Grout, Wilson to square off for Class 5A state tournament wrestling title

Pair among seven defending champs to win in semifinals

The stage is set for a state championship rematch in the Class 5A state tournament between Philip Grout of Northglenn and Eric Wilson of Grandview at 119 pounds.

That match will be one of the many highlights on the final night of the high school wrestling season tonight at the Pepsi Center. There also will be plenty of intrigue in the team race as Ponderosa attempts to win an unprecedented seventh consecutive state title. The Mustangs advanced four into the finals, including state champions Jake Snider and Daniel Kelly.

Grout, Wilson, Snider and Kelly are among seven defending state champions who managed to reach the finals, before a semifinal crowd announced at 15,455. The championships will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Grout pinned Lakewood's Isaiah Rosales in 2 minutes, 45 seconds, while Wilson beat Durango's previously undefeated Ty Penning 6-0, to set up a rematch of last season's 112-pound title match. Wilson won that one 2-0 in overtime, but earlier this season Grout gained a measure of revenge by beating Wilson 11-6 at the Arvada West Invitational.

"I just want to come out and wrestle hard like I have all weekend and, hopefully, as well as I did against Eric at Arvada West," said Grout (41-1). "We've wrestled each other for the past two years, so we know what each other can do. I was looking forward to wrestling against Eric again, and I think we will both be ready for it."

Added Wilson: "I just wanted to stay focused on what my goal has been all year, to win the state title again. I didn't want to overlook anyone coming in, as you have to take it one match at a time. Down here at the Pepsi Center, anything can happen."

There was anticipation state champions would also meet at 135 pounds, but Rocky Mountain's Tino Laureles spoiled that when he beat Pine Creek's Gabrian Martinez. Had Martinez won, he would have faced Loveland's Josh Kreimier. Kreimier will take a 39-2 record into the match against Laureles.

"I'm excited, man," said Kreimier, who has split two matches with Laureles. "I want to put all my heart into it and try to finish strong. I've been sick, but it's finally starting to wear off and I'm going to be fine."

Laureles did not know Martinez was a champion coming up from the 3A ranks. "I watched him in a couple of matches and I knew he was going to come out at me," said Laureles, one of three Rocky Mountain wrestlers to reach the finals.

Snider, a junior, will go for his third title when he faces Coronado's Nathan Burak at 140. He beat Westminster's Joaquin Marquez 21-3 to run his record to 35-2. Burak, a sophomore with a 41-5 record, beat Denver East's Cody Harris 8-6 in his semifinal bout.

"It feels awesome because I was pretty nervous with my first two matches," Snider said. "It was pretty important to get points for the team, too. I'm usually more nervous coming into the semis and finals because anything can happen. This is awesome, because I've been sick the past few weeks."

Kelly beat Coronado's Nick Burg- hardt 10-3 at 145 to improve his record to 40-2. The Ponderosa duo will be joined in championship matches by Kelly's brother, Steven (152) and Austin Gabel (160). Steven Kelly beat Legacy's Jacob Southard 9-4, and Gabel beat Poudre's Zach Bekkedahl 6-4.

Ponderosa has to be wary of Loveland. The Indians have Kreimier and unbeaten Conor Medbery at 215 and Lane Stuht at 285 in the finals.

One of the bigger upsets came at 145 where Air Academy's previously unbeaten Taylor Hollister (27-1) was beaten by Douglas County's Robby DePontbriand, 7-2. DePontbriand (41-8) will face Daniel Kelly for the title.

Westminster's Moises Alcala, who is ranked No. 1, pinned Rampart's Kyle Starling in 49 seconds in the quarterfinals, then pinned Grand Junction Central's Zach Rosales in 3:16 at 285.

Alcala wrestled for Ranum last year, but Ranum has been consolidated with Westminster for all sports this season.

"It hasn't been that much different as we all knew each other at the beginning of the year," said Alcala (41-2). "I can't say that I was all that confident coming in to state as there are a lot of good people here. My thoughts are to treat this as just a regular tournament, but it's the last one for me and all the other seniors and everyone wants to go out on a good note."

Class 5A championship pairings

* 103:

Matthew Gurule, Grand Junction Central, Jr. (41-0) vs. Josh Martinez, Pine Creek, So. (45-0).

* 112:

Jeremey Schmitt, Rocky Mountain, Jr. (37-4) vs, Dominic Madril, Pomona, Sr. (39-6).

* 119:

Phil Grout, Northglenn, Sr. (41-1) vs. Eric Wilson, Grandview, Sr. (43-4).

* 125:

Conor McElhany, Coronado, So. (41-2) vs. Kurtis Nelson, Chaparral, Jr. (31-5).

* 130:

Gavin Peters, Standley Lake, Sr. (46-1) vs. Caleb McDowell, Chaparral, Sr. (43-5).

* 135:

Josh Kreimier, Loveland, Sr. (39-2) vs. Tino Laureles, Rocky Mountain, Sr. (36-3).

* 140:

Jake Snider, Ponderosa, Jr. (35-2) vs. Nathan Burak, Coronado, So. (41-5).

* 145:

Daniel Kelly, Ponderosa, Sr. (40-2) vs. Robby DePontbriand, Douglas County, Sr. (41-8).

* 152:

Scott Lohndorf, Fairview, Sr. (43-4) vs. Steven Kelly, Ponderosa, Jr. (36-5).

* 160:

Bryce Thurston, Chaparral, Sr. (37-11) vs.Austin Gabel, Ponderosa, So. (28-3).

* 171:

Taylor Tementozzi, Fruita Monument, Sr. (37-8) vs. Mike Morgan, Lakewood, Sr. (35-2).

* 189:

Connor Stevens, Pine Creek, Jr. (40-7) vs. Danny Mitchell, Legacy, Sr. (22-0).

* 215:

Connor Medbery, Loveland, So. (39-0) vs. Donny Haupt, Pomona, Sr. (37-3).

* 285:

Lane Stuht, Loveland, Sr. (32-2) vs. Moises Alcala, Westminster, Sr. (41-2).