12/20/2008 3:25:00 PM   

Some Wolves wrestlers no gamble in Reno

Grandview loses tournament final to Pomona, but readies for big trip to Nevada tourney

By Courtney Oakes
The Aurora Sentinel

For one day, the Pomona wrestling team was better than Grandview’s.

The Wolves have a chance to catch the Panthers on a bigger stage, as both are among a handful of top Colorado programs headed to Reno, Nev., Dec. 19-20 for the prestigious Reno Tournament of Champions.

Pomona prevailed 45-24 in the championship match of the Grandview Duals on Dec. 13, dealing the Wolves their only loss in five dual matches in their last competition before going to a tournament touted as one of the toughest in the country.

“I’m pleased with our performance, it shows where we are and where we need to be,” Grandview coach Greg Maestas said. “There were some bright spots, but we have a long ways to go.”

For Wolves senior Eric Wilson — who won the Class 5A state championship at 112 pounds last season — the last tournament before Reno didn’t go quite as planned.

Wilson’s 119-pound weight class appeared to be loaded going into the tournament, with four wrestlers ranked in the top six by On The Mat expected to compete — No. 1 Wilson, No. 4 Ty Penning of Durango, No. 5 Eli Rosales of Lakewood and No. 6 Dominic Madril of Pomona.


Grandview senior Eric Wilson, back, waits for the referee's whistle as he holds onto Grand Junction's Chris Rivera in a 119-pound match at the Grandview Duals on Dec. 13 at Grandview. Wilson, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, won the match 13-8 and went 5-0 on the day. The Wolves lost to Pomona 45-24 in the championship match in their last competition before they head to Reno, Nev., for the Reno Tournament of Champions Dec. 18-20.
(Gabirel Christus/The Aurora Sentinel)


As it turned out, Wilson didn’t face any of them during his 5-0 day. Durango was in the other pool, so he missed Penning and he received a forfeit from Lakewood. Madril wrestled for Pomona, but dropped down to 112 pounds and wrestled Grandview junior John Godin instead of Wilson.

“I thought today would be good preparation and I’d get some good matches in, but it didn’t turn out quite like I wanted it to,” Wilson said. “I still think I’ll be ready for Reno. Coach Maestas is really pushing hard. It’s a big one.”

Wilson is particularly looking forward to this year’s trip to Reno after his 0-2 showing last season. He had a first-round bye before losing a 12-8 decision and dropped his first consolation match.

The losses didn’t impact his end result, as he caught fire on his return to Colorado and went on to win regional and state titles.

“Last year was disappointing, so I want to go back and redeem myself,” Wilson said.

Based on their performances at the Grandview Duals, some of Wilson’s teammates could have good showings in Reno.

Freshman 103-pounder Sean Burroughs, senior 125-pounder Michael Balagna, senior 152-pounder Josh Starr and senior heavyweight Jake Chatham were 5-0, while junior 112-pounder John Godin and senior 215-pounder Penn Wade went 4-1.

Burroughs continued to make an impact at the varsity level and should make a jump in the rankings. He got one forfeit, pinned three opponents and rallied in the third period for a big 5-4 decision over Grand Junction’s Dylon Thompson, who came in ranked No. 3 in 5A.

Balagna — who went 3-2 in Reno last year, which tied Wade for the best result among returning Grandview wrestlers — dispatched both of his ranked foes with a major decision over No. 7 Anthony Guillen and a 6-2 win over Lakewood’s Isaiah Rosales. Chatham’s toughest  match came against Pomona’s Gage Boyd, which he won 9-5.

“We changed our schedule this year and started competing a week earlier, so we’ll see if that helps us in Reno,” Maestas said.

The Reno tournament also includes a separate college competition, which will make it a reunion of sorts for Maestas and some of his former wrestlers.

One of the teams on hand will be Oregon State, where brothers and former Grandview stars Dan and Jon Brascetta wrestle.

Dan Brascetta became one of the Wolves’ first two 5A state finalists in the 2004-05 season. He lost in the state championship match, but Jon Brascetta won the 145-pound title the next season. Dan Brascetta could be wrestling at 174 pounds for the Beavers, but Jon Brascetta suffered a recent ankle injury that ended his season.

“It will be neat to see those guys again and watch them wrestle, both for me and for our guys,” Maestas said.

Cal State Fullerton is also among the college teams entered, but ex-Grandview standout Ryan Budd — a 174-pounder for the Titans — isn’t expected to be on the mat due to injury.

For Regis and Rangeview, the Grandview Duals proved to be a good early season test.

Regis lost a tight third-place match against Grand Junction, 40-30, and went 3-2 overall. Among the Raiders’ victories was a 48-23 win over Air Academy, which beat them a week earlier in Colorado Springs and one of the teams in their regional.

The Raiders’ top performer was exciting freshman John Crowley at 152 pounds. Already ranked No. 6 in 5A by On The Mat, Crowley added five more wins — three by pin, one by major decision and the other by forfeit, to move to 11-0 on the season.

Senior Zach Atencio, a returning 5A state qualifier, also went 5-0 in his 140-pound matches, including a solid win over Air Academy standout Brunner Hill.

Junior Gordie Pisciotta went 4-1 at 171 pounds for Regis, moving to 10-1 on the season.

Rangeview lost to Longmont 41-35 in the fifth-place match in a 2-3 overall performance that included a dual against Grand Junction, one of the teams in its regional.

Senior 145-pounder Chad VonSeggern went 3-2, as did junior 135-pounder Derek Solomon.

Eaglecrest takes second at Columbine Invitational

Eaglecrest already took its trip to wrestle out of state when the Raptors headed to Rio Rancho, N.M., for the Southwest Shootout Duals to open the season. Teams from six states competed.

Coach Dan Wrona’s team finished 14th out of 24 teams and came in one place ahead of Centennial League rival Cherry Creek.

Back on Colorado soil, the Raptors found success at the Columbine Invitational on Dec. 13, taking second out of 11 teams. Eaglecrest had two finalists, including 130-pound champion Dan Moore, to come in behind Mountain Vista.