Photo by Shannon Davidson/Aurora Sentinel & Daily Sun

Regis senior John Hooper screams Feb. 17 after winning the 140-pound state championship at the Class 5A state wrestling tournament. Hooper beat Brighton's Dietrick Turney 9-5 at the Pepsi Center to help the Raiders finish third as a team at the three-day tournament.

Photo by Shannon Davidson/Aurora Sentinel & Daily Sun

Grandview’s Tyler McGoffin, bottom, is pinned by Wasson’s Casey Cruz Feb. 17 in the second period of the 135-pound championship match.
At the Pepsi Center

Team scores
- Ponderosa 167. 2. Legacy 100.5. 3. Regis 83. 4. Pomona 75. 5. Loveland 63. 6. Chaparral 61.5. 7. Grand Junction 56. 8. Wasson 53. 9. Northglenn 52. 10 Adams City 51.5. 11. Centaurus 49. 12. Denver East 48. 13. Rocky Mountain 47. 14. Thornton 46. 15. Brighton 43. 16. Fort Collins 42. 17. Grandview, Pine Creek 41.5. 19. Fruita Monument 37.5. 20. Air Academy 30. 21. ThunderRidge 28.5. 22. Coronado 27. 23. Poudre 26. 24. Highlands Ranch 25.5. 25. Columbine, Douglas County, Durango 25. 28. Wheat Ridge 21. 29. Grand Junction Central 20. 30. Heritage 18. 31. Boulder, Standley Lake 17. 33. Lakewood 16.5. 34. Lewis-Palmer, Monarch 16. 36. Cherry Creek 13. 37. Dohertry 12.5. 38. Palmer 12. 39. Dakota Ridge 10. 40. Aurora Central, Rangeview 9. 42. Rampart 8. 43. Arvada 7. 45. Arapahoe, Eaglecrest, Kennedy, Smoky Hill 3. 49. Arvada West, Bear Creek, Sand Creek 2. 52. Fairview 1.

Aurora 5A state championship matches

135 pounds

Casey Cruz (Wasson) pinned Tyler McGoffin (Wasson), 3:46

140 pounds

John Hooper (Regis) dec. Dietrick Turney (Brighton), 9-5


Marcus Felker (Thornton) pinned Ryan Tauer (Regis), 0:50

Hooper wins state championship, Regis third at 5A state wrestling
Raiders have five of city's eight placers for best-ever finish

By Courtney Oakes
The Aurora Sentinel & Daily Sun

Regis' Super Six produced a Terrific Three on Feb. 17 at the Pepsi Center.

Highlighted by 140-pounder John Hooper's state championship victory, five of Regis' six qualifiers for the Class 5A state wrestling tournament placed in the top five and the Raiders miraculously took third as a team - the best finish in school history - behind five-time champion Ponderosa and Legacy.

Hooper won a 9-5 decision over Brighton's Dietrick Turney in a rematch of the Region 3 final a week earlier to put the cherry on top of Regis' unexpected tournament performance.

"The feeling is just pure joy," said Hooper, who became the school's first state champion since B.J. Sanchez in 1994 and finished the season with a 43-3 record.

"I had the right system and I trained all year for this," he added. "I sacrificed so much, but it was so worth it in the end. I knew if I just stuck to my gameplan, nobody could stop me. It's a great feeling."

Heavyweight Ryan Tauer didn't get to match Hooper's feeling as Thornton's Marcus Felker pinned him 50 seconds into the heavyweight championship match in the Raiders' other finals appearance.

Undefeated Casey Cruz of Wasson pinned Grandview senior Tyler McGoffin in the 135-pound final, denying the Wolves a third state title to go with the championships won in 2006 by Jon Brascetta and Curtis McNary, and dropping Aurora to 1-2 in title matches.

Hooper's championship secured third place for Regis, something neither Regis coach Brent Bieshaar nor any of the Raiders could have envisioned at the start of the year, even with three returning state qualifiers back in the room.

Spurred on by a boisterous cheering section, Raiders kept winning and climbing the medal podium.

Senior 171-pounder Matt Strohm placed fourth, while junior Danny Bieshaar at 125 pounds and senior 160-pounder Pasha Tabatabai each finished fifth to compliment the teams' two finalists.

Regis had never had more than two placers in a single season and its best team in 1994 didn't even finish in the top 10 at the state meet. Four of the current Raiders also broke the school record for wins in a season of 39.

"We're on Cloud Nine right now," Brent Bieshaar said after Hooper's win. "I don't know if anybody would have thought we'd place third, but we wrestled our of our minds the whole time and everybody just kept winning. It was amazing all around."

The most amazing part for everybody in the Regis program was watching Hooper, the team's emotional leader and its metronome in the practice room, win his title.

His previous state tournaments hadn't lived up to his expectations, as he won just one match his sophomore year and finished fourth last season at 135 pounds.

But with a rigorous training regimen under former Cherry Creek standout David Nowick, a coach he got connected with over the summer, and extra work after practice with all his teammates, Hooper took the state by storm.

"I've looked so many times at the wall in our school and said my name is going to go up there as a state champion," said Hooper, who now has his sights set on a national championship and All-American status.

"I gave it everything I had the last two weeks; I left nothing."

Strohm and Tabatabai, two of Hooper's best friends, both admitted seeing him win the title left them with tears in their eyes.

"I was so happy for him, seeing my best friend get a state title," Tabatabai said. "I guarantee you he works harder than anybody out there and he's a big reason why I am where I am today."

Tauer, who also credited Hooper with helping build his confidence on the mat to an all-time high, faced undefeated Thornton monster Marcus Felker in his final.

He scored the first two points of the match, but Felker locked his arms and drove him to the mat for a pin in just 50 seconds - the third time in four state matches he'd pinned his opponent in under a minute.

But the result didn't matter to Tauer, who didn't even make state a year ago and has only been wrestling seriously for two seasons.

"My goal was just to be a state qualifier, so to be second is something I wasn't even thinking about," said Tauer, who recorded two pins and a major decision win to get to the championship match and was 40-4 on the season.

"I knew what (Felker) was going to do, but I forgot to not let him do it," he said.

Grandview had two placers among its eight state qualifiers in runner-up McGoffin and sophomore Eric Wilson, who rebounded from an opening-round loss to take third at 103 pounds.

McGoffin didn't appear at state last year, but made a splash in his one shot. He upset Durango's Rhett Breed 12-11 in an epic quarterfinal match, then won by a major decision over Rangeview's Adam Jerome in the semifinals to earn his shot at the unbeaten Cruz, who was wrestling at 140 pounds all year until he dropped to 135s before regionals.

The Wolves' senior was excited to be in the final and hoped to be the blemish on Cruz's record, but fell behind 5-0 in the second period and got stuck just before the second period ended. He finished 38-5 overall.

"It was my turn to step up this season and be who the younger guys look up to," McGoffin said. "I want them to say, 'Tyler was in the state final and that's where I want to be.' As one of only two seniors on a team of eight qualifiers, the team should be strong next year."

Wilson should be the leader of next year's group after putting an 0-2 performance at state as a freshman out of his memory to take third. His only loss came in the first round to Chaparral's Micah Self, but he got revenge later.

Jerome - who didn't win a match in his first state appearance in 2005 - captured sixth as the eighth Aurora placer among 27 total qualifiers for the 5A and 4A tournaments. He lost two consolation matches by a single point.