If you’re a fan of high school wrestling, you’re going to want to be at Doherty High School this weekend.
The 18th annual Colorado Springs Metro Wrestling Championships is set to kick off at 4:30 p.m. Friday as 26 area teams will compete in the two-day tournament at Doherty, battling for bragging rights in Colorado Springs.
“It’s an awesome opportunity for us as a team to be hosting this tournament and bringing all of the teams in this area to see who the best is,” Doherty coach Josh Galvan said. “It’s awesome to see the progression of the Colorado Springs area and the Metro league and how much better wrestling has gotten down here.”
Last year, Cheyenne Mountain won the program’s first city championship, breaking Pine Creek’s three-year winning streak at the Metro tournament.
But this year, there’s a chance another first-time winner will reign victorious.
Mesa Ridge's wrestling program is ranked fifth in the state in Class 4A, followed by Discovery Canyon in sixth, Cheyenne Mountain in ninth and Canon City rounding out the top 10.
Mesa Ridge has never won a Colorado Springs Metro title and Discovery Canyon won once in 2013.
“It’s amazing to have teams like Mesa Ridge, Cheyenne Mountain, Discovery Canyon here,” Galvan said. “We have top, top competition coming here to this tournament and when you have teams like that, and add teams like Coronado, it’s going to be a battle and it’s going to test these wrestlers, but it’s going to be a great way to prepare for their regional and state tournaments.”
Five area individual champions return to the yearly tournament, including Doherty’s Maverick Keigher, who won the 132-pound class a year ago, but will compete at 138 in 2018 and is ranked No. 3 in his class.
Air Academy’s Jason Hanenberg won the 126 crown last year and is ranked No. 1 at 132 in Class 4A. Pine Creek’s Garrett Niel will return to the mat after his 170 triumph a year ago, but this time at 182, ranking at No. 2 in Class 4A.
Coronado’s KJ Kearns moved up from 138 to 145 in the offseason and is looking for his second straight Metro title.
In addition to returning talent from last year, two area wrestlers are ranked tops in the state in their respective weight classes and look to make a splash this weekend. Mesa Ridge's Elijah Valdez is the No. 1 Class 4A wrestler at 152 and will look for his first Metro title, along with Deonte Bridges of Cheyenne Mountain, who is No. 1 at 220, and enters the tournament undefeated.
Mesa Ridge’s Dom Fini (220), Lewis-Palmer’s Tanner Hunt (113), Kevin Hooks (152) and Mike McFadden (145) of Cheyenne Mountain all placed second last year, and return to the tournament with some of the best records in the area and a championship in mind.
COS METRO AT A GLANCE:
Event data: Championships held at Doherty High School starting Friday at 4:30 p.m. Day 1 competition will conclude at 10 p.m. Day 2 will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. with the championship finals at 6 p.m.
Media: Follow @ChhunSun, @HughJohnson707 and @LindseySquints for updates throughout the weekend. And make sure to check out the Gazette Preps custom Snapchat Geofilter all weekend at Doherty High School.
Teams attending: Air Academy, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado Springs Christian, Coronado, Deaf and Blind School, Discovery Canyon, Doherty, Falcon, Fountain-Fort Carson, Harrison, Lewis-Palmer, Liberty, Manitou Springs, Mesa Ridge, Mitchell, Palmer, Palmer Ridge, Peyton, Pine Creek, Rampart, Sand Creek, Sierra, The Classical Academy, Vista Ridge, Widefield, and Woodland Park.
History: Cheyenne Mountain won its first team Colorado Springs Metro championship title in 2017 with 221 points, beating second-place Coronado by seven points. The Indians dethroned Pine Creek, which had won the previous three Metro championships dating back to 2014.
Stat leaders: (Based on records listed on TrackWrestling.com) 106 - Brendan Johnston, The Classical Academy (21-2); Kenneth Crosby, Falcon (16-3), Jett Strickenberger, Discovery Canyon (16-3); 113 - Tanner Hunt, Lewis-Palmer (25-4), Aidan Johnston, The Classical Academy (16-3); 120 - Devin Lueck, Mesa Ridge (20-4), Patrick Allis, Discovery Canyon (14-2); 126 - Angel Flores, Coronado (24-6), Jaden Porreco, Discovery Canyon (13-3), Taylor Vasquez, Fountain-Fort Carson (21-6); 132 - Jason Hanenberg, Air Academy (14-2), Dylan Hailey-Owens, Palmer (21-3), Brad Lohse, James Irwin (11-3); 138 - Maverick Keigher, Doherty (27-4), Keyon Burris, Vista Ridge (11-3); 145 - Tony Llamido, Doherty (19-3), Kevin Johnson, Mitchell (18-1), Mike McFadden, Cheyenne Mountain, (20-3), KJ Kearns, Coronado (27-3); 152 - Elijah Valdez, Mesa Ridge (23-1), Zack Szostak, Doherty (23-4), Kevin Hooks, Cheyenne Mountain (23-3); 160 - Taaron LaFrancis, Mitchell (11-2), Caleb Sherrill, Falcon (20-6), Jack Mann, Doherty (22-8), Brady Badwound, Air Academy (12-4); 170 - Kaleb LaFrancis, Mitchell (12-2), Ben Long, Widefield (17-4); 182 - Nathan Johns, The Classical Academy (19-2), Garrett Niel, Pine Creek (24-4); 195 - Jared Volcic, Mesa Ridge (20-3), Nathan Daniel, Widefield (18-2); 220 - Miles Payton, Mitchell (17-0), Deonte Bridges, Cheyenne Mountain (12-0), Dominick Fini, Mesa Ridge (22-1); 285 - Michael True, Mesa Ridge (18-5)