Class 5A: Pine Creek making waves
By Brian Forbes
Special to The Denver Post
You can't have a Class 5A state wrestling tournament without someone using the P-word.
While Ponderosa has ruled the class of late and Pomona has its storied history, the Eagles of Pine Creek are hoping to join that list. With a Class 5A-best 10 qualifiers in at the Pepsi Center, Pine Creek has the look of a darkhorse.
They, of course, see themselves much brighter.
"It doesn't matter what other people think, as long as we come out here to the state tournament and perform," said the Eagles' undefeated 103-pound sophomore Josh Martinez. "Most people don't believe we can, but we as a team know we can, so we're going to go out and prove it to the rest of Colorado."
Martinez improved to 43-0 with a 13-1 major decision over Fairview's Chris Chavez. Martinez was happy to get his first match out of the way, but disappointed he didn't get maximum points with a pin.
While Ponderosa wrapped up its sixth consecutive team title last season, Pine Creek was 30 teams back and scored just 18 points. But the Colorado Springs-based team is deeper now, thanks in part to the addition of Ely and Gabrian Martinez, who were standouts last season at neighboring St. Mary's.
Gabrian pinned Luke Case of Brighton in 2 minutes, 58 seconds. Ely, who is battling injuries around his shoulder, lost an 8-4 decision in overtime to Gateway's LaDaris Mungin.
After his own battle, Connor Medbery dripped blood-like drops of sweat after his 215-pound match, thanks to the red dye in the Loveland sophomore's hair. Medbery is 37-0 after pinning Lakewood's Juno Romero.
Medbery credits his man-like physique to good food. He credits his ability to a father who wrestled at Colorado State before the program was nixed.
"I just try to wrestle more aggressive," Medbery said. "I try to push the pace more like a little guy. I just try to be active. It's working."
All the returning champions and undefeated wrestlers in 5A advanced.
While the Beach Boys had Brian, Dennis and Carl, Grandview has 119-pound senior Eric Wilson — a four-time state qualifier now making waves as a returning champion.
"I got that little bit of confidence going," Wilson said of his freshman year, when he went 0-2 at state. "I got my foot in the water."
Wilson was thinking about getting maximum points for the Wolves as he persevered for a pin Thursday against ThunderRidge's Bryan Monahan.
Wilson was up 17-2 early in the third period but didn't release his cradle hold and settled for a technical fall. On the fourth try, Wilson finally got Monahan's shoulders to stick for a pin in 5:01.