Cherokee Trail never had an individual state wrestling champion prior to the state wrestling tournament Feb. 20-22 at the Pepsi Center.
The Cougars wrapped up the Class 5A portion of the meet with two state champions and came close to having three.
Meanwhile, Ponderosa finished third in the team standings behind champion Pomona and second-place Rocky Mountain.
And, Regis Jesuit junior Antonio Segura captured his second state title to highlight the top performances by area wrestlers.
Sophomore Derek Glenn Jr. will go down as Cherokee Trail’s first state champion as he downed Freddie Sanchez of Grandview, 4-2, in the 106-pound championship match. Sam Hart added a second Cougars state title when he won the 220-pound crown with a 4-2 victory over Brighton’s Dylan BravoParker, which wrapped up a 42-0 season for the junior.
Senior Julian Williams had a chance to be the school’s third individual state champion, but he was dealt a 5-2 title confrontation loss to Columbine’s Zach Schrader at 285 pounds in one of the final matches of the state tournament.
Glenn gained revenge over Sanchez for a 3-1 loss in Centennial League dual meet action. He used a third-period takedown and held on for the victory, which gave him a 38-6 record for the season.
He didn’t qualify for the state tournament last season and he said it felt good to beat Sanchez.
“And I feel good to be the school’s first state champion,” he said.
Cherokee Trail had 10 state qualifiers, the most in school history, and Hart credits his teammates for inspiring his undefeated season. The Cougars were fourth in the team standings.
“I’m grateful to all my teammates for making me work hard,” said Hart. “We are always pushing each other. It was a great environment and that helped me accomplish this. We always pushed each other. We were one of the hardest working groups of kids in the state.”
Segura faced Legacy’s Joey Joiner once again for the state 145-pound title but instead of a one-point win like he recorded in 2019, he used takedowns to post a 10-7 decision over Joiner to end with a 47-5 record for the season.
He came out aggressive in his finals duel against Joiner and wound up with back-to-back state title triumphs.
“This one feels better,” said Segura. “It was a repeat. I felt confident and ready to go in the match. I wrestled well in the tournament. I had really good matches in the first two rounds. In the semis I had a bit of a scare (8-7 decision over Adams City’s Joshua Deaguero) but I was ready to go in my finals match. I had a close match last year (against Joiner) and I felt I was going to put it on him this year and prove last year wasn’t a fluke.
“I was grateful for the opportunity. I can remember as a little kid watching the state finals and thinking, man, that could be me someday.”
In other significant matches involving wrestlers from south metro area schools, Ponderosa freshman Jacob Bostelman lost his third place match to Thornton’s Chris Moreno when he was pinned in 2:13.
Murphy Menke, a Ponderosa sophomore, defeated Pomona’s Elijah Olguin, 3-2, in the 120-pound third-place match and Douglas County junior Max Black finished strong with a 16-6 win over Adams City’s to wind up third in the 126-pound bracket.
Ponderosa’s Jaron Mahler was the 132-pound runner-up, while Douglas County junior Victor Madrid was third and Cherry Creek’s Max Franz defeated Alejandro of Grandview in the match for fifth place.
Junior Ivan Morris of Douglas County lost a 4-3 decision to Kolten Strait of Rocky Mountain in the third-place match at 138 pounds, while Aidan Lenz of Pondo defeated Presley Pilgrim of ThunderRidge, 10-4, in the wrestle-off for fifth place.
Ponderosa sophomore Karter Johnson was fourth at 152 pounds , Ed Hamilton of Valor Christian finished sixth at 170 pounds and TJ LaFrancis of Arapahoe was sixth at 182 pounds.
Brock Schilling of Douglas County rolled to a 12-0 win over Douglas County’s Phillip Wandruff in the third-place duel at 195 pounds. To wrap up the 220- and 285-pound classes, Kyle Hanson of Highlands Ranch was fourth at 220 and Tyler Doyle of ThunderRidge finished fourth at 285 pounds.
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