Demons post bronze finish at Denver South tournament
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
With Mike Mills and Justin Barham nailing down titles, the Glenwood Springs High School wrestling team finished third as a team at Saturday’s Denver South Rebel Invitational.
The Demons entered wrestlers in eight weight brackets and advanced seven to the championship semifinals. Led by Mills at 132 pounds and Barham at 145, all seven placed.
Taking second were Zak Stepniewski (120) and Brian Ochoa (heavyweight) and finishing third were Hector Chagoya (113), Edwin Meraz (126) and Ruben Chagoya (138).
With 138.5 points, Glenwood finished behind only Arapahoe (268) and Mead (190.5).
Mills won his finals match against Arapahoe’s Hoey Laratta. After a 2-all first period, Laratta chose down and Mills scored three early back points before exchanging reversals. Mills won the match with a pin at the 3 minute, 52 second mark.
Mills’ path to a title included a pin (5:56) of Westminster’s Francisco Moreno in the quarterfinals and a 9-2 win over Legacy’s Jay Holyman in the semis.
Barham won his first tournament at 145.
Down three after two periods in the quarters against Adams City’s Kyle Mayville, Barham chose down, scored an escape and then converted a takedown and scored late back points to pull out a 9-7 win.
In the semis, Barham met Ian Stinson from Mead. Barham put an early-season loss to Stinson behind him, dominating the match from start to finish. He was ahead 2-0 after one, 6-2 after two and cruised to win by major decision, 12-3.
Barham also scored bonus points in the final, defeating Harley Corte of Cherokee Trail, 12-2.
“Justin has been working hard in the practice room, and it is really starting to pay off,” Demons assistant coach Miles Cook said. “He looked like a totally different wrestler than we had out on the mat in December.”
Stepniewski gutted out a wild win in the quarterfinals to help carve his path to silver.
Facing David Collas of Vista Ridge, Stepniewski fell behind 9-6 after the conclusion of the first period.
Stepniewski chose down in the second period and scored a five-point move (reversal and three back points) to push ahead.
Collas chose neutral in the third, and Stepniewski again converted a five-point move, countering Collas’ takedown attempt and quickly stepping over to hold Collas on his back for the five count. Two late stall points for Stepniewski rounded out an 18-11 win for the Demon.
In the semis, Stepniewski drew Adams City’s Eli Deaguero