File photo by Courtney Oakes
The Aurora Sentinel
Grandview junior Eric Wilson, right, holds his
third-place medal at 103 pounds on the podium at
the 2007 Class 5A state wrestling tournament on
Feb. 17 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Wilson is
Aurora's highest returning placer and is one of
a city-high six state qualifiers back in the
room for the Wolves this season.
File photo by Courtney Oakes/The
Regis senior Danny Bieshaar, right, holds onto Cherry
Creek's Adam Huckaby in a 125-pound consolation
match at the 2007 Class 5A state wrestling
tournament on Feb. 15 at the Pepsi Center in
Denver. Bieshaar won the match and went on to
Wrestling: Maestas could have best pack of Wolves
Grandview has back six of city's 15 returning state
The Aurora Sentinel
Regis put together a dream wrestling season last year on the
strength of four standouts who inspired the team to new heights.
The Raiders had five placers, including a state champion in John
Hooper, and came away with a school-best third-place team finish
at the 2007 Class 5A state wrestling tournament at the Pepsi
This season's Aurora wrestling team to watch is Grandview,
though the Wolves are hardly coming out of nowhere.
Grandview has become one of the most consistent programs in the
state under coach Greg Maestas and have had at least one
finalist in three straight seasons. But this year's team
features six returning qualifiers - including third-place
finisher Eric Wilson - which gives this group a chance to be the
best in school history and better its top all-time finish of
seventh, accomplished twice.
"On paper with what we have back, we're pretty strong, but we'll
just have to see what we can do now," said Maestas, who enters
his 10th season at the helm. "For the most part, all these guys
did something in the off season to get ready. We should be
solid and we've got some big dogs we can count on."
Wilson's the biggest dog the Wolves have, although he'll be at
112 pounds this season. He was blanked in two state matches at
103 pounds as a freshman and lost his first one last year, but
won five straight to earn a medal.
Hardly satisfied, Wilson worked rigorously in the offseason and
wrestled top-notch competition in Fargo, North Dakota, along
with teammate Patrick Brown. Because of his size, Wilson will be
a handful for most 112-pounders in Maestas' opinion, though he
is too small for 119s.
Returning to the pack along with Wilson are seniors Brown - a
two-time state qualifier with more than 60 total wins in two
years - Cody Gilmore and Bryce Lucherini, along with juniors
Mike Balagna and Josh Starr. They all got a taste of state
competition with varying degrees of success.
The Wolves will have to make due without Gilmore, Cody
McCutcheon and Jake Bomareto to start the year, as the members
of the school's football team that won the 5A state championship
on Dec. 1 will take a week off before hitting the mat.
When they return, Grandview should be balanced and formidable.
The holdovers from Regis' outstanding state run are 130-pounder
Danny Bieshaar (fifth last season plus 40 wins) and 171-pounder
Brian Rubenstrunk, who should lead a group bolstered by
highly-touted freshman Denzel Washington. An accomplished youth
wrestler, Washington has the skills to be a state placer if he
can learn how to wrestle against the older competition he'll be
Aurora Central also has two 5A qualifiers back in senior Daniel
Armijo - a potential placer at 140 pounds after winning 38
matches last year - and improved junior Phil Nguyen.
Smoky Hill senior Nolan Myers has a new coach in Jim Opperman, a
veteran who could help unlock the potential that's kept Myers
from placing in two previous trips to the state tournament.
Cherokee Trail hosts a regional tournament in its last season in
4A and coach Jeff Buck and the Cougars could use it to far
exceed the school's previous high of two qualifiers - set last
season with Dustin Brown and Daniel Jordan. Both are back and
could have company at the Pepsi Center from a more veteran