DENVER — Jose Prado didn’t want to be left behind, especially when each of his Rifle High School teammates wrestling in the Class 4A State Championships on Thursday had already won their first-round matches.
“I just wanted to make sure I did what all of my seniors did,” the Rifle junior heavyweight said. “They all made it to the championship round today. So the way I looked at it, I figured, ‘Why can’t I?’”
Prado capped a stellar night for the Bears, as all three of the Rifle wrestlers who competed at the Pepsi Center on Thursday moved past the first round. That included Prado, 195-pound senior Clayton Coombs and senior 132-pounder Dallas Rohrig.
Throw in a pair of victories by Glenwood freshman Myles Wilson (138) and senior Justin Barham (160), and every area kid who competed in the 4A tournament advanced.
“Wow,” Rifle coach John Wisniewski said. “It sure was a great day, wasn’t it?”
Wisniewski was speaking of his team, as each of the wrestlers netted only third-place finishes at the 4A Region 4 tournament in Montrose last weekend. Now, each of them are still alive for a state title.
“Wouldn’t that be great to shock everyone like that?” Prado said.
Prado netted an 8-2 decision over Billy Dabney of Cheyenne Mountain, using a body slam takedown in the second period to take an initial lead before pulling away in the third period. Coombs had a much easier time, pinning Dillon Dreher of Northridge in 1 minute, 50 seconds. And like Prado, Rohrig pulled away in the third period for a 6-1 win over Lewis Palmer’s Joey Newmann.
The Class 4A championship quarterfinals will take place at 1 p.m. today at the Pepsi Center, with the first round of consolation matches taking place immediately following. State semifinal matches are scheduled for 7:15 p.m. today.
Wilson bumped his overall record to 43-2 with his 8-1 victory over W.D. Arnold of Weld Central. After a scoreless first period, Wilson was able to reverse Arnold, put him on his back and score a three-point nearfall for what turned out to be an insurmountable 6-1 cushion.
“I took my time,” Wilson said. “I would rather go through a first period without scoring than let the other guy score on me.”
Barham ended up having a back-and-forth match with Christopher Shriver of Fort Morgan, whom he beat, 4-3. Shriver, however, had the upper hand after an escape and a takedown in the second period gave him a 3-2 lead.
Barham then opened the third period’s scoring with a takedown and, even though he couldn’t turn Shriver on his back like he wanted to, wore him out enough to prevent him from scoring.
“My goal coming into this was to win the first one,” said Barham, whose record improved to 36-5. “From here on out, it’s just fun, and I’m going to take this as far as I can.”