Top-ranked Arvada West wrestles to tournament title

Arvada West senior Payton Tawater, right, lines up Thompson Valley senior Ben Hewson during the 152-pound title bout Saturday. Tawater rallied from a first-period deficit to win 8-5. (Dennis Pleuss)

Arvada West senior Payton Tawater, right, lines up Thompson Valley senior Ben Hewson during the 152-pound title bout Saturday. Tawater rallied from a first-period deficit to win 8-5. (Dennis Pleuss)

ARVADA — After a long day of a prep-wrestling tournament it’s not typical for the champions to get a handshake of an Olympic gold medalist cap off the day.

However, that was the case Saturday during the 51st annual Arvada West Classic Invitational. Jordan Burroughs, 2012 Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA wrestling champion, was at Arvada West High School to handout the awards at the end of the night.

Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA wrestling champion Jordan Burroughs poses for a photo with Arvada West senior Devin Rothrock on Saturday night after the conclusion of the Arvada West Classic Invitational. (Dennis Pleuss)

Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA wrestling champion Jordan Burroughs poses for a photo with Arvada West senior Devin Rothrock on Saturday night after the conclusion of the Arvada West Classic Invitational. (Dennis Pleuss)

“It feels awesome to be honest,” A-West senior Devin Rothrock said after being congratulated by Burroughs following a pin of Grand Junction senior Tyler Zook in the first period to win the 220-pound weight class. “I’ve been working hard, sometimes two or three practices a day since football.”

Rothrock didn’t start wrestling until after winter break because of a broken hand. The returning state champion hasn’t missed a beat improving to 16-0 this season with four first-period pins Saturday.

As a team, A-West looks to be on the same path to defend its 5A state team title. The Wildcats, ranked No. 1 in the latest On the Mat rankings produced to Tim Yount, won their own tournament Saturday night. Pomona (5A, No. 2) finished second, Thompson Valley (4A, No. 1) took third and Grand Junction (5A, No. 3) placed fourth in one of the deepest tournaments before regionals.

“For Arvada West it’s still a ‘mini-state,’” Rothrock said. “It was tough today. It’s a good benchmark to see where you are and what you need to work on.”

A-West finished with three champions in seniors Jimmy Rothwell (145), Payton Tawater (152) and Rothrock. Rothwell dominated Grandview senior Randall Brown for a 9-1 major decision. While Tawater, returning state champion, had a bit of a tougher time in a match-up against the No. 1 wrestlers ranked at 152 pounds in 5A and 4A.

Thompson Valley senior Ben Hewson jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first period with a takedown and near-fall. However, Tawater rallied from the deficit to put out an 8-5 victory.

“As time has gone on I don’t let the little things bother me,” Tawater said of the come-from-behind win. “Maybe when I was a freshman or sophomore that would stick in my head the rest of the match, but now I just focus on scoring more points.”

Tawater improved to 22-3 on the season. The senior believes A-West’s tough schedule that has taken the Wildcats to tournaments in Ohio and Virginia this season.

“There is always a target on our back I guess, but we just meet the pressure and show everyone we are still the best,” Tawater said.

Pomona senior Travis Torres, top, works on Thompson Valley junior Vlad Kazakov during the 120-pound championship match Saturday. (Dennis Pleuss)

Pomona senior Travis Torres, top, works on Thompson Valley junior Vlad Kazakov during the 120-pound championship match Saturday. (Dennis Pleuss)

Pomona, last year’s runner-up in 5A, had a strong performance Saturday. The Panthers claimed a pair of individual titles with senior Travis Torres (120) and junior Deyaun Trueblood (170). Torres defeated Thompson Valley junior Vlad Kazakov 5-2.  Kazakov is ranked No. 1 at 120 pounds in 4A and was undefeated coming into the title bout.

“I treat it like any other match going in,” Torres said of the battle of top-ranked wrestlers. “I wanted to win. I just go out and score as many points as I can or get the pin. Just have fun with it.”

