DENVER — Hunter Willits will wrestle for a fourth-consecutive state championship on Saturday.
The Pueblo County senior won his semifinal match at the state wrestling tournament in the Class 4A 152-pound bracket against Cheyenne Mountain's Luke White. Willits won by a 10-3 decision.
Willits will face Nathan Morris of Longmont in Saturday night's final for a chance to become Colorado's 20th four-time state wrestling champion. Morris beat Mead's Caleb Mendez 4-3 in the semifinals.
Willits won 4A 132 as a freshman, 138 as a sophomore, and 152 last year.
To reach the semifinals, he pinned Grand Junction Central's Shaun Stepisnik in the first round on Thursday, and Greeley Central's Justus Strand in the quarterfinals earlier Friday.
- A great match in 5A 132 pitted two returning champions against one another in the semifinals. Pomona's Theorius Robison beat Arvada West's Dayton Marvel 9-3 to reach the final.
- The 138 pound final in 4A will be something. It will match returning champion Chris Sandoval of Windsor against fellow returning champion Justin Davis of Pueblo County. Davis is also unbeaten.
- Likewise, the 5A 182 final will be electric. Pueblo County's Dante Garcia won a tiebreak to move to the 4A 182 final. He will face Glenwood Springs' Myles Wilson. Both are returning champions.
- The star-studded 3A 285 bracket lived up to its hype in the semifinals. Sheridan's Ricky Ayala outlasted Bayfield's Sam Westbrook 5-4 in the ultimate tiebreaker. Ayala will face Delta's Logan Church in the final. Church knocked off the top seed in the quarterfinals.
- In the 5A 170 pound semifinals, Grand Junction Central's Erminio Barrera upset top-seeded and returning champion Garrett Niel of Pine Creek.
- Pueblo County's Grant Willits will wrestle for a third state championship. He beat Pueblo East's Aaden Valdez 10-6 in the 4A 132 semifinal. Willits will face Cheyenne Mountain's Mike McFadden, who beat Grand Junction Central's Andrew Bench 4-2 in overtime.
- Rocky Ford's Jacob Rodriguez pinned his way to the 2A 106 final. The two-time returning champion beat Landen Mayberry of Hotchkiss in 1:01. He also pinned his opponents in the first round (14 seconds) and quarterfinals (45 seconds). Rodriguez will face John Mall's Chris McKenna.
- Greeley Central's Josh Nira knocked off previously unbeaten Jace Trujillo of Pueblo East in the 4A 113 semifinals with a 10-4 decision. Trujillo was also a returning champion. Nira will face Pueblo County's Josiah Nava in the final.
- John Mall's Jonathan Andreatta will wrestle for a third state title after beating Meeker's Tannen Kennedy in the 2A 126 semifinals with a 4-0 decision.
- Isaiah Delacerda of Alamosa, a two-time champion, beat La Junta's Isaiah Gamez in the 3A 113 semis.
- Also aiming for a third state title is Fort Lupton's Jody Sandoval, and he will get a shot at it after his win in the 3A 126 semifinals.
- Grand Junction's Josiah Rider tore his way through the 145 bracket in 5A, getting his third pin of the tournament in the semifinals. Rider will face Ponderosa's Parker Benekas in the final.
- Returning champion Aaron Trujillo picked up his third pin of the bracket in the 3A 145 semis, winning in 58 seconds. He will face Centauri's Brandon Buhr, who pinned his opponent in 37 seconds.
- Rocky Ford's Dillon Jaramillo reached the 2A 113 final when he pinned Sedgwick County/Fleming's Kolton Dickinson with just two seconds remaining in the match.
- Cody Venem of Rocky Ford beat Hotchkiss' Cody Hall in overtime, 5-3, to reach the 2A 132 final.
- Mesa Ridge's Elijah Valdez moved to the 4A 145 final with a 4-1 tiebreak win over Mountain View's Erik Contreras. In the championship match, he will face Niwot's Tommy Stager, who is trying to become his school's first champion since 1993.
- Hayden's Christian Carson won in overtime to advance to the 2A 195 final, where he will meet John Mall's Jason Murphy.
- Three Unified wrestling matches were held as exhibitions prior to the semifinals.
- One of the officials at the state wrestling tournament is Mikael Smith, the Nucla grad who won four state titles from 2002-05.
- 2A: Meeker heads the pack with 127 points. John Mall (120) and Rocky Ford (118.5) are close behind.
- 3A: Valley leads with 85.5 points. Alamosa and Jefferson (75) are tied for second, and Centauri (73) sits in third.
- 4A: Pueblo County is way out in front with 183 points. Cheyenne Mountain (88) is second, with Pueblo East (80) and Greeley Central (74.5) close behind them.
- 5A: Pomona sits in first place with 148.5 points. Grand Junction is in second with 103.5. Brighton (81.5), Poudre (78), Coronado (74.5) and Cherokee Trail (72) have also amassed a lot of points.