A win is a win and Pomona?s Nick Jones was more than happy to have it. He was just disappointed in the way his final match came out Saturday in the Top of the Rockies wrestling tournament. Jones was voted the Most Valuable Wrestler by the coaches after he won the loaded 135-pound weight class. And in that weight class that had four state champions and 15 top-10 individuals in all, Jones excelled.
And for that matter, so did Class 5A defending state team champion Ponderosa. The Mustangs of coach Tim Ottmann only crowned one champion, Jake Snider at 140, but depth carried the day. They scored 175 points to edge 4A defending state champion Alamosa (169). Broomfield, ranked No. 2 in 4A, and Northridge, ranked No. 3 in 4A, tied for third with 165 points.
Jones, a senior, defeated Pueblo South?s state champion Jeremy Aguero by injury default at 4:34. He was leading 7-2 at the time when Aguero?s right shoulder was dislocated. Ironically, the third-place match between two other state champions, Saul Guerrero from Fort Lupton and Scott Schaeffer from Greeley Central, was also decided by injury default with Guerrero the winner.
?This is pretty awesome, but it?s a bummer we couldn?t finish the match,? said Jones, who improved to 25-2. ?But I still got it. For sure the bracket was tough as the best 135-pounders were here. This is one you want to win that can put you at the top. Injuries happen, it?s just to bad they had to be in the finals.?
Snider defeated Greeley Central?s Rodney Hesse, who is ranked No. 2 in 4A, 5-1. He had hoped for better results with his teammates, but it was great to come away with a team championship in a brutal tournament that has become recognized as the state?s finest in the regular season.
?Yes, that?s the good part,? said Snider (26-2), ranked No. 1 in 5A. ?We?ve had a hard week of practice and this is a good tournament to win. I won?t see Hesse at state, but he?s certainly was a fine opponent.?
Despite winning the team title, Ottmann did not feel his team wrestled that well.
?I hate to say that, and win it,? said Ottmann, who watched his son, Jake, place third at 215. ?We lost a lot of close matches that we have to win if we are going to get anywhere and be successful. I was a bit disappointed.
?But the parity in this tournament is amazing,? Ottmann said. ?All sorts of different schools have good kids and so its tough to have more champions - other than Loveland that looked very, very tough. Kudos to them. I?m proud of our kids as we did what it took to win the tournament, but we can wrestle better.?
Loveland, ranked No. 2 in 5A, showed they are going to be a force at state. The Indians crowned four champions led by the tournaments four-time winner, and three-time state champion Tyler Graff.
Graff improved to 22-0 when he defeated Roosevelt?s Dan Frank, 17-4, in their 130-pound match. Frank, ranked No. 1 in 3A and also a defending state champion, dropped to 21-2, both losses to Graff this season.
In one of the most exciting matches of the night, Loveland?s Josh Kreimier, ranked No. 1 in 5A, defeated Legacy?s Chris Wessel, ranked No. 5 at 119. However, it took a takedown with :02 remaining for Kreimier to escape with a 10-9 victory. Just eight seconds before, Wessel had scored on an escape to take what appeared to be a winning move for a 9-8 lead.
Loveland claimed its other titles at 189 and 215 pounds. The Indians Luke Vandenburg, ranked No. 2, defeated Tyson Anderson of Green River, Wyo., 9-3 at 189. Anderson was the only wrestler from out-of-state to reach the finals and he is ranked No. 1 at this weight in the Cowboy state.
Freshman Connor Medberry won the fourth title for Loveland when he defeated Joe Hochanadel of Fort Morgan 5-3 at 215.
Broomfield?s Cory Casady, also a defending state champion, won at 152 to claim his second Top of the Rockies crown. But it was by no means easy as the beat previously unbeaten Dietrick Turney of Brighton, 6-3.
?I was happy to win this one,? said Casady (24-3). ?We had a close one last year here that went into overtime in the semifinals. He?s a tough kid. A key was not getting flustered and just stay in there and play the game. I like winning tournaments and I was worried about winning this tournament.?
