Courier Sports Editor
GREELEY—The Centauri Falcons wrestling team had a strong showing in the 2012 Old Chicago Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament here on the campus of Northern Colorado in Greeley. The Falcons scored to a tie for seventh place in the team rankings with 170 points.
The No. 1 ranked team in Class 3A, according to Tim Yount’s On the Mat Rankings that were released on Friday morning, tied with the No. 5 ranked team in Class 4A, Thompson Valley. Pomona, the No. 1 ranked team in Class 5A, ran away with the team title by scoring 228 1/2 points. Broomfield took second with 214 1/2 points while Cheyenne East (Wyo.) finished in third with 211 1/2 points.
The Falcons did win the “Small School Trophy” because they were by far the top Class 3A or Class 2A school in the standings.
The Falcons had three wrestlers finish in the top three of their respective brackets, only sophomore Jareb Aziz earned an individual crown.
Aziz, the No. 2 ranked wrestler in Class 3A at 182 pounds, won that bracket. On the weekend, Aziz won six matches to improve his season record to 21-0. Aziz, who placed sixth at last year’s state championships, opened the tournament with a 1:36 pin over Broomfield’s Luke McAninch. His next match only took 21 seconds because he made quick work of Max Althouse of Palmer Ridge.
Aziz then got a 15-3 major decision over Alex Munoz of Prairie View. His matches got steadily harder because his quarterfinal match was a 4-3 decision over Kory Hudson of Bennett. His semifinal match was against Cheyenne East’s Christian Robinson. Aziz came out on top with a 5-2 decision to force a championship match with Joel Hernandez of Brighton.
Hernandez, who is the No. 4 ranked wrestler at 182 pounds in Class 5A, got an early lead before eventually falling 4-3 to Aziz.
The Falcons’ second placer was senior Micah Keys, who finished in second place in the 160-pound bracket. Keys, who was the 2011 state champion, entered the tournament with a 14-1 record and had a first-round bye.
The No. 1 ranked wrestler at 160 pounds, got his first win in the second round by pinning Palmer Ridge’s Adam Bryan in 1:46. Keys went on to get a technical fall, 19-4, over Kaiden Springsteen of Liberty. Key’s quarterfinal win was an 11-2 major decision over Josh McLaughlin, a senior at Thompson Valley. His final win of the tournament came in the semifinals when he captured a fall over Windsor senior Vinny Gonzales.
Archie Colgan, who entered the tournament with a 14-2 record and is the No. 1 ranked wrestler in Class 5A, defeated Keys, 7-1 in the championship match.
The final placer for the Falcons was the No. 1 ranked wrestler in Class 3A at 152 pounds, Jason Buhr. He finished in third place after suffering a loss in the semifinals of the 145-pound bracket.
Buhr, who entered the tournament with a 14-2 record, went on and won his first two matches by pin falls in identical times of 1:44. He captured a technical fall, 18-3 before getting a 17-4 major decision in the quarterfinals. He lost a hard-battled match to the No. 1 ranked wrestler in Class 5A, Phil Downing. He went on to be the tournament champion, after getting the 5-2 win over Buhr.
Buhr then moved down to the consolation bracket where he won two straight matches to capture third place.
In the other weight divisions, Patrick Esparsen went 3-2 in the tournament, winning the first match with a fall before losing and moving down to the consolation bracket. He then won two more matches before being eliminated at 113 pounds.
At 126 pounds, Ethan Coombs won the first two matches in the championship bracket. The first match was a pin in 2:54 before getting a 13-9 decision. He was defeated in his next match and forced down into the consolation bracket. He would get two decisions in his favor, 9-5 and 8-6, before he was eliminated.
Shane Wilson won his first match in the 138-pound bracket with a fall in 2:24 before being defeated 7-1. In the consolation, Wilson won his first match and was eliminated in the next.
Despite losing the first match of the 152-pound bracket, James Richardson won two matches, both by falls.
Jensen Hamilton won his first two matches at 170 pounds before losing his next two.
Tylan Pavolovsky lost his first match and then won two more in the consolations of the 195 bracket
At 120 pounds, Angelo Martinez went 0-2 and was eliminated quickly. Christopher Martin also lost two quick matches at 132. At 220 pounds, RJ Ruybal also went 0-2.
Greg Martinez rounded out the Falcons with a 2-2 record. Both of his wins were pins and his first one came in 16 seconds.