Third title leaves Loveland's Graff eyeing fourth
By Scott Stocker, Rocky Mountain News
February 17, 2007

Lovelandís Tyler Graff took another step to being a Class 5A, four-time state champion. Graff, who is ranked No. 1 in the nation by Wrestling USA magazine, ran his season record to 47-0 with a technical fall, 17-2, victory over Oliver Yaney of Air Academy at 130-pounds at the Pepsi Center.

Now, Graff is in position to become the stateís 15th, four-time champion, following in the steps of No. 14, Limonís Kevin Levally, who won his fourth before a crowd of 18,890.

"It is never a given, you have to earn it," said Graff, who improved his career mark to 122-1. "You have to wrestle 100-percent, itís just not a given. This is a stepping stone, a big stepping stone. Now, I want to look toward the nationals in April.

"I didnít expect it to be that easy," Graff said. "I just go out and wrestle hard and hope for the best."

When it comes to best, Ponderosa proved to be that once again. The Mustangs clinched their fifth-title after the semifinal rounds Friday sending four wrestlers into the finals and winning two individual titles.

The Snider brothers, senior Jesse, who won at 145-pounds, and freshman, Jake, a winner at 125, led the way. Pondersoa finished with 167 points, to outdistance Legacy (100.5) and Regis (83.0).

Ponderosa came away with eight place winners in total. The Mustangs picked up second-place finishes from Zeke Hofer at 119 and Jake Ottmann at 215 and third place finishes from Daniel Kelly at 130 and Patrick Armstrong at 160. Zach Valdez was fifth at 135, as was Stephone Kling at 140. T.J. Heffron rounded out the night with a sixth at 171.

Jake Snider finds himself early in a situation to win four titles, but he knows the mark is a long way off. And just has to look at teammate Hofer, to also realize his chances. Hofer won last season as a freshman at 103, but was beaten in his 119-pound match by Pomona junior, Nick Jones, 5-3.

"I guess I can go for the four now, but no easy task," said Snider, who improved to 39-5. "But you can dream about it. Itís been a good year all around. I donít know if itís harder to watch my brother or wrestle. Weíll see how he does."

Jesse Snider did not disappoint pinning Mike Conklin of Fort Collins in 1:55 for his title.

However, Ponderosa had a difficult moment at 119 when Hofer lost.

"Iím glad, thatís certainly good for me," said Jones, who improved to 38-3 with his second victory (6-4) over Hofer this season. "Heís tough, you have to be when you are a state champion and I would not take him for granted. I was one win away from placing my freshman year and missed last year with a broken foot. This is a good win."

Legacy won the only title for the Lightning when Nick Bauman pinned Pomonaís defending state champion Willie McClure in 1:38 at 189.

"I havenít seen him all year so I didnít know what to expect," said Bauman, who finished the season 37-1 to become the first Legacy wrestling champion in the schoolís history. "He came at me tough at the beginning, but he made one mistake and I capitalized on it. I wanted to work with him and see what he had and had he not made that mistake, it would have been close."

Thorntonís Marcus Felker wasted little time in winning his second title at 285 pinning Ryan Tauer of Regis in :50. Tauer was able to get a quick takedown, but he could not hold on to Felker, who improved to 37-0 this season.

"I just wanted to take care of business," said Felker, who was an All-Colorado selection in football this season. "I had a tough time with Joe Boyd of Pomona in the semis and he brought me back to reality.

"I talked with the coaches and they said go out the way I wanted to go out," said Felker, who has a 70-1 record the past two seasons. "It nice to have accomplished the goal."

Wassonís Casey Cruz completed an unbeaten season when he pinned Grandviewís Tyler McGoffin in 3:46 at 135-pounds. Cruz, who completed the year 40-0, placed second last season at 135.

5A 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.

