Loveland's Tyler Graff has set a standard for Colorado high
school wrestlers that will be difficult to achieve in the
Graff became the state's
15th four-time champion, finishing with a 40-0 record this
season and 162-1 for his career. He capped it off by pinning
Rocky Mountain's Tino Laureles in 1 minute, 33 seconds in
their 130-pound final last month before a record crowd at
the Pepsi Center.
Graff, who lost only to
Rocky Mountain's Kyle O'Brien 3-2 as a freshman, heads the
Rocky's All-Colorado team as wrestler of the year. The
All-Colorado coach is Tim Ottmann, who guided Ponderosa to
its sixth consecutive Class 5A title this season and eighth
"I knew winning four
championships could happen, but, of course, I knew I had to
compete at a high level," said Graff, who has been ranked
No. 1 in the nation by USA Wrestling magazine in
his respective weight classes the past two seasons. "There
was not a super goal to set a record for the most wins. It
was just a case of doing what I needed to do in order to be
a state champion."
Arvada West's Kyle Sand
(125- 0, 2001-04) is the state's only four-time winner to
Graff will definitely be
challenged during the next few months before he heads to the
University of Wisconsin. His next tournament will be the
U.S. Open in late April in Las Vegas. From there, it's off
to the World trials in May and the U.S. Olympic trials in
"I'm pretty excited about
the possible competitions ahead and going to Wisconsin,"
Graff said. "I just feel I have to give my best efforts in
my workouts and training in order to accomplish my goals."
Ottmann retires after 17
years coaching Ponderosa but will retain his position as
athletic director. His memories are plentiful, including
coaching his son, Jake, in the final high school match for
both. Jake lost in the final at 215 pounds.
"Jake not winning was tough
on me, as a dad," Ottmann said. "But I'm really amazed at
what we've done with our program, taking Ponderosa from
nowhere in wrestling to one of the best in Colorado history,
if not, perhaps, the best team.
"My big thing is to make
sure this is a shared honor with all those who have
contributed to our success. I had to tell myself to take it
all in and enjoy it, and I felt I was able to do that."
The team this year has a
Loveland flavor. Joining Graff on the elite squad are
teammates Josh Kreimier and Luke Vandenburg and their
crosstown rival, Johnny Ortega of Thompson Valley.
Three others are repeat
All-Colorado selections. Alamosa's Jesse Meis, ranked No. 4
in the nation, again is the team's 103- pounder. Teammate
Cody Yohn, ranked No. 5 in the country, is up a weight this
season, at 171. Pomona's Nick Jones is at 135 this season
after being on the squad last year at 119. He carries a No.
3 national ranking.
The team also boasts three
two-time state champions in Ethan Martinez of St. Mary's,
Tim Saucedo of Class 4A team champion Northridge and
Ponderosa sophomore Jake Snider, who is halfway to becoming
a four-time champion after winning as a freshman at 125.
Norwood's Stryker Lane,
ranked No. 3 overall among the nation's juniors by USA
Wrestling, will be among the favorites to be a
three-time champion. He won his first title last season at
189 while at Nucla. Lane lost half this season because of
the state's transfer rules but finished at 20-0, with 19
pins, and allowed only three points to be scored against
Grandview's Eric Wilson
earned his spot by beating two defending champions in
overtime to win the 5A 112-pound title.
Of note is the
accomplishment of Centauri's Mitchell Polkowske, the team's
145-pounder. Polkowske won 164 matches in his career, tops
in state history. He also holds the state single-season
record of 47-0 set last year as a junior. He went 42-0 this
Fort Morgan's Matt Chavez
rounds out the All-Colorado squad after winning the
152-pound title and helping lead the Mustangs to a 4A
runner-up team finish.
The All-Colorado team,
without regard to year in school or classification, is
selected by Rocky staff, with input from Tim Yount
of On The Mat and the state's coaches.
Weight Name School Year
Jesse Meis Alamosa Sr. 42-2
Eric Wilson Grandview Jr. 38-5
Josh Kreimier Loveland Jr. 42-0
Ethan Martinez St. Mary's Sr. 34-0
Tyler Graff Loveland Sr. 40-0
Nick Jones Pomona Sr. 38-2
Jake Snider Ponderosa So. 39-4
Mitchell Polkowske Centauri Sr. 42-0
Matt Chavez Fort Morgan Sr. 26-3
Johnny Ortega Thompson Valley Sr. 39-1
Cody Yohn Alamosa Sr. 42-1
Luke Vandenburg Loveland Sr. 43-1
Stryker Lane Norwood Jr. 20-0
Tim Saucedo Northridge Sr. 40-1
* Wrestler of the
year: Tyler Graff, Loveland
* Coach of the
year: Tim Ottmann, Ponderosa
mention: Matt Addington, Florence, So.; Devon
Brown, Paonia, Sr.; Tony Chavarria, Pueblo West, Sr.; Jake
Eitzen, Estes Park, Jr.; Dan Frank, Roosevelt, Jr.; David
Garcia, Rocky Ford, Sr.; Cody Gilmore, Grandview, Sr.; Gabe
Gomez, Broomfield, Jr.; Justin Gonzales, Northridge, Jr.;
Hugh Hardman, Norwood, Jr.; Colten Huskey, Dove Creek, Sr.;
Austin Kinnison, Highland, Sr.; Jordan Larsen, Bayfield,
Jr.; Pablo Mascarenas, Mountain Vista, Sr.; Cody Miles,
Grand Valley, Sr.; Dale Shull, Fort Lupton, Jr.; Chad Stroh,
Holyoke, So.; Robert Tucker, Grand Junction, Sr.; Dominic
Valenzuela, Centaurus, Sr.