Eight city schools landed at least one spot on the 2014-15 Aurora Sentinel All-City Wrestling Team, which is primarily based on the results from the Class 5A/4A state tournaments Feb. 19-21 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
For the first time since 2008, Aurora had no finalists, leaving the third-place finishes of Rangeview sophomore Max Gonzales at 220 pounds and Grandview junior heavyweight Josh Vigil-Harrison at 285 pounds as tops among the city’s five top-six placers.
First-year coach Ryan Budd’s Grandview team grabbed the most spots on the All-City Team with three, as Vigil-Harrison is joined by senior Seth Brown (145 pounds) and junior Xavier Cardenas (126 pounds).
Vigil-Harrison placed sixth at state as a freshman, but climbed up the podium a few spots this season. He won his last match in a thriller, as he got off his back as Poudre’s Clayton Voytilla had him nearly pinned and instead pinned Voytilla for the win, which brought him the end of the season 29-9.
Brown — who had to withdraw from state tournament last season due to injury — won his first two matches this season to make the semifinals and wound up placing sixth. Crediting a competitive gymnastics background for flexibility and easing nerves in front of large groups like the ones at the Pepsi Center, Brown posted a 36-10 overall record.
Cardenas was ranked in the top five by On The Mat for much of the season and finished the year 31-8 with his 1-2 showing at the state tournament.
Gonzales made state at 195 pounds as a freshman for Rangeview, but flourished in his move up to 220 pounds this season. With a uncommon blend of strength and athleticism, the only wrestler who could stop Gonzales at the state tournament was undefeated Devin Rothrock of Arvada West, who won the state title.
Gonzales led all Aurora wrestlers with 42 wins against just five losses. Senior 160-pounder Sam Maes joins Gonzales as Rangeview’s All-City members, as he missed a good portion of the season due to injury, but finished 2-2 at state and 22-5 overall.
Regis Jesuit also earned a pair of All-City slots from senior 152-pounder Logan Ronan and junior 195-pounder Nick Elgin.
Ronan had state championship aspirations, but ended up with a tough second round match against Rocky Mountain’s Roman Ortiz, who topped him 5-2 and went on to make the state championship match. Ronan (35-5 on the season) worked his way the third-place match, where he lost a 3-2 decision to place fourth for the second time in his two state trips.
Elgin won his first match in three times at the Pepsi Center and finished 22-9.
Senior 182-pounder Juan Fraire earned the first spot on the medal podium for an Aurora Central wrestler since 2011 when he came away with sixth place.
Fraire — who placed third at 160 pounds in 2A last season while with Sedgwick County/Fleming — won his first two matches to reach the 182-pound semis in his debut in the 5A tournament, only to lose by two points to Mountain Vista’s Trenton Schultz, a former state placer from Regis Jesuit.
Two-thirds of Hinkley’s ‘Three Amigos’ made the All-City team in juniors Ben Rhoton (106 pounds) and Rafael Garibay (120 pounds).
Garibay came up one win shy of placing with his 2-2 performance as the city’s only 120-pound state qualifier, while Rhoton came away winless in his state debut, but racked up a 33-11 mark for the season in a significant improvement.
Eaglecrest also landed a pair of All-City spots from senior Dominique Evans at 138 pounds and senior Stephen Ramirez at 113.
Evans finished 1-2 in his state trip — though he lost to eventual state champion Isaac Rider of Grand Junction just 1-0 in the second round — and turned in a 33-10 mark.
By virtue of his fifth-place finish in 5A Region 1, Ramirez fills the All-City spot at 113 pounds, the only weight class in which Aurora didn’t have a state qualifier.
Cherokee Trail sophomore Ezequiel Silva had his hand raised twice in four matches at 170 pounds in his state debut, which left him at 39-10 overall for the season. If his 6-5 loss to Luke Engler of Douglas County in the consolation third round had gone his way, Silva would have qualified him for the placing round.
For three seasons, Vista PEAK’s young program had just one wrestlers make state in Junior Casillas, who graduated after placing fifth at 120 pounds in 2014.
Junior Marcus Guerra made it this season and came away with a victory in his debut. He lost to eventual state runner-up Zac Hanenberg of Canon City in the second round and lost again in the consolations to finish 30-9.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or email@example.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2014-15 AURORA SENTINEL ALL-CITY WRESTLING TEAM
106 pounds: Ben Rhoton, Hinkley, jr.; 113 pounds: Stephen Ramirez, Eaglecrest, sr.; 120 pounds: Rafael Garibay, Hinkley, jr.; 126 pounds: Xavier Cardenas, Grandview, jr.; 132 pounds: Marcus Guerra, Vista PEAK, jr.; 138 pounds: Dominique Evans, Eaglecrest, sr.; 145 pounds: Seth Brown, Grandview, sr.; 152 pounds: Logan Ronan, Regis Jesuit, sr.; 160 pounds: Sam Maes, Rangeview, sr.; 170 pounds: Ezequiel Silva, Cherokee Trail, soph.; 182 pounds: Juan Fraire, Aurora Central, sr.; 195 pounds: Nick Elgin, Regis Jesuit, jr.; 220 pounds: Max Gonzales, Rangeview, soph.; 285 pounds: Josh Vigil-Harrison, Grandview, jr.
HONORABLE MENTION: Axel Pacheco, Aurora Central (106 pounds); Dilan Esparza, Vista PEAK (4A, 106 pounds); Jonnathan Quijada, Aurora Central (126 pounds); Jordon White, Gateway (126 pounds); Carl Composanto, Regis Jesuit (132 pounds); Armando Santillan, Grandview (132 pounds); Donovan Ronan, Regis Jesuit (145 pounds); Serj Chavez, Hinkley (145 pounds); Michael Thelen, Cherokee Trail (152 pounds); Jake Dugan, Eaglecrest (152 pounds); Seth Bogulski, Cherokee Trail (160 pounds); Aldin Puris, Eaglecrest (182 pounds); Carlos Zerna, Smoky Hill (220 pounds); Oreva Koka, Cherokee Trail (285 pounds)