Top of Rockies fields top talent

Wrestling tourney includes 15 top-10 teams in 5A, 4A

By Joshua Lindenstein
Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Don't bother asking Centaurus wrestling coach Cisco Gonzales to pick a favorite for his team's Top of the Rockies tournament this week.

To do so, the coach said Monday, is basically futile.

The Top of the Rockies runs Friday-Saturday at CHS. Once again, the tournament makes an airtight case as the toughest regular season tournament in the state.

Of the teams ranked in the top 10 in Classes 4A and 5A, 15 are slated to attend -- including last year's state champs in 5A (Ponderosa), 4A (Northridge) and 3A (Roosevelt). And that's not to mention New Mexico powerhouse Rio Rancho or Campbell County, Wyo., which has won the last six large-school state titles in Wyoming.

As impressive as the 30-team lineup is the fact that every weight class at the tournament except 215 and 285 -- if everyone is healthy and suits up -- contains at least two of the top-four-ranked wrestlers from both 4A and 5A in Colorado. And 215 has the top-ranked wrestlers in 4A and 5A.

Gonzales said every team has its studs who will score big points. The key is in how many guys each team has wrestling late on Saturday.

"Whoever's wrestling well in those wrestleback rounds is who's going to win it," Gonzales said.

The tournament begins at 1 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. Saturday, with finals slated for 6 p.m. Saturday.

Gonzales's squad will be one of three local teams present along with 4A No. 2 Broomfield and Longmont.

As Gonzales notes, his young Warriors have been "consistently inconsistent" lately. Still, always tough CHS could see some wrestlers make some noise in defense of their home mats. Cody Goetsch is 30-4 on the season at 189 pounds. And heavyweight Austin Scheufele, 130-pounder Drew Dondelinger and 135-pounder Anthony Delgado have all been strong.

"We've got kids who are going to win matches here," Gonzales said. "It's just a matter of where we fall on brackets."

Broomfield, meanwhile, has fared well at the Top of the Rockies the last two years with a pair of top-five team finishes. And the Eagles figure to make a run again this year, with seven grapplers ranked in the top four of their respective weight classes.

That group is led by 119-pounder Gabe Gomez, who won the 4A state title at 112 last year. Gomez is ranked second at 119 in 4A this season. But he'll have a loaded bracket Friday and Saturday, with 4A No. 1 C.J. York of Roosevelt and 5A top-ranked Eric Wilson of Grandview also at the weight.