Torres trailed 1-0 going into the third period, but pulled off a 2-point reversal in the first 30 seconds of the final period before scoring a 3-point near-fall.

“To be honest I kind of fell into it,” Torres admitted of the reversal. “I was trying to grab his leg from underneath him, but I felt him getting high and I was able to get behind him.”

Trueblood, who won an individual state title at Gateway last season, dominated his title match against Thompson Valley sophomore Mike Berg.

Grand Junction was able to match A-West when it came to individual champions. Freshmen Dylan Martinez (106), Josiah Rider (138) along with senior and returning state champion Jacob Trujillo (160) proved why the Tigers would be in contention for individual titles when the state tournament rolls around Feb. 19-21 at Pepsi Center.

“I treat it just like a race,” Torres said about moving forward toward regionals and state. “Start hard, but finish harder.”

Grand Junction freshman Josiah Rider, left, tries to pull Arvada West senior Bennie Pachello to his back during the third period of the 138-pound championship match Saturday at the Arvada West Classic Invitational. (Dennis Pleuss)

Grand Junction freshman Josiah Rider, left, tries to pull Arvada West senior Bennie Pachello to his back during the third period of the 138-pound championship match Saturday at the Arvada West Classic Invitational. (Dennis Pleuss)


Results

Team:

  1. Arvada West, 185
  2. Pomona, 177
  3. Thompson Valley, 166
  4. Grand Junction, 124
  5. Coronado, 104
  6. Broomfield, 96.5
  7. Chaparral, 85.5
  8. Brighton, 74.5
  9. Grandview, 65
  10. Grand Junction Central, 64
  11. Monarch, 59
  12. Adams City, 49
  13. Durango, 40
  14. Fountain-Fort Carson, 34
  15. Bear Creek, 9.5

Arvada West senior Devin Rothrock lifts Grand Junction senior Tyler Zook off the mat during Rothrock's first-period pin Saturday night. (Dennis Pleuss)

Arvada West senior Devin Rothrock lifts Grand Junction senior Tyler Zook off the mat during Rothrock's first-period pin Saturday night. (Dennis Pleuss)


Championship matches:

106: Dylan Martinez, Grand Junction, dec. Dayton Marvel, Pomona, 7-5

113: Morgan Fogg, Thompson Valley, major dec. Frank Martinez, Chaparral, 10-2

120: Travis Torres, Pomona, dec. Vlad Kazakov, Thompson Valley, 5-2

126: Darek Huff, Broomfield, dec. Xavier Cardenas, Grandview, 10-8 OT

132: Jess Hankin, Coronado, dec. Jason Romero, Pomona, 6-4 OT

138: Josiah Rider, Grand Junction, dec. Bennie Pachello, Arvada West, 5-2

145: Jimmy Rothwell, Arvada West, major dec. Seth Brown, Grandview, 9-1

152: Payton Tawater, Arvada West, dec. Ben Hewson, Thompson Valley, 8-5

160: Jacob Trujillo, Grand Junction, fall Aaron Trygstad, Chaparral, :54

170: Deyaun Trueblood, Pomona, major dec. Mike Berg, Thompson Valley, 14-3

182: Patrick Cunnion, Durango, dec. Cameron Gonzales, Pomona, 5-2

195: David Eusea, Thompson Valley, fall Zach Gomez, Arvada West, 3:41

220: Devin Rothrock, Arvada West, fall Tyler Zook, Grand Junction, 1:48

285: Dan Drimmer, Chaparral, fall Mason Watt, Broomfield, :53

Coronado senior Jess Hankin, left, and Pomona sophomore Jason Romero square off in the 132-pound title match Saturday night. Hankin took a narrow 6-4 overtime victory. (Dennis Pleuss)

Coronado senior Jess Hankin, left, and Pomona sophomore Jason Romero square off in the 132-pound title match Saturday night. Hankin took a narrow 6-4 overtime victory. (Dennis Pleuss)