Able to wrestle without much pressure and after his team had won six of the seven matches before him, the Wolves’ junior came up in the 145-pound match against Cherokee Trail’s Chance Korte and delivered a rousing 7-6 victory that ended up looming large later in Grandview’s 37-32 victory in the well-attended battle of neighborhood rivals.
Coach Ryan Budd felt good about how his unranked Grandview team matched up against coach Jeff Buck’s Cougars — who came into the match ranked No. 6 in Class 5A as a team by On The Mat — and things worked out mostly as planned for the home team. The Wolves won seven of the first eight matches to build enough of a lead and hold on to improve to 16-0 in dual matches this season and clear the greatest obstacle to winning a league championship.
“It was really close at the end and my dad told me if I would have lost, my whole team would have lost,” a relieved Brown said. “I was pretty happy to win. It was nice to not know at the time so there wasn’t that pressure. That’s why I don’t like going last because you know what the team score is.”
An opening string of impressive wins by Giovanni Federico (106 pounds), Fabian Santillan (113), Xavier Cardenas (120) and Ben Ehrhard (126) — which included a pair of pins, a tech fall and a major decision — Grandview got off to a fast start.
Cherokee Trail’s Josh Richardson (132) and Grandview’s Alan Abila (138) traded victories before things got really interesting.
Both coaches flipped their 145 and 152 pounders from the original lineup — pitting Brown against Korte at 145s and Grandview’s Tanner Patterson against Cherokee Trail’s Fred Johnson at 152s — and it worked out for both teams as each got a victory.
Brown used a tip from Grandview grad and former 5A state qualifier Jordan Brown about relaxing his arms during tie-ups and he used it to conserve his strength for the third round against Korte. He got the go-ahead takedown inside of the final minute and held off Korte the rest of the way.
“The big surprise for me was Shem Brown, he stepped up tonight and that was the difference in the match,” Budd said. “They have a tough kid over there in Chance Korte, but Shem is a tough, strong-willed kid. I was kind of stunned with how he performed tonight.”
The win proved especially big because Johnson ended up pinning Patterson in the subsequent match to Budd’s surprise and cut Grandview’s lead down to 34-12.
Tyler Ross padded the Wolves’ lead with a 2-0 decision over Markus Alarcon, which was good thing considering Cherokee Trail racked up 20 points over the final four matches of the night.
The Cougars’ trio of wrestlers currently ranked No. 2 at their respective weights by On The Mat — senior Seth Bogulski (170 pounds) and juniors Ezequiel Silva (182) and Max Gonzales (220) — all posted victories, while 195-pounder Jayden Jackson received a win by forfeit.
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“It’s all about matchups; CT beat Creek handily (52-18) and when we wrestled Creek we had a pretty tight match (36-33),” Budd said. “I was really nervous about Creek and the way we matched up, but I really liked how we matched up with CT. The guys performed well.”
Brown and his teammates enjoyed getting the leg up in the neighborhood rivalry.
“We were really happy to win,” he said.
Cherokee Trail has Centennial League duals remaining at Eaglecrest (Jan. 28) and home against Overland and Smoky Hill on Feb. 4. The Cougars head to Nebraska Jan. 21-23 for their third out-of-state tournament of the season.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel