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We're taking a team-by-team look at the Patriot League's regional wrestling campaigns

The girls swimming and diving season is in the books, but the wrestling and basketball seasons are ju
The Playbook
We're taking a team-by-team look at the Patriot League's regional wrestling campaigns
By The Playbook • Issue #56 • View online
The girls swimming and diving season is in the books, but the wrestling and basketball seasons are just starting to heat up.
We’ll have more on basketball in the coming issues, but today’s issue is dedicated to wrestling.
Specifically, we’ll take a team-by-team look at the Patriot League’s nine programs that will compete in regional tournaments in various parts of the state this Friday and Saturday.
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The Patriot League's team-by-team regional wrestling breakdown
By Bobby Fernandez, bfernandez@patriotplaybook.com
In many ways, this weekend’s regional tournaments can be even more nerve-racking than the state tournament. If you have a bad day, you may not even get the chance to wrestle under the bright lights of Denver’s Pepsi Center during the state tournament next week.
Four wrestlers from each weight class at each of the four regional tournaments advance to fill out 16-wrestler brackets at state next week.
Here’s a look at each of the nine Patriot League teams that will compete in regional tournaments this Friday and Saturday.
Region 2 at Platte Valley HS
Estes Park Bobcats
A year ago as a freshman, 106-pounder Elijah Kitchen was the only Estes Park wrestler to come out of regionals with a state tournament berth. History could very well repeat itself.
The Bobcats have just four full-time varsity wrestlers — Kitchen, senior 145-pounder Ian Donaghy, sophomore 152-pounder Obadiah Jones and sophomore 182-pounder Ray Mitchell.
Kitchen is the only Estes Park wrestler in the regional that is ranked in his respective weight class by the On The Mat statewide rankings.
Ranked No. 13, he’ll have to contend in this regional with No. 8 Angel Rios from Valley and No. 17 Casteus Combs of Sterling for a regional title.
Platte Valley's Jayden Wertz grapples with Hinkley's Martin Renteria in a heavyweight match Dec. 14 at the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament on Dec. 14 at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. (Photo by Joshua Polson)
Platte Valley's Jayden Wertz grapples with Hinkley's Martin Renteria in a heavyweight match Dec. 14 at the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament on Dec. 14 at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. (Photo by Joshua Polson)
Platte Valley Broncos
The Broncos will be gunning for a half dozen state qualifiers and a top 5 team finish in this regional.
Junior 160-pounder Josh Yancey should be a near-lock to qualify for next week’s state tournament, and this regional will serve as a fine indicator of what it could take for him to win a state title next week.
He’s ranked fourth in his weight class by On The Mat. He’ll share this region with three other top-5 ranked wrestlers: Valley’s Jaziah Whaley, Bennett’s Mac Copeland and Fort Lupton’s Koby Galicia.
This is likely the most talent-laden weight class of this region and one of the most loaded weight classes of any regional tournament.
Senior 182-pounder Colton Moore is also a near-lock to earn a state berth, and he’s likely the favorite to win this regional.
Junior heavyweight Jayden Wertz would have to upset University’s Emanuel Munoz-Alcala to win this regional. But, like Yancey and Moore, it would be a surprise if Wertz didn’t earn one of the region’s four state berths.
Freshman 120-pounder Orrin Jackson, sophomore 152-pounder Jed Sidwell and sophomore 195-pounder Jeremiah Garcia should be right on the bubble.
Resurrection Christian Cougars
Like Estes Park, the Cougars don’t really have the numbers to contend in the team standings at this regional, and those modest numbers will likely become even more modest next week at state.
Resurrection Christian had just one state qualifier a year ago, then-senior 220-pounder Ryan Hecker.
With Hecker having moved on, the Cougars don’t really have anyone on their roster who is a sure bet to make it to state next week.
Freshman Eddie Lemos is probably Resurrection Christian’s best bet, at 132 pounds.
Sterling Tigers
The Tigers may be one of the biggest sleepers in this region and in 3A overall.
Sterling has six wrestlers who are near-locks to make it to state — sophomore 113-pounder Moises Rivas, junior 120-pounder Jeremiah DeLeon, senior 126-pounder Zach Loft, sophomore 132-pounder Riley Bornhoft, senior 138-pounder Isaac DeLeon and junior 220-pounder Drew Book. The Tigers have at least one more wrestler — freshman 106-pounder Casteus Combs — who is on the bubble.
Rivas, Loft and Book could bring home regional championships for Sterling, but they’ll be well challenged at this regional.
The Tigers should also be in the hunt for a top 3 finish in the region’s team standings.
A year ago, Sterling had seven state qualifiers and tied for 23rd in the team standings. The Tigers could surpass both of those marks this year.
Univesity's Emanuel Munoz-Alcala wrestles against Falcon's Jonathan Lozano in a heavyweight match in the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament on Dec. 14 at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. (Photo by Joshua Polson)
Univesity's Emanuel Munoz-Alcala wrestles against Falcon's Jonathan Lozano in a heavyweight match in the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament on Dec. 14 at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. (Photo by Joshua Polson)
University Bulldogs
A year ago, University was the only Patriot League team without a state qualifier.
There is almost zero chance of that happening again.
In fact, the Bulldogs very well could have a regional and state champion when the dust settles the season later this month.
Junior heavyweight Emanuel Munoz-Alcala is back and is one of the state’s top contenders after missing all of the season a year ago with a torn ACL, meniscus and MCL suffered during the fall football season.
In addition to Munoz-Alcala’s near certainty as a state qualifier, University’s small team could have a few other state qualifiers, notably senior 145-pounder Josh Anderson, junior 152-pounder Samuel Custer and sophomore 170-pounder Caden Meisner.
