DENVER — Greeley Central's Andrew Alirez knows the feeling of winning a state wrestling championship. He's experienced it twice and is aiming for his third. At this year's state tournament at Pepsi Center, he's hoping he's not alone. His older cousin Zeke, a senior, placed third a year ago, but has yet to claim a championship.
But this could be the year they do it together. Andrew pinned Falcon's Adrian Garcia in one minute, 20 seconds and Zeke pinned Pueblo South's Joe Deville in 3:55. The hunt is one for the siblings.
"We train hard," Andrew said. "We just try to represent our city and we're pushing each other every day. Zeke's really tough. He's a great wrestler. You guys don't see what I see. He's tough. In my opinion, this year should be his year."
As a junior, Andrew's potential third title will hold more significance from a state-wide perspective. But no matter what he's doing or where he is, his focus is always directed Zeke's way and hoping for the same level of success.
"Even last week in regionals during my finals match, he's in his match clapping so we're just really there for each other," Zeke said.
The duo will compete in the Class 4A quarterfinals Friday morning and should they win, they'll advance to the semifinal will be held Friday night.
Greenwood's quest for a fourth title begins
Jacob Greenwood, the Poudre senior in search of a fourth state championship, started his state tournament off with a win.
Greenwood beat Ralston Valley junior Colton Frost-Bryant via a tech fall, 20-4, in the second period. He will face Erik Cumley of Legend in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Greenwood is seeking to become the 21st four-time champion in state history. The state tournament has featured a four-time champion each of the past four seasons.
Two-time champs pushing for a third
Six other wrestlers began their quests for a third championship with a win in the first round on Thursday night:
- Pueblo County's Brendon Garcia, a junior at 4A 106, pinned Thompson Valley's Kameron Hanel in 3:13.
- Malik Heinselman, a Castle View senior at 5A 120, pinned ThunderRidge's Aiden Okamura in 1:50.
- Pomona junior Theorius Robison pinned Douglas County's Jared Cabunoc in 2:51 at 5A 132.
- Josiah Rider, a Grand Junction senior at 5A 152, pinned Ponderosa's Kayden Johnson in 1:02. Rider is now 33-0 this season.
- Lakewood's Gabriel Dinette won his first-round match with a pin in 1:18.
- Ponderosa junior Cohl Schultz pinned Arapahoe's Jason Washington in 40 seconds. Schultz, who won a world championship in September, is now 46-0 in the 5A heavyweight division.
- Pueblo East heads the 4A team race with 34 points. Defending champion Pueblo County is second (29) and Windsor (26) is third. Discovery Canyon and Greeley Central are tied for fourth with 21 points.
- Broomfield's Michael DeCamillis gave his team the lead after the first day with a pin in the final match of the night. The Eagles have 30 points. Defending champ Pomona (28 points) is second, and is followed by Grand Junction (27), Poudre (24) and Grandview (22.5).
- The 120-pound bracket in 4A is one to watch, with two returning champions in the field. Pueblo East's Jace Trujillo won a 113-pound title in 2016, Pueblo County's Josiah Nava won a 106-pound championship in 2015. In addition, Discovery Canyon's Patrick Allis was a finalist at 106 last season. All three advanced to the quarterfinals.
- 4A's 126-pound division is also loaded, with returning champions Josh Nira of Greeley Central (who won 113 last season) and Windsor's Dominick Serrano (120) in the field.
- Roosevelt's Ethan Hays pinned his first-round opponent in 21 seconds at 4A 113. That is the fastest of the tournament so far.
- Douglas County's Micah Smith had the fastest pin in the 5A prelims. He took down Fruita Monument's Levi Womack in 28 seconds.
- Pomona's Colton Yapoujian beat Rampart's Benjamin Bancroft in 38 seconds. Yapoujian won the 5A 120 title last season.
- Pueblo East's Zion Freeman had a pin in 23 seconds, beating Skyline's Angel Perez in 4A 182.