The Wolves’ senior wasn’t 100 percent sure he’d defeated Brighton’s Tanner Aitken in the 285 pound title match at Pepsi Center, but having his arm raised by the referee confirmed it: he was a state champion.
Baumgarter took Aitken down in overtime for a 4-2 victory to win a state title in just his second trip to the tournament. In the process, Baumgartner became the first state champion for Grandview’s outstanding program since 2008.
The championship capped a night that saw Aurora wrestlers finish 1-3 in finals, as the Cherokee Trail trio of Josh Richardson (160 pounds), Zeke Silva (195) and Max Gonzales all went down to defeat prior to Baumgartner’s victory.
Boosted by the performances of the state finalists, coach Ryan Budd’s Wolves and coach Jeff Buck’s Cougars — who combined for eight of Aurora’s nine top-six placers — finished sixth and seventh in the 5A team standings, respectively.
Richardson made it all the way to the state championship match in his one and only trip to the state tournament and provided a bit of levity before taking on Pomona’s Jason Romero when he came out in a singlet he had put on backwards.
Once he’d put his wardrobe right, Richardson had his hands full with Romero, who scored the first takedown and went on to an 11-5 victory. Richardson finished the season 38-12.
In the 195-pound final, Silva battled Mountain Vista’s Trent Schultz — a defending state champion who came into the match undefeated — and went to overtime with him in a 1-1 match.
With less than five seconds left in overtime, Silva tried to throw Schultz and instead ended up on his back for the deciding takedown in a 3-1 loss. Silva’s season ended 28-3.
A year later, Gonzales found himself right back on the same mat against Ponderosa’s Cohl Schultz in the 220 pound final with the result, though in a different manner.
Gonzales got pinned in the first period of last year’s final, but kept out of tie-ups with Schultz and managed to go the entire three periods — the first wrestler to avoid pin against Schultz in the sophomore’s eight career state matches — in a 7-0 defeat.
A football player who turned himself in an elite wrestler, Gonzales finished his career with three top-three places at the state tournament.
Baumgartner then climbed the highest of five Wolves’ on the medal podium, as senior Tyler Ross placed third at 182 pounds and junior Giovani Federico (113), senior Armando Santillan (132) and sophomore Dylan Ranieri (138) all placed sixth.
Overland junior Kaelin Chin gave Aurora two of the top-three placers at 195 pounds as he captured third place.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2017 CLASS 5A STATE WRESTLING TOURNAMENT
Team scores: 1. Pomona 192.5 points; 2. Grand Junction 141.5; 3. Brighton 124.5; 4. Poudre 102; 5. Castle View 79; 6. Coronado 78.5; 7. GRANDVIEW 77; 8. CHEROKEE TRAIL 72; 9. Ponderosa 70.5; 10. Adams City 70; 11. Monarch 63; 12. Arvada West 54.5; 13. Broomfield 50; 14. Rocky Mountain 49.5; 15. Lakewood 45; 16. Legacy 39; 17. Mountain Vista 34.5; 18. Doherty 31; 19. Prairie View 30; 20. Fruita Monument 23; 21. OVERLAND 20.5; 22. ThunderRidge 19; 23. Mountain Range 17; 24. Fossil Ridge 16; 25. Rampart 15; T26. Fountain-Fort Carson 14; T26. Palmer 14; 28. Douglas County 12; 29. Cherry Creek 11; 30. Fairview 9; T31. SMOKY HILL 7; T31. Fort Collins 7; T31. Legend 7; T34. Arapahoe 6; T34. Northglenn 6; T36. RANGEVIEW 5; T36. Greeley West 5; T38. REGIS JESUIT 4; T38. Bear Creek 4; T38. Chaparral 4; T41. HINKLEY 3; T41. Chatfield 3; T41. Denver East 3; 44. GATEWAY 2; T45. Centaurus 1; T45. Denver South 1; AURORA CENTRAL & EAGLECREST among eight with no score
AURORA CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES
160 pounds (5A): Jason Romero (Pomona) dec. JOSH RICHARDSON (CHEROKEE TRAIL), 11-5
195 pounds (5A): Trent Schultz (Mountain Vista) dec. ZEKE SILVA (CHEROKEE TRAIL), 3-1 (OT)
220 pounds (5A): Cohl Schultz (Ponderosa) dec. MAX GONZALES (CHEROKEE TRAIL), 7-0
285 pounds (5A): GABRIEL BAUMGARTNER (GRANDVIEW) dec. Tanner Aitken (Brighton), 4-2 (OT)