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Pine Creek healing at right time
Eagles send 9 to state
Things seem to be rounding into form for defending 5A state champion Pine Creek. After battling injuries all year the Eagles saw enough wrestlers make their way back to the mat in time to help dominate their regional tournament, beating Fountain-Fort Carson 230-178 Saturday at Doherty.
The Eagles, ranked seventh in Tim Yount’s latest On the Mat Rankings, put five wrestlers in the finals, winning three of those matches. In all, nine Eagles will make the trip to the Pepsi Center for the state championships starting Thursday.
“I think we wrestled better than anticipated,” Eagles coach Billy Gabel said, noting three individuals in particular, Tyrell Williams, Chase Frye and TJ Campbell.
“Those three individuals sort of catapulted the team. They beat higher-seeded people to get to (where they placed).”
Williams, who suffered a torn meniscus in December, won the 106 title. Campbell was runner-up at 160 and Frye finished fourth at 126 to qualify.
“It makes a statement,” Williams said. “It just shows that we’re here to fight and here to win.”
As expected, top ranked 138-pound senior Geordan Martinez led the way, dominating No. 2 Taylor Bergquist of Arvada West for a 9-1 decision. Martinez took Bergquist down just 4 seconds into the match to open the scoring and led 9-0 late in the third period.
He’ll continue to lead the way over the coming weekend, along with 145 champion Derrick Ortiz (No. 5) and 152 runner-up Alex Smith (No. 2).
“Regionals and state are a different season,” Martinez said. “Records don’t matter too much. We definitely have some guys that can pull through for us.”
Fountain-Fort Carson advanced seven, one shy of the school record set last year, including five finalists. Sophomore No. 2 Tracy Hancock used a late second-period takedown and a third-period reversal for a come-from-behind 7-6 decision in the 195 final.
Downey Wood (132, No.4), Nate Lightfield (170, No. 11), Cody Driver (180, No. 11) and Jacob Schoenberger (220, No. 10) all finished second.
Doherty qualified five for state with Brandon Supernaw (160, No. 4) and Ricky Mahan (182, No. 5) both winning their weight classes. But sophomore Jonathon Garcia (113) generated the most excitement for the Spartans.
Garcia placed fourth and won a wrestleback with a five-point takedown and near fall in overtime to crack the state bracket.
“I was hoping, but since I was seeded fifth I didn’t really expect to place any higher,” Garcia said. “It feels amazing. It feels great that I actually made it.”
Seniors George Troung (138, No. 15) and Ryan Pellow (145, No. 10) placed third and second, respectively, to earn state berths for Palmer. Senior Clark Jones, fourth at 195, is Rampart’s lone qualifier.