Valley's Jaziah Whaley grapples with Northglenn's Donovan Schrad in a 160-pound match Dec. 14 in the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament at the Budweiser events Center in Loveland. (Photo by Joshua Polson)
Valley's Jaziah Whaley grapples with Northglenn's Donovan Schrad in a 160-pound match Dec. 14 in the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament at the Budweiser events Center in Loveland. (Photo by Joshua Polson)
Valley Vikings
Valley is small but mighty. And, even with a roster of just nine full-time varsity wrestlers, the Vikings ares a big-time threat to win this regional, despite stiff competition from Fort Morgan, Berthoud and Sterling.
This will likely be the last tournament this winter that Valley has a realistic chance of winning, as the Vikings probably won’t have the numbers at state next week to contend with the likes of Alamosa and Eaton.
Still, the wrestlers Valley sends to state next week should be of high quality.
Five of the Vikings wrestlers could emphatically punch their tickets to state with regional championships: junior 106-pounder Angel Rios, sophomore 132-pounder Zach Brown, sophomore 138-pounder Isaiah Rios, freshman 152-pounder Colin Brown and junior 160-pounder Jaziah Whaley.
Though arguably not quite the same level of regional championship contender, Valley’s sophomore 113-pounder Javan Valdez, junior 120-pounder D.J. Matthews and junior 126-pounder Noah Damian all have strong odds of making it to state.
Region 3 at Jefferson HS in Edgewater
Eaton Reds
Despite the presence of other 3A heavy hitters Jefferson and Eagle Valley, this tournament should provide Eaton an opportunity to flex its muscles as a formidable tournament team.
The Reds could easily walk away with three regional champions in senior 138-pounder Dylan Yancey, senior 170-pounder Ty Garnhart and senior heavyweight Jeremy Murano.
It’s also not hard to imagine Eaton with double-digit state qualifiers, as junior 106-pounder Armando Munoz, senior 113-pounder Toby Gavette, senior 152-pounder Jackson Contreras, senior 182-pounder Judson Church, junior 195-pounder Logan Bean and sophomore 220-pounder Tanner True are all strong bets to qualify.
Gavette’s bracket will be a particularly interesting one to keep an eye on. Gavette comes in ranked fifth by On The Mat. He shares this region with No. 2 Angelo Lozado of Jefferson, No. 3 Kris Kramer of Elizabeth and No. 4 Noah Linares of Mullen.
Eaton's Toby Gavette lifts Lewis-Palmer's Skyler Hunt off the ground in a 113-pound match Dec. 14 at the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. (Photo by Joshua Polson)
Eaton's Toby Gavette lifts Lewis-Palmer's Skyler Hunt off the ground in a 113-pound match Dec. 14 at the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. (Photo by Joshua Polson)
Strasburg Indians
A year ago, Strasburg qualified one wrestler for state, then-senior Levi Raines.
The Indians again may have just one state qualifier — junior 220-pounder Chad Sutherland, and even he may be on the bubble in a tough bracket.
Also, don’t count out sophomore Spencer Nuttall at 113 pounds and sophomore Blake Coombs at 170 pounds.
Brush senior Wyatt Pfau
Brush senior Wyatt Pfau
Region 4 at Pueblo Central HS
Brush
None of the Patriot League’s nine wrestling teams will travel as far as Brush has to for its regional.
Fortunately for the Beetdiggers, they should make the trip worthwhile with more than half a dozen state qualifiers and a legitimate chance at regional team championship.
Senior 145-pounder Oswaldo Nunez, senior 170-pounder defending state champion Wyatt Pfau and junior 182-pounder Nick Wellen are strong bets to win regional titles.
Brush could further bolster its state tournament brigade with the likes of senior 195-pounder Thomas Mettlen, junior 120-pounder Erick Urbina and freshman 113-pounder Diego Hernandez.
The Notebook: News and notes from around the league
Schaefer signs with Sheridan
After her stellar senior season for the University volleyball program, Abby Schaefer has a lot more volleyball in her future.
On Tuesday, she signed with Sheridan (Wyoming) College, a Region IX junior college.
This past fall for the Bulldogs (24-5), Schaefer was second on the team in kills with 303 and first in digs with 516.
University Bulldogs
Congrats Abby Schaefer NLI for volleyball at Sheridan College. https://t.co/KdXcn6we6m
9:38 AM - 12 Feb 2019
Blazing start
The Eaton boys basketball team capped its regular season in emphatic fashion Tuesday.
The Reds had one of the most explosive first quarters of the season by any Patriot League team.
En route to a 96-46 win against Liberty Common, Eaton led 33-16 after the first quarter.
In fact, the Reds scored 20 or more points in three of four quarters, including 28 or more twice.
Eaton finished the regular season 7-3 in league, 12-7 overall, locking up the fourth-place spot in the 11-team league.
The Scorebook: Your daily results
Tuesday
Boys basketball
Platte Valley 59, Brush 42
Eaton 96, Liberty Common 46
Resurrection Christian 90, Estes Park 48
Strasburg 63, Frontier Academy 58
University 80, Valley 66
Girls basketball
Platte Valley 43, Brush 20
Eaton 48, Liberty Common 26
Resurrection Christian 63, Estes Park 30
Strasburg 54, Frontier Academy 20
Lutheran 73, Sterling 57
University 62, Valley 24
Coming up in Friday edition of The Playbook
  • The league/regular season is over in basketball. What does that mean?
  • We’ll take a look at the brackets for the boys and girls Patriot League district basketball tournaments and offer some predictions.
Thanks for reading! See you Friday!
Bobby Fernandez, The Playbook
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