Valley wrestling wins 4th-straight 3A title; DeLaCerda, Sandoval 3-time champs

State wrestling

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

DENVER — Valley wrestling won its fourth-straight Class 3A state championship Saturday night. The Vikings previously won in 2014, 2015, 2016 and now 2017.

"Our goal at the beginning of the season was getting that four-peat," senior Aaron Trujillo said. "It's one of the biggest things in making history in our town, school, team, and all of Colorado. We've been working hard all year long and we got that four-peat."

Heading into the championship matches, just 3.5 points separated first and third place, with Valley leading Alamosa and Jefferson. That margin was even slimmer with five matches left as Joshua Flanagan entered the ring for his match in the 170 bracket.

"I knew how close it was, it never escaped my mind," said first-year Valley coach Ryan Linsacum. "We knew Alamosa was going to be a tough pill to swallow. From the beginning of the season, we knew they were top dog. Jefferson, I was not prepared for. Those guys put together a heck of a tournament."

Trujillo said Linsacum told the team throughout the year to "keep working hard in the wrestling room, it'll pay off here."

It paid off. Flanagan won 5-4 over and unofficially celebrated the team championship with Linsacum, putting Valley up 102.5 to 98 ahead of Alamosa.

"Everybody had the same focus from day one of the season; and that was a four-peat," Linsacum said. "I put all the credit in my kids hands. They knew what was at stake, they knew what needed to be done, and they came here and did it.

Jefferson sat at 95 with no shot to win the title, but a shot at second place in the 220 match with Oscar Lopez facing Grand Valley's Evan Hoff. Lopez's 10-5 sudden victory gave the Saints the points they needed to leap Alamosa in the team scores.

The final team scores were: Valley, 102.5; Jefferson, 99; Alamosa, 98.

A big swing match came in the 132 final, pitting Valley's Brandon Damian and Jefferson's Kyle Cisneros head to head. Sisneros took the win and gave Jefferson separation.

"We knew that was a very important match," Linsacum said. "Sometimes things happen for a reason, you know, put a little extra stress on us. Aaron and Josh all year have welcomed that stress. They've never faltered from their gameplan, regardless of the situation. 

The Vikings fought right back in the 145 bracket as Aaron Trujillo capped his career with back-to-back individual titles.

"Its so big," Trujillo said. "At the beginning of the season, my ultimate goal was to get that second state title, and I'm more pumped than ever that I got that. I knew I was going to take it at this weight class and I did."

All that was left was Flanagan to win his match at 170 and Valley was able to hold on to the team championship.

"It did come down to that 170 match," Linsacum said. "We were 1-1 with that kid on the season. So, that was the make it or break it time. We had a gameplan going in and we accomplished what we needed to accomplish."

Valley had two individual champions: Flanagan at 170 and Trujillo at 145. Trujillo won the 138-pound final last year and earned his fourth team championship ring Saturday night.

"(Trujillo) was part of a state championship team his entire high school career, not many people can say that," Linsacum said. "He's gonna be missed. He's going to be hard to replace. He's one of those kids that you dream about as a coach."

"You can't coach kids to the style that Aaron Trujillo has. You either have it or you don't."

Freshman Jaziah Whaley also took third place in a hard-fought 4-3 tiebreaker win in the 152 division.

"Right now we're relishing in this and we're super excited for what we've accomplished, but tomorrow it's back to the drawing board," Linsacum said. "Let's get five, let's get one for the thumb."

Isaiah DelLaCerda. (Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Alamosa's Isaiah DeLaCerda and Fort Lupton's Jody Sandoval II became three-time champions. DeLaCerda pinned A.J. Serna in the 113 bracket, while Sandoval II beat Moises Juarez in the 126 bracket.

"I was nervous more for the first and the second more than I was for this one," DeLaCerda said. "I've always said that I don't know if I deserve to be with names like Sonny and Cody (Yohn) and all those guys."

Of course, DeLaCerda is referring to former Alamosa three-time champions Sonny and Cody Yohn.

DeLaCerda watched his brother, Elijah DeLaCerda lose a tough match in the 106 bracket to Fort Lupton's Jacob Duran just before his match. He gave off an aura of controlled anger and let it out on his opponent.

"We were hoping that we could both come away with a title today, so I went out there upset that he didn't get it," DeLaCerda said. "I went out there and had to do it for both of us. I was fighting extra hard for that."

DeLaCerda put himself with exactly those wrestlers he named Saturday.

Sandoval II came away with a 2-0 win. As for what was going on in his head, Sandoval II kept pushing himself to persevere.

State wrestling Fort Lupton Jody Sandoval II

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

"I had to keep working, the match wasn't over yet," Sandoval II said. "So, keep on working, keep on pushing."

The thoughts about a possible three-peat came into his head right before the match, but Sandoval II let it carry him rather than weigh him down.

"After the 113-pounder won it, and they announced it, it got in my head that this is my third," Sandoval II said.

In the 285 bracket, Delta's Logan Church made his way through the one and four seeds, but was unable to claim the title over Sheridan's Ricky Ayala. Ayala was the 220 champion last year, and now adds the 285 title to his accolades.

In 195, Alameda's Fabian Estrada pinned Ridge View's Deven Mosman.

Centauri's Joe Chavez won his 120-pound match by major decision, 17-3. Holy Family's Kolsen Welham added his own title win by major decision in the 160 bracket.

In the 138 bracket, Noah Hermosillo of Eagle Valley topped former 2A title holder Quinton Montague.

Eaton's Isaiah Salazar won a close 3-1 match at 152 over Jimmy Laconte, and La Junta's William Tyler beat Nathan Johns of The Classical Academy 3-2 in 182.