Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012 2:31 pm | Updated: 6:14 pm, Sat Feb 18, 2012.

COURTNEY OAKES/Aurora Sentinel


Grandview senior Sean Burroughs, left, holds onto the leg of Central of Grand Junction's Willy Holdren during the third period of the 152-pound fifth-place match at the Class 5A state wrestling tournament on Feb. 18, 2012, at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Burroughs won 8-7. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Wrestling: Aurora trio places at state ahead of championship matches

DENVER | Three Aurora wrestlers made their way onto the medal podium when the consolation rounds were all complete Saturday afternoon at the Class 5A state wrestling tournament at the Pepsi Center.

Cherokee Trail junior 106-pounder Bruno Nicoletti and Grandview senior 152-pounder Sean Burroughs each won fifth-place matches, while Eaglecrest heavyweight Mike Howshar lost a heartbreaker to take 6th.

In his second trip to state, Nicoletti extended the young Cherokee Trail program's streak of having at least one state placer to three seasons, as he handled Horizon's Anthony Cortez 6-3 in the 106-pounder fifth-place match. An 0-2 showing at state last season spurred Nicoletti to travel and wrestle nearly 100 matches in the offseason to get ready.

Wrestling a smart tournament, Nicoletti finished 4-2 at state, a mark which could have been better if not for a last-second loss to Pine Creek's Trenton Watson who advanced to the state championship match in the first round. Nicoletti (41-7) won four times in five consolation matches, losing only to Pomona standout Travis Torres. He handled Cortez (38-4) in the fifth-place match, building a 3-2 lead with an escape point in the second period and getting a three-point near fall in the third to take control.

Burroughs had to wait until his third trip to state to get on the medal podium, but he finished strong with an 8-7 victory over Central of Grand Junction's Willy Holdren in the 5th-place match.

Burroughs who lost to finalist Sam Kreimier of Loveland in the opening round nearly made the third-place match, but couldn't hold a 2-1 lead on Pine Creek's Alex Smith in the final minute of a consolation semifinal. Smith tied the match with an escape point and secured the winning takedown of Burroughs with just 24 seconds left.

In the fifth-place match, Burroughs waged a see-saw battle with Holdren (43-11) that was tied at 6-6 with under a minute left in the third period. Burroughs caught Holdren's right leg, lifted it and executed a takedown to go up 8-6 with 19 seconds left. Holdren escaped to pull within a point, but couldn't score again.

The win pushed Burroughs to 4-2 in the tournament and 41-8 overall.

Howshar had a chance to make it an Aurora sweep in the fifth place matches, as he had a 3-1 lead with 22 seconds left after getting a takedown against Rampart's Keith Kames. But Kames escaped with just under 10 seconds left and instead of staying clear and holding on, Howshar got tied up with Kames and was taken down in the final seconds.

After a brief discussion, the referees decided time was left on the clock when the points were awarded, giving Kames an improbable 4-3 victory.

The loss left Howshar at 3-3 in the tournament and 37-12 overall.


106 pounds: Bruno Nicoletti (Cherokee Trail) dec. Anthony Cordova (Horizon), 6-3

152 pounds: Sean Burroughs (Grandview) dec. Willy Holdren (Central G.J.), 8-7

285 pounds: Keith Kames (Rampart) dec. Mike Howshar (Eaglecrest), 4-3