Only one other beside Graff was able to leave Centaurus with an unbeaten record intact. Conifer?s Tony Pena, ranked No. 1 at 103, defeated Fort Morgan?s Francisco Diego, 11-3, to improve to 26-0. Diego, ranked No. 3 in 4A, fell to 18-3.
Team results: Ponderosa 175, Alamosa 169, Northridge, 156, Loveland 156, Broomfield 154, Fort Morgan 137.5, Roosevelt 136, Greeley Central 110, Thompson Valley 91.5, Fort Lupton 91, Centaurus 86.5, Uintah, Utah 85, Northglenn 84, Conifer 73, Rocky Mountain 73, Longmont 71.5, Green River, Wyo. 70, Legacy 68.5, Pomona 66.5, Brighton 66, Grandview 64.5, Grand Junction Central 56, Cheyenne Central, Wyo. 55, Chaparral 48, Denver East 43, Pueblo South 42.5, Reedsports, Or. 41.5, Mountain View 34, Adams City 30.5, Arrupe Jesuit 20, Monte Vista 16, Thornton 14, Pueblo East 9.
Championship matches
103 - Tony Pena, Conifer, def. Francisco Diego, Fort Morgan, 11-3.
112 - Philip Grout, Northglenn, def. Jeremy Schmidt, Rocky Mountain, 4-0.
119 - Josh Kreimier, Loveland, def. Chris Wessel, Legacy, 10-9.
125 - Dale Shull, Fort Lupton, def. Dominic Valenzuela, Centaurus, 18-6.
130 - Tyler Graff, Loveland, def. Dan Frank, Roosevelt, 17-4.
135 - Nick Jones, Pomona, def. Jeremy Aguero, Pueblo South, injury default.
140 - Jake snider, Ponderosa, def. Rodney Hesse, Greeley Central, 5-1.
145 - Justin Gonzales, Northridge, def. Ryan Bratton, Northglenn, 3-0.
152 - Cory Casady, Broomfield, def. Dietrick Turney, Brighton, 6-3.
160 - Patrick Gomez, Northridge, def. Danny Mitchell, Legacy, 8-4.
171 - Cody Yohn, Alamosa, def. Brice Wolf, Greeley Central, 8-3.
189 - Luke Vandenburg, Loveland, def. Tyson Anderson, Green River, Wyo., 9-3.
215 - Connor Medbery, Loveland, def. Joe Hochanadel, Fort Morgan, 5-3.
285 - Tim Saucedo, Northridge, pinned Kyle Graulas, Fort Morgan, 2:42.
Third place matches
103 - Jerry Huff, Broomfield, def. Matthew Gurule, Grand Junction Central, 4-3.
112 - Jesse Meis, Alamosa, def. Gabe Gomez, Broomfield, 8-3.
119 - Dalton Kelley, Alamosa, def. Travis Himmelman, Conifer, 10-1.
125 - Vincente Gallegos, Arrupe Jesuit, def. Zeke Hofer, Ponderosa, 5-4.
130 - Samuel Soto, Fort Morgan, def. Creedon Merkley, Uintah, Utah, 12-9.
135 - Saul Guerrero, Fort Lupton, def. Scott Schaeffer, injury default.
140 - Scott Soto, Fort Morgan, def. Easton Ramirez, Northridge, 9-5.
145 - Daniel Kelly, Ponderosa, def. Eric Mortensen, Broomfield, 2-0.
152 - Drake Huggans, Northridge, def. Brandon Montoya, Roosevelt, 6-3.
160 - Johnny Ortega, Thompson Valley, def. Garrett Lanham, Centaurus, 4-2.
171 - Jacob Terada, Northglenn, def. Nathan Heuer, Roosevelt, 6-3.
189 - Davi Martinez, Alamosa, pinned Mike Dellatto, Thompson Valley, 2:25.
215 - Jake Ottmann, Ponderosa, def. Blake Steiert, Mountain Vista, 3-2.
285 - Cody Gilmore, Grandview, def. Taylor Stam, Ponderosa, 4-1.