Alamosa sophomore and 106-pounder Tel Kelley advanced in the tournament on Friday morning with a 17-2 technical fall over Grand Valley’s Cody Pfau. Pfau made history on Thursday night as the only female in State wrestling tournament history to win a match to advance to the championship side of the bracket.
Courier photo by Eric R. Flores
Courier Sports Editor
DENVER—The Alamosa Mean Moose are cruising down the right highway and are on their way to their third straight Class 3A State tournament. After Day 2, Alamosa sits in first place.
After the dust settled on Friday night here at the Pepsi Center where 13, 824 fans converged to watch the state’s top grapplers, Alamosa held a 118 1/2 points while the nearest team, Bennett sat 20 1/2 points behind with 97 team points. Centauri sat in third place with 85 1/2 points. Monte Vista ended Friday night with 33 1/2 points and sit in 16th place.
In Class 2A, the Paonia Eagles are flocking away with the team victory as they sit in first place with 142 1/2 points. The highest Valley team is Del Norte as they sit in fourth place with 79 points. Center sits in 18th place with 28 points.
Friday morning started with a flurry of matches as San Luis Valley wrestlers occupied five of the ten mats available and one of the most intriguing matches pitted Alamosa sophomore Tel Kelley against Grand Valley senior Cody Pfau.
Pfau made history on Thursday night as she became the first girl in the 74-year history of the tournament to win a match on the championship side of the match when she defeated Florence senior Ferdinando Martinez with a 6-5 decision. Last season Pfau made history by winning the first match by a female wrestler in a consolation match.
In the quarterfinal match, an early reversal by Pfau was all she could score and Kelly dominated the rest of the match and he got a 17-2 technical fall.
Another huge match for the Mean Moose came at 138 pounds with Alamosa senior Brandon Heredia defeated the No. 2 seeded Brandon Coleman of Salida. The match was a closely contested match but a takedown in the final 15 seconds of the match helped them seal a 10-5 decision to advance to the semifinals.
One of the better matches was the 182 pound match between Aziz and Buena Vista’s Koby Close. With less than ten seconds left, Close was hit with a stalling point to tie the match in which Aziz was able to win with a quick takedown in sudden death overtime. The Buena Vista Head Coach was irate and that forced the official to take away a team point.
In class 2A, the day did not start off on the right foot as Antonito’s Scotty Vigil did not meet weight at the 7 a.m. weigh ins and was disqualified from his match and eliminated before action even began.
After the morning quarterfinals and first round of consolations, of the 55 athletes who made it to state from the Valley, 37 were still alive. 16 wrestlers, 11 from 3A and 5 from 2A, were still vying for state titles and 21 wrestlers, 10 from 3A and 11 from 2A, were in the consolations.
Alamosa took an 8-point lead into the evening’s semifinal as they led 70 1/2 points. They led Valley, who was sitting with 62 1/2 points. Centauri sat in fourth place with 44 1/2 points while Monte Vista was tied for 15th place with 20 points.
In the 2A ranks, Del Norte led the Valley teams with 41 points in sixth place. Center sat in a 4-way tie for 15th place with 25 points.
In the third round of consolation, 13 wrestlers were eliminated while eight advanced. Class 3A wrestlers went 5-5 while Class 2A wrestlers went 3-8.
Advancing in Class 3A were Centauri’s Patrick Esparsen (106), Centauri’s Ethan Coombs (126), Centauri’s Christopher Martin (132), Monte Vista’s Austin Vance (160) and Alamosa Pablo Villarreal (220). The 2A advancers were Center’s Jose Chavez (106), Antonito’s Noah Trujillo (126), who ironically earned a 4-point play with back points and Sargent’s Zach Morgan (220).
In the 3A semifinals, Alamosa’s Kelley, who is ranked No. 1 defeated No. 2 ranked Channing Lewis, 9-2 to advance to the finals. Monte Vista’s Diondre Garcia, ranked third in Class 3A also won his match with a 9-3 decision over Colby Duncan to set up an all-Valley championship match, the first of the tournament. Garcia will be attempting to improve upon his second place finish last year.
Alamosa was able to advance their next wrestler as senior Neff Malouff defeated Olathe’s Trenton Piatt 10-6. He will wrestle Levi Maes of Sheridan. Maes carries a 47-2 record entering the night.
Things got interesting at 132 pounds as Alamosa senior Kole Kelley worked a hard match with Jacob Solseth of Olathe. The match ended up going into an overtime period. In the sudden death period, Kelley and Solseth wrapped up and as it appeared Solseth was going for a takedown, Kelley attempted to go for his own. The move Kelley implemented gave the appearance to the official that he was down and Solseth was awarded the takedown.
“Kole’s match was a really poorly ref’ed match he should have won and it cost him a trip to the finals,” said Alamosa Head Coach Gary Ramstetter after Friday’s action. “I’m real mad about it.”
Heredia was defeated 3-2 in the 138-pound semifinal.
At 145 pounds, the Valley went 1-1. Alamosa’s Dillon Vance was pinned in 1:51 while Centauri’s Jason Buhr got an 18-4 to advance to the title. Buhr will clash with No. 2 seeded Joe Boyle of Hotchkiss.
Centauri senior Micah Keys needed 4:44 to pin Hunter Bell of Bennet but he did and he will face No. 2 seeded Tayler Maik of La Junta on Saturday night. He will be going for his second title in three years. Keys won the title in 2011 before he was defeated by Alamosa’s Ty Curtis in last year’s championship match.
At 182 pounds, Aziz got a pin over No. 1 seed Riley Jones in 2:26 while Alamosa’s Gunner Robinson pinned Bennet’s Kory Hudson in 5:20. The two will clash for the third time this season, this time for the state championship. Robinson won the last two matches between the two with the first coming in the final seconds while last week’s coming via fall.
At 195, Alamosa’s Nick Jones got some revenge. He was able to down Valley’s Austin Romos with a 17-7 major decision. Romos defeated Jones at the Top of Rockies Tournament earlier this season. Jones, who wasn’t even picked to place in Tim Yount’s On the Mat rankings entering the tournament, will take the match against No. 1 seeded Thane Smith.
“Jones wrestled real well so did Tel and Neff, It’s going to be tough to catch us now,” said Ramstetter of the team race. “We have tough kids in the bottom of the bracket.”
In the Class 2A matches, Del Norte’s Brennan Pacheco was defeated 11-1 as was pushed down to the consolations. Center Jose Macias was also defeated in a pin.
Del Norte did advance three wrestlers as Shawn Beiriger defeated Devon Denton at 152 pounds and Austin McDonald defeated CJ Leonhardt at 160 pounds. The two won with pins in almost identical times of 5:11 and 5:12, respectively. 170-pounder Tharen Smith nabbed a win over Derrick Richard. This is Smith’s first trip to the state tournament and as a senior he has made it to the title match.
Beiriger will face the defending state champion in Tray Sickles of Nucla.
McDonald will face Meeker’s TJ Sheldon while Smith will face Tyler Sharpe.
“These three young men want it so bad; they have worked at it all year long, they did it for themselves I am extremely proud of them” said Del Norte Head Coach Dan Roesch after Friday night’s action. “They are confident now and they have to finish it out how they want to. I’m extremely proud of my team.”
The third round of consolations will open up the final day of the championship on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. consolation semifinals will immediately follow.
The fifth place matches will start at 2 p.m. and the third place matches will immediately follow.
Finals will begin after the Parade of Champions at 6:30 p.m.