Broomfield repeats as 4A wrestling champion

DENVER -- New coach.

New season.

Same result.

The Broomfield High School wrestling program with Pat DeCamillis at the helm won three individual state championships to capture their second-consecutive Class 4A team title Saturday night at the Pepsi Center.

“It’s kind of the culmination of all their hard work right here,” said DeCamillis, a veteran figure in the Colorado prep wrestling community.

Broomfield finished with 127.50 points and Thompson Valley was second at 120. Windsor (112) was third and Pueblo County and Pueblo South tied for fourth at 106 points.

This was Broomfield’s fourth state wrestling team crown and fourth in the last six years. The Eagles have now won state titles in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014.

Broomfield’s seniors Phil Downing (160) and Zach Stodden (182) walked away with gold medals.

Eagles’ junior Darek Huff (126) and seniors Jarod Albo (152) and heavyweight Austyn Harris also took second for the Eagles.

Downing (46-3) was the marquee winner for the Eagles as he became only the 17th wrestler in Colorado prep history to capture four state wrestling titles. Downing was named Class 4A’s outstanding wrestler.

Downing also clinched the team title for Broomfield when he scored an 11-2 major decision over Pueblo County High School’s Keenan Willits.

DeCamillis knew he was getting the keys to a Ferrari in the Broomfield program, and he was thrilled his team performed their best in the state’s biggest spotlight.

“The kids won state and it’s very gratifying,” DeCamillis said.

Since 2005, Broomfield has finished no worse than fourth in the Class 4A state team standings.

DeCamillis was a three-time state champ at Arvada West from 1988-90. Prior to taking over Broomfield, he spent nine seasons at Pomona.

“This feels good, it was a long time coming,” said DeCamillis about capturing his first state championship as a head coach.

Thompson Valley had two wrestlers in the state finals – Ben Hewson (138) and Parker Simington (145) – and Simington claimed a championship.

“This feels awesome,” said Simington after beating Mountain Vista’s Matt Combs 7-0. “I can’t wipe the smile off my face.”

Hewson was defeated by Berthoud’s Jimmy Fate.

WONDER TWIN POWERS: Freshmen Grant Willits and Hunter Willits of Pueblo County High School made Pueblo history Saturday night.

Grant (106) and Hunter (132), fraternal twins, both won state, and in the process they became the only twins from Pueblo to win state.

In Class 5A, Cherry Creek’s Mitch (126 pounds) and and Zach (138 pounds), who are also fraternal twins, won state as well Saturday night.

Grant pinned Palisade’s Randen Espinoza with eight seconds left in the third period. Hunter muscled past Pueblo South’s Marcus Martinez 10-3.

“This feels amazing, and it really hasn’t hit me yet,” Grant said. “I’m so excited right now. I just wanted to win this for my family and my brother.”

Only one other freshman – Isaac Naro of Pueblo South at 132 pounds in 2013 – ever won a state wrestling championship in Pueblo history before this year. Naro upended Pueblo Central senior Sonny Espinoza 5-2 to take state last season. Naro finished third at 138 pounds this season.

Grant actually added another line to Pueblo’s wrestling record book as he is the only freshman to capture a state wrestling title by pin.

“That’s pretty awesome,” Grant said. “I just had to stay in good position on top and get hand control and work from there. Before the season started, I couldn’t imagine being a state champion. To have this happen is just incredible.”

JUST LIKE MY BROTHER: For the second time in seven days, Discovery Canyon sophomore Sam Turner beat Pueblo County’s Chris Sandoval.

The win Saturday night was extra special for Turner as he beat Sandoval 5-3 to take state at 120 pounds.

“This is very satisfying and the best feeling in the world to know your hard work has paid off,” said Sam, who pinned Sandoval in the regional finals in the final seconds of their match after trailing 3-1. “I’m so happy.”

In 2012, as a senior Steve Turner, Sam’s brother, also won a Class 4A state crown at 120 pounds.

“This is just great that my brother and I won state at 120 pounds,” Sam said.

A year ago, Sam experienced the agony of defeat, losing to Weld Central’s Dalton Robertson 11-9 in the state finals.

TRYING TO REPEAT HISTORY: In addition to Broomfield’s Downing (160) and Stodden (182), Windsor’s Kennen Lanteri (152) and Mead’s Kyle Couch (195) also were repeat champs.

Lanteri, a senior, edged Broomfield’s Albo 4-2 in the finals.

“It’s kind of hard to describe right now,” said Lanteri, who also won state at 152 pounds last year. “I’m sure (Sunday) it will feel even better because it hasn’t really set in yet. The experience I got from being in the state finals last year really helped me this year. I was a lot more calm this year.”

Lanteri said he plans on continuing his wrestling career at Oregon State University.

A year ago as a junior Couch made history by winning the first state wrestling title in Mead’s history. On Saturday night, he became the school’s first back-to-back state winner with a 7-2 win over Discovery Canyon’s David Traynor.

“I wasn’t as nervous (Saturday night),” said the 6-foot-2 Couch, who signed to play linebacker for Colorado Mesa University. “It was just a great win.”

Last season Couch defeated Montezuma-Cortez’s Trenton Gustafson 4-2 at 182 pounds in the state finals.

Now, the program which is five years old, has two individual state champions and three state titles as junior Sage Budd was a gold medalist at 126 pounds Saturday night as he defeat Broomfield’s Huff.

“It is pretty special,” Mead coach Ty Tatham said about getting two state champs. “I’m not going to forget about this for a long time. Sage’s win was huge. In Kyle’s match, he just has a way of preparing and being ready to go and he just had a great tournament.”