4A & 5A wrestling semifinals: Historic night could be in store for championship round

Pueblo County Brendon Garcia wrestling

Brendon Garcia. (Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

DENVER — A little bit of wrestling history could be made Saturday night at Pepsi Center.

On a night where Poudre senior Jacob Greenwood makes his bid to become the 21st individual to claim four state championships, he has plenty of company looking to add their names to the record book as well during the state wrestling tournament. Seven wrestlers across Class 5A and 4A will pursue their third state title, joining a bigger — but still exclusive — club.

Three seniors and four juniors get their opportunity Saturday night after the Parade of Champions, which gets going at 6:30 p.m.

"It's really fun graduating with all these guys," Lakewood's Gabe Dinette said of his fellow seniors. "(Josiah) Rider, (Jacob) Greenwood, and (Pomona junior) Theorius (Robison) is going for his third. I grew up with all of them so we're all good buddies, and it should be fun for all of us to represent our schools and go for that third title."

Dinette, Grand Junction's Josiah Rider and Castle View's Malik Heinselman are appearing in the 5A championship finals for the last time.

Dinette posted a 14-2 major decision at 160 pounds and draws Rocky Mountain's Josh Betts in the title match.

"I'm feeling good," Dinette said. "Don't take anything for granted — always got to get better and keep pushing it, and put on a show (Saturday)."

Heinselman scored a 17-2 technical fall at 120 pounds and will meet Pomona's Justin Pacheco. Rider's 11-2 major decision victory at 152 sends him up against Adams City's Gavin Deaguero.

For the four juniors, there could be even more history to be made. The previous time multiple wrestlers captured a fourth consecutive title was in 2002. There has never been three four-time champions in the same year, let alone four.

Pueblo County's Brendon Garcia has had a front row seat each of his first two years to watching someone win four in a row. Last year it was his teammate, Hunter Willits, who accomplished the feat.

"I just kind of wanted to be in the same spot," Garcia said. "Seeing that was pretty cool, how he went for four. I want to be there."

Garcia defeated Discovery Canyon's Jett Strickenberger by a 4-1 decision at 106 pounds in a match that he admits wasn't that great on his part. But it still sends him into Saturday's title match against Pueblo Central's Jacob Gonazales.

"Now I've just got to make weight (Saturday) morning," Garcia said. "It's just a long wait tomorrow until the finals."

Theorius Robison Pomona wrestling

Theorius Robison. (Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Robison scored an 18-9 major decision at 132 pounds in 5A and will go up against Poudre's Job Greenwood for the title. Ponderosa's Cohlton Schultz has been dominant in his first year at heavyweight, pinning his way into the title match against Poudre's Weston Mayer.

In 4A, Greeley Central's Andrew Alirez is also pursuing his third championship. The junior won by a 21-5 technical fall at 145 pounds and matches up with Canon City's Zac Hanenberg on Saturday night.

The 5A team race is tight:

Grand Junction holds a narrow lead over Pomona as the two teams fight for the 5A team championship.

The Tigers ended Friday with 128.5 points. Pomona, the two-time defending champion, has 125 points. The Panthers lost a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct during the semifinals.

Poudre is currently third with 106.5 points, Adams City (84) is fourth, and Castle View (82.5) is fifth.

Pueblo East on top in 4A:

Pueblo East has a pretty sizable lead for the 4A team title heading into the final day of competition.

The Eagles ended Friday with 150 points. Pueblo County, their rival and two-time defending champions, sit in second with 127. Windsor (118 points) is third.

Mesa Ridge is currently fourth with 62.5 points. Greeley Central (56.5) is fifth.

Notables:

  • Poudre's Jacob Greenwood advanced to a final and will wrestle for a fourth state title. He's attempting to become the 21st four-time champion.
  • Windsor freshman Vance VomBaur beat 2016 champ Jace Trujillo of Pueblo East with a 5-4 decision in the 4A 120 semifinals.
  • Poudre junior Job Greenwood beat 2015 champion Dayton Marvel from Arvada West to move to the final in 5A 132.
  • Zion Freeman, a junior at Pueblo East, upset top-seeded and returning champion Garrett Niel of Pine Creek in 4A 182 with a 3-2 decision. Niel won the weight class in 2016.
  • Mesa Ridge senior Michael True gave Silver Creek senior Jacob Williams (40-1) his first loss of the season to reach the final in 4A 285. That final should be a great one, as defending champion Andy Garcia of Pueblo East is on the other side of the mat.