The best state tournament in high school sports in Colorado kicks off Thursday and concludes Saturday when the state wrestling tournament begins at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Here’s a look at one wrestler from the Pikes Peak region at each of the 14 weight classes hoping to leave LoDo with a state title.
106 – Patrick Allis, Discovery Canyon, so., 30-6.
It’s not a terrible thing when you fall to the top-ranked wrestler in your class at regionals. That’s what happened to Allis last week, as he lost to No. 1 Brendon Garcia (Pueblo County) by decision, 8-4 in the 4A Region 1 final. Allis has a good chance to get to the state final and see a rematch with Garcia.
113 – Stephen Dabelko, Coronado, sr., 34-1.
With just one loss, Dabelko looks like the one to beat in the 5A division. On the Mat had him ranked No. 2 heading into last week’s regionals (he won the 5A Region 4 title) behind only Justin Pacheco of Pomona. The two wouldn’t meet until the final.
120 – Collin Metzgar, Doherty, sr., 37-8.
Metzgar is coming off a second-place finish at 5A Region 1 following a loss in the final to No. 1 Colton Yapoujian. Metzgar is likely looking at a showdown with Mountain Range’s Louie Romero, who tops the 5A bracket, in the second round. Romero was ranked No. 4 last week, and Metzgar No. 3.
126 – Jason Hanenberg, Air Academy, jr., 40-2.
Topping the 4A bracket, Hanenberg comes off last week’s 4A Region 1 title, his fifth tournament title of the season. He was the state runner-up a season ago.
132 – Maverick Keigher, Doherty, jr., 36-9.
Keigher entered last week’s regional ranked No. 3 by On the Mat. The COS Metros champ took third at the region or he would’ve had an easier state road. As it is, he has good chance to reach the semifinals.
138 – KJ Kearns, Coronado, so., 36-5.
Kearns has a big opening match with Doherty’s Zack Szostak. If the Cougars sophomore can get past that, he’ll have a chance at a semifinals appearance.
145 – Britton Holmes, Peyton, sr., 37-2.
The defending 2A 138-pound champ hasn’t missed a beat this season. He has four tournament titles, including last week’s 2A Region 4 championship, in which he pinned his first three opponents before scoring a 7-0 decision in the final.
152 – Luke White, Cheyenne Mountain, sr., 22-6.
White already got a taste of a tough bracket when he fell in the finals of last week’s 4A Region 3 final to second-ranked Nathan Morris of Longmont in a sudden victory. If both keep winning, Morris and White wouldn’t meet until the final. But White could see No. 1 Hunter Willits (Pueblo County) in the semifinals.
160 – Peter Isais, Pine Creek, sr., 28-3.
Last season’s 5A 160 champ has been dominant again. He has four tournament titles this season, including last week’s 4A Region 3 crown. A return to the state title match looks like a strong possibility.
170 – Garrett Niel, Pine Creek, jr., 42-2.
Another defending 5A champ wrestling at 4A, Niel won the crown at 182 last season. This year, he already has five tournament titles to his name, including the Rocky Welton Invitational in Garden City, Kan., last month. No surprise, Niel was ranked No. 1 by On the Mat. He could see No. 2 EJ Barrera of Grand Junction-Central in the semifinals.
182 – Jimmy Weaver, Coronado, sr., 37-1.
Weaver has six tournament crowns already this season and is a favorite to make the 5A state tournament his seventh. Three of Weaver’s four wins at 5A Region 4 were pins.
195 – Deric Cruz, Mesa Ridge, sr., 33-9.
Cruz won last season’s 4A state championship. He’s back for another but hit a roadblock last week, falling to Palisade’s Terrance Williams in the 4A Region 4 finale. Williams was ranked No. 3 by On the Mat, but at 182 pounds. He beat Cruz by decision 9-2.
220 – Dominick Fini, Mesa Ridge, jr., 34-4.
The 4A Region 4 winner has three tourney titles and three second-place titles to his name this season – including a runner-up at the prestigious Old Chicago Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament. He also took third at last year’s state meet.
285 – Julian Sanchez, Manitou Springs, sr., 30-3.
Ranked No. 4 in last week’s poll, Sanchez comes in off the 3A Region 4 title where he scored a pair of pins. Sanchez reached the semifinals before settling for fourth last season.
• All rankings are according to last week’s On the Mat Rankings by Tim Yount. All records and tournament results are according to trackwrestling.com.