Championship matches
103: Jeremy Schmitt, Rocky Mountain, Fr. (36-7) def. Aaron Ortiz, Adams City, So. (31-9), 8-7.
112: Phillip Grout, Northglenn, So. (40-2) def. Josh Kreimier, Loveland, So. (40-4), 8-5.
119: Nick Jones, Pomona, Jr. (38-3) def. Zeke Hofer, Ponderosa, So. (32-8), 5-3.
125: Jake Snider, Ponderosa, Fr. (39-8) def. Dominic Valenzuela, Centaurus, Jr. (38-4), 3-1 (ot).
130: Tyler Graff, Loveland, Jr. (47-0) def. Oliver Yaney, Air Academy, Jr. (34-6), technical fall, 17-2.
135: Casey Cruz, Wasson, Sr. (40-0) pinned Tyler McGoffin, Grandview, Sr. (38-5), 3:46.
140: John Hooper, Regis, Sr. (43-3) def. Dietrick Turney, Brighton, Jr. (35-7), 9-5.
145: Jesse Snider, Ponderosa, Sr. (40-3) pinned Mike Conklin, Fort Collins, Sr. (40-3), 1:55.
152: Joe Meinhart, Fruita Monument, Sr. (41-1) pinned Tyson Blatter, Columbine, Sr. (35-5), 1:14.
160: Matt Murphy, Chaparral, Sr. (35-4) def. Brandon Doyle, Poudre, Sr. (30-4), 6-1.
171: Micah Burak, Coronado, Sr. (32-1) pinned Jacob Terada, Northglenn, Jr. (37-7), 3:48.
189: Nick Bauman, Legacy, Sr. (37-1) pinned Willie McClure, Pomona, Sr. (39-4), 1:38.
215: Robert Tucker, Grand Junction, Jr. (42-3) def. Jake Ottmann, Ponderosa, Jr. (34-7), 7-2.
285: Marcus Felker, Thornton, Sr. (34-0) pinned Ryan Tauer, Regis, Sr. (40-4), :50.

Third-place matches
103: Eric Wilson, Grandview, def. Chris Wessel, Legacy, 3-1.
112: Gavin Peters, Standley Lake, def. Geronimo Gemoya, Grand Junction, 5-1.
119: Kory Johnson, Pine Creek, pinned Cade Robinson, Douglas County, 1:59.
125: Tyler Nelson, ThunderRidge, def. A.J. Maestas, 11-9 (ot).
130: Daniel Kelly, Ponderosa, def. Dylan Lewis, Wheat Ridge, 11-7.
135: Rhett Breed, Durango, def. Cam Williams, Fort Collins, 6-5.
140: Seiji Hashimoto, Thornton, def. Tyler Young, Grand Junction, 18-12.
145: Nic Johnson, Monarch, def. Ceasar Crespin, Centaurus, 3-1.
152: David Little, Rocky Mountain, def. Martin Sare, ThunderRidge, 5-2.
160: Patrick Armstrong, Ponderosa, def. Garrett Lanham, Centaurus, 5-3.
171: Jordan Weber, Legacy, def. Matt Strohm, Regis, 6-0.
189: Kenny Smith, Wasson, def. Steve Cruz, Chaparral, 8-4.
215: Ben Hicks, Pine Creek, def. Matt Johnson, Cherry Creek, 4-0.
285: LeRoy Vigil, Adams City, pinned Chris Kiel, Denver East, 4:00.

Fifth-place matches
103: Micah Self, Chaparral, def. Matthew Gurule, Grand Junction Central, 6-1.
112: Michael Vigil, Legacy, def. Gabe Mamigonian, Heritage, 7-2.
119: Caleb McDowell, Chaparral, def. Stas Kardas, Dakota Ridge, 7-6.
125: Danny Bieshaar, Regis, def. Lorenzo Garcia, Northglenn, injury default.
130: Jacob Milewski, Denver East, def. Vincent Gallegos, Legacy, 16-5.
135: Jach Valdez, Ponderosa, def. Adam Jerome, Rangeview, 4-3.
140: Stephone Kling, Ponderosa, def. Mike Morgan, Lakewood, 3-1.
145: Justin Jefferies, Brighton, pinned Ryan Swanson, Douglas County, 3:40.
152: Trevor Schuch, Standley Lake, def. Blake Cooper, Lewis-Palmer, 13-4.
160: Pasha Tabatabai, Regis, def. Adam Katz, Boulder, 5-1.
171: Jeff Quinlin, Highlands Ranch, pinned T.J. Heffron, Ponderosa, 1:54.
189: Luke Vandenburg, Loveland, def. Rob Wilt, Doherty, 11-6.
215: Robby Unger, Highlands Ranch, pinned Dyrell Hallcy, Denver East, :38.
285: Jon Russel, Palmer, pinned Joe Boyd, Pomona, :56.