The Cougars brought just four wrestlers to the Class 5A state tournament, but half of them have advanced to Friday night’s semifinal round at Pepsi Center after impressive quarterfinal victories.
Senior Seth Bogulski is one step from a title shot at 170 pounds and junior teammate Max Gonzales — who got a bye in Thursday night’s first round and needed just 34 seconds to win his quarterfinal — is also on the cusp of his own championship try. Joining the Cougars’ duo in the 7:15 p.m. semifinals is Grandview freshman Fabian Santillan.
Bogulski (41-3) prevailed in the only all-Aurora quarterfinal matchup, as he posted an 18-8 major decision victory over Gateway upstart Charles Reigies. Reigies managed to take a 6-4 lead in the opening period only to see Bogulski dominate the second period to take a commanding lead.
Opposite Bogulski in the semifinals is Pomona junior Cameron Gonzales (29-7), while Chaparral’s Dawson Cranmer (30-5) and Grand Junction’s Seth Latham (37-5) square off on the other side of the bracket for the other spot in Saturday’s final.
Gonzales’ bracket was reshuffled when one of the 220-pounders was removed prior to the tournament when he failed to meet the skin requirements to compete. The changes gave Gonzales a bye and when he finally did get on the mat, he made quick work of Brighton’s Tanner Aitken, pinning him in just 34 seconds.
An anticipated finals matchup of Gonzales (34-2) against Ponderosa freshman phenom Cohl Schultz (45-1) is very much possible if Gonzales gets past Broomfield’s Noah Dohm (30-15) and Schultz takes care of Loveland’s Charles Dunkelman (27-1).
Schultz has been ranked No. 1 by the On The Mat all season, with Gonzales behind him the entire way in the No. 2 spot.
Santillan put himself into the semifinals with an 8-7 decision over Central of Grand Junction’s Andrez Martinez, a match in which he gave up a 4-0 lead and trailed 5-4 going to the final period. Santillan got a takedown in final 30 seconds and held off Martinez to advance.
Next up for Santillan (37-9) is Adams City senior Fabian Gutierrez, the top seed in the bracket with a 43-3 record, while Mountain Range’s Louie Romero (32-5) and Arvada West’s Cody Fatzinger (29-5) do battle on the other side of the bracket.
Aurora’s semifinal contingent might have been larger if not for some very close decisions that went to their opponents.
Junior Ezequiel Silva nearly gave Cherokee Trail three in the semifinals, but he gave up a takedown with just eight seconds left to come up short in an 3-1 loss to Legacy’s Matt Hebel in a 182-pound quarterfinal; Grandview junior Gabriel Baumgartner need an escape in the third overtime to beat Dohm, but couldn’t get it in a 3-2 loss; Grandview senior heavyweight Josh Vigil-Harrison — who placed third last season — dropped a 2-1 loss to Centaurus’ Forrest Lalaguna and Aurora Central’s Axel Pacheco dropped a 4-2 decision at 106 pounds.
Thirteen of the 20 Aurora wrestlers who competed in the first round of consolation matches came away with wins, including Nick Elgin of Regis Jesuit and Overland’s Kaelin Chin, who each won all-Aurora consolation matches.
Elgin posted a 10-1 major decision win over Rangeview’s Christian Calkins, while Chin pinned Rangeview’s Myles Price.
Consolation winners and those who lost in the quarterfinals compete in the second round of the consolation bracket, which runs concurrently with the semifinals and continues when semifinal matches are completed.
AURORA CLASS 5A & 4A STATE WRESTLING QUARTERFINAL RESULTS
Class 5A team scores: 1. Pomona 59 points; 2. Legacy 46; 3. Ponderosa 44.5; 4. Pine Creek 43; 5. Poudre 41.5; 6. Grand Junction 33; 7. Adams City 37; T8. GRANDVIEW 24; T8. Broomfield 24; T10. Cherry Creek 23; T10. Fruita 23; 12. Chaparral 22.5; 13. Castle View 22; 14. CHEROKEE TRAIL 21; T15. Loveland 18; T15. Mountain Range 18; 17. Mountain Vista 16; T18. Brighton 15; T18. Central of Grand Junction 15; T18. Monarch 15; 21. Arvada West 14; 22. Denver East 13; 23. Palmer 12.5; T24. Lakewood 12; T24. Legend 12; T24. Thornton 12; 27. Douglas County 10.5; T28. AURORA CENTRAL 9; T28. Coronado 9; T28. ThunderRidge 9; 31. HINKLEY 8.5; T32. Centaurus 8; T32. Prairie View 8; T32. Ralston Valley 8; T35. SMOKY HILL 7; T35. Doherty 7; T35. Horizon 7; 38. Rocky Mountain 5; 39. REGIS JESUIT 4; T41. EAGLECREST 3; T41. GATEWAY 3; T41. OVERLAND 3; T41. RANGEVIEW 3; T41. Arapahoe 3; T41. Heritage 3; T47. Chatfield 2; T47. Fort Collins 2; T47. Northglenn 2; 50. Lincoln 1
106 pounds: Upper bracket — Colton Yapoujian (Pomona) dec. AXEL PACHECO (AURORA CENTRAL), 4-2; Lower bracket — Mosha Schwartz (Ponderosa) dec. BEN RHOTON (HINKLEY), 16-12
113 pounds: Upper bracket — FABIAN SANTILLAN (GRANDVIEW) dec. Andrez Martinez (Central of Grand Junction), 8-7
120 pounds: Lower bracket — Dylan Martinez (Grand Junction) dec. RAFAEL GARIBAY (HINKLEY), 5-0; Jordan Martinez (Pine Creek) dec. XAVIER CARDENAS (GRANDVIEW), 9-3
138 pounds: Upper bracket — Ryan Deakin (Legacy) pinned SERJ CHAVEZ (HINKLEY), 1:38; Dre-Son Scruggs (Palmer) tech. fall TANNER PATTERSON (GRANDVIEW), 21-6
145 pounds: Lower bracket — Zack Martinez (Mountain Range) maj. dec. JOSE MILLAN (AURORA CENTRAL), 10-0
170 pounds: Lower bracket — SETH BOGULSKI (CHEROKEE TRAIL) maj. dec. CHARLES REIGIES (GATEWAY), 18-8
182 pounds: Upper bracket — Matt Hebel (Legacy) dec. EZEQUIEL SILVA (CHEROKEE TRAIL), 3-1
195 pounds: Lower bracket — Zack Gomez (Arvada West) dec. ROBERT WOODS (SMOKY HILL), 9-3
220 pounds: Upper bracket — MAX GONZALES (CHEROKEE TRAIL) pinned Tanner Aitken (Brighton), 0:34; Noah Dohm (Broomfield) dec. GABRIEL BAUMGARTNER (GRANDVIEW), 3-2 (3OT)
285 pounds: Lower bracket — Forrest Lalaguna (Centaurus) dec. JOSHUA VIGIL-HARRISON (GRANDVIEW), 2-1
138 pounds: Elijah Valdez (Mesa Ridge) dec. MARCUS GUERRA (VISTA PEAK), 7-0