Posted: Friday, January 21, 2011 1:18 am | Updated: 6:57 am, Sun Jan 23, 2011.

AURORA | Grandview put itself in position to win the Centennial League wrestling championship with a 58-12 dual meet victory over visiting Cherokee Trail Thursday, turning the tables on the Cougars, who won last season’s meeting between the two on their way to the league title.

COURTNEY OAKES/The Aurora Sentinel
Grandview's Alejandro Salazar, right, holds
down Cherokee Trail's Andrew Haney during
the 130-pound match of the Centennial League
wrestling dual meet between the Cougars and Wolves on Jan. 20, 2011, at Grandview High
School. (Courtney Oakes/The Aurora Sentinel)

The Wolves — who compete in the rugged Top of the Rockies tournament Friday and Saturday at Centaurus High School — improved to 5-0 in the Centennial League and head to Cherry Creek on Jan. 27 to decide the league crown.

Cherokee Trail, which had two key wrestlers leave the team after winter break and used a lineup with only two of the same wrestlers from last season, dropped to 3-2.

Last season’s Cherokee Trail-Grandview match — won by the Cougars 35-33 — was tight the entire way and the rematch began in a similar fashion.

The Wolves got off to a rousing start with two quick pins by 152-pounder Eric Bagnard and 160-pounder Jake Fisher before Grandview’s Darren Rutledge and Cherokee Trail’s Joe Maletta waged a war that went to the final seconds at 171 pounds.

Thought Maletta got the first takedown of the match, Rutledge built a 5-2 early in the third period before a reversal by Maletta made it a one-point match. Rutledge earned an escape point to go up by two, but Maletta got a takedown to knot the score at 6-6 with 27 seconds left. Maletta chose to let Rutledge up for an escape point as he looked for a winning takedown, but he ran out of time.

Keith Johnson and Bo Brunning got Cherokee Trail back in the hunt with back-to-back pins at 189 pounds and 215 pounds, respectively. Johnson — who placed fourth in state last season at 189 — built a good lead against Grandview’s Pavlo Ivanusa going into the third period before winning by fall, while Brunning took down Jimmy Short midway through the second period.

Andrew Vafides got the momentum back for Grandview in the heavyweight match, when he outlasted Cherokee Trail's Drew Wagner despite giving up a lot of size. The wrestlers traded escape points and went to overtime tied. After a scoreless overtime period, Vafides earned an escape point and kept control of Wagner in the third overtime period to escape with a 2-1 decision.

In the blink of an eye, the Wolves' lead exploded with Josh Federico (103) and Eric Ruoff (112) getting wins by forfeit, followed by sub-1 minute pins by 119-pounder Tony Mendieta (13 seconds) and 125-pounder Alex Mark (0:53). Grandview also won the last four matches, which included a major decision at 130 pounds by Alejandro Salazar and a match-ending pin by 145-pounder David Rose.


152 pounds: Eric Bagnard (Grandview) pinned Anthony Goosby (Cherokee Trail), 0:49

160 pounds: Jake Fisher (Grandview) pinned Dillon Elnicki (Cherokee Trail), 2:16

171 pounds: Darren Rutledge (Grandview) dec. Joe Maletta (Cherokee Trail), 7-6

189 pounds: Keith Johnson (Cherokee Trail) pinned Pavlo Ivanusa (Grandview), 4:35

215 pounds: Bo Brunning (Cherokee Trail) pinned Jimmy Short (Grandview), 2:52

285 pounds: Andrew Vafides (Grandview) dec. Drew Wagner (Cherokee Trail), 2-1 (3OT)

103 pounds: Josh Federico (Grandview) won by forfeit

112 pounds: Eric Ruoff (Grandview) won by forfeit

119 pounds: Tony Mendieta (Grandview) pinned Stephan Abbink (Cherokee Trail), 0:13

125 pounds: Alex Mark (Grandview) pinned Derrick Wheeler (Cherokee Trail), 0:53

130 pounds: Alejandro Salazar (Grandview) maj. dec. Andrew Haney (Cherokee Trail), 10-2

135 pounds: Sean Sacro (Grandview) dec. Bryant Brown (Cherokee Trail), 8-6

140 pounds: Sean Burroughs (Grandview) dec. Thomas Nieto (Cherokee Trail), 10-5

145 pounds: David Rose (Grandview) pinned DJ Cornejo (Cherokee Trail), 5:19