is always
tough, as are coach Greg Maestas' Wolves, who
won the Centennial League championship for the
fifth straight year.
"Loveland and Brighton are really strong, and
then there are a few more teams with four or
five tough kids, so it will be a battle,"
Overall, the star attraction of the regional
should be Loveland 130-pounder Tyler Graff, the
nation's No. 1-ranked wrestler.
For Aurora, it will be the mini city tournament
that could take place at 135 pounds. Aurora
Central's Daniel Armijo, who hasn't lost since
Christmas is the top seed, with Grandview's
Tyler McGoffin second. Rangeview's Adam Jerome
is 27-7, but that was only good enough for the
No. 4 seed.
Armijo won a 7-6 decision over McGoffin at the
Rangeview invite. Both are ranked in the top
five in 5A by On The Mat.
The Trojans have several other strong state
possibilities, headed by 145-pounder Donnie
Featherman, named outstanding wrestler for the
Skyline League tournament Feb. 3..
Eric Wilson and Patrick Brown are good bets on a
Grandview team that is strongest in the lower
weights, while Regis features a handful of
potential noisemakers in John Hooper, Danny
Bieshaar, Pasha Tabatabai, Matt Strohm and Ryan
Rangeview's Jerome looks to get back to state
where he was as a sophomore. Any of the Raiders'
seven juniors could break through.
5A Region 4
The second-largest city contingent will be at
Northglenn, where Eaglecrest, Hinkley and
Overland will delve into the Region 4 group.
Pomona leads the way, while Pine Creek and the
host Norse also should figure high in the team
Eaglecrest struggled with health late in the
year, but got a boost when standout 135-pounder
Ryan Olvera returned to the lineup. The two-time
state qualifier pinned an opponent from Mullen
Brian Eakin is a strong candidate to get through
the 145 bracket to state, while Josh Neuberger
is capable of making it through a rugged
119-pound grouping. A number of other Raptors
Overland is young and inexperienced, so coach
Ruben Medina expects only senior 215-pounder
Stephen Stahl to emerge. Stahl, who dropped from
the heavyweight class prior to the season, is
seeded second in his division.
Hinkley's team returned to the mat this season
after a year hiatus, and Joe Williams has been
the most consistent wrestler for coach Andy
Ventura of late.
5A Region 2
Gateway and Smoky Hill are at Legacy where
Region 2 is topped team-wise by the host
Lightning, ranked No. 2 in 5A, along with
Centaurus and Grand Junction.
Smoky Hill's improvement this season has been
noticeable, and several Buffaloes could punch
tickets to state. Junior 119-pounder Nolan Myers
should be a lock if he can put some nagging
injuries behind him.
Joe Jones (103), Nick Shamburg (140) and Austin
Jones (171) all carry high hopes for Smoky Hill.
Gateway's best threat should be 152-pound junior
4A Region 2
In 4A, Cherokee Trail is at Region 2, which
should be battled for at the top by powers
Broomfield and Thompson Valley.
The Cougars are led by the trio of freshman
Dustin Brown and brothers Daniel and Kimball
Brown and Daniel Jordan are both 33-6 at 112 and
152 pounds, respectively, while Kimball Jordan
is the team's lone senior and its only previous