|2/23/2008 11:20:00 PM|
Wilson, Gilmore, Washington claim 5A crowns at Pepsi Center
By Courtney Oakes
The Aurora Sentinel
DENVER | The saying goes that state wrestling champions usually come in pairs.
For Aurora, it was a trio on Feb. 23 at the Class 5A state wrestling tournament.
Grandview 112-pounder Eric Wilson and heavyweight Cody Gilmore and 152-pound Regis freshman Denzel Washington brought home state championships to Aurora as city wrestlers went 3-1 on the final night of the three day tournament at the Pepsi Center. Grandview's Patrick Brown lost to Nick Jones in the 135-pound final, but placed for the first time in three state trips.
Behind their trio of finalists, the Wolves finished an all-time team best of third with 89 points, coming in behind six-time defending champion Ponderosa (160 points) and Tyler Graff-led Loveland (128).
Wilson came into the tournament seeded third behind Rocky Mountain's Jeremy Schmitt and Northglenn's Phil Grout, but beat both defending state champions in overtime to claim the third state championship in school history. He pinned Schmitt in the semifinals and scored a thrilling 2-0 decision midway through overtime against Grout, who came into the match at 44-1.
The two remained scoreless until the extra period, when they went to the mat and after spinning three or four times, Wilson (38-5) got the angle for a takedown and the win.
Gilmore followed more than an hour later with a 4-1 decision over Sand Creek's Ray Hatchett, giving him an individual state championship to go with the one he was part of with Grandview's football team in the fall. He didn't place last year at state, but ended this season with a state title and a 38-4 record.
Washington came into the tournament a relative unknown and a fourth seed out of regionals, but left a path of upsets in his wake to give Regis its second state champion in as many years - following in the path of 140-pound winner John Hooper in 2007. Washington completed his championship run with a 5-2 decision over Ponderosa's Stephone Kling.
Four other Aurora wrestlers placed. Smoky Hill senior Nolan Myers (125 pounds) and Aurora Central senior Daniel Armijo (135 pounds) both took fourth, while Overland junior Josh Christopher (130) pounds) and Grandview's Bryce Lucherini (152 pounds) came in sixth.