Housed at the Pepsi Center on the floor on which the Denver Nuggets play, the Colorado High School State Wrestling Tournament ranks as one of the most well-attended and prestigious prep sporting events in Colorado.
Seven local wrestlers attended the three-day event Feb. 20-22 and turned in their fair share of solid performances.
Moore debuts at tournamentMancos High School sophomore Chase Moore competed in the 2A Classification’s 160-pound division and won two of his four matches.
In the opening round, when he dominated Swink High School’s Matthew Mendozain and won a 6-1 decision. Moore then faced off against Buena Vista High School’s Micah Hertrich in the quarterfinals and lost 9-3.
Still alive in the tournament’s consolation bracket, Moore pinned Limon High School’s Bradyn Tacha before bowing out of the tournament with a loss to Rangely High School’s Tytus Coombs.
This season, his first after he chose to play basketball last year, Moore won 33 of his 42 matches and established himself as a contender in the 2A classification.
Featherman wins half of matchesCapping a 33-17 season, Montezuma-Cortez High School junior Austin Featherman competed in the 3A Classification’s 126-pound division and won two of his four matches.
Squaring off Fort Lupton High School’s Jacob Duran, who went on to win the state title, Featherman lost by technical fall.
The M-CHS junior rebounded with a pin over Lamar’s Sergio Mendoza however and won a 12-8 decision over Sterling’s Seth Marick before bowing out of the tournament with a loss to Berthound’s Dalton Williams.
Martin and Abeyta gain valuable experience Although M-CHS junior Anthony Abeyta and Mancos junior Lot Martin look to use their experience next year.
Abeyta, who competed in the 3A classification’s 145-pound division, was pinned by Lamar High School’s Isaiah Baber and lost a tough 5-3 decision to Berthound’s LT Torres.
Martin was pinned by Holyoke High School’s Luis Chafino and Buena Vista’s Seth Moss in the 2A classification’s 170-pound division.
Sanders and Matthews cap freshman seasonsFinishing their first seasons in the rarified air of the Pepsi Center, Dove Creek freshman Jayden Sanders and Mancos freshman Ayden Matthews turned in solid performances.
Sanders was pinned twice, first to Lyons High School’s Christian Keller and then to John Mall’s Chris McKenna in the 2A classification’s 132-pound division. Matthews was pinned by Holyoke’s Luis Chafino and Buena Vista’s Seth Moss in the 2A classification’s 120-pound class.
With the losses, Sanders finished his season with a 13-24 record overall, and Matthews finished the year with a 26-17 record overall. Based on their performances this season, both young wrestlers appear primed to return to the state tournament next season.
Escarcega shows toughnessDolores senior Bryan Escarcega showed the grit and determination that made him one of the area’s most popular grapplers in recent seasons.
Competing in the 2A Classification’s 220-pound division, Escarcega battled through an injury before being pinned by Trinidad’s Jacob Armijo. Escarcega lost by injury default to Centauri’s Joseph Moreno in the first round of the consolation bracket.
With the two losses, the Dolores senior finished the season with a 30-15 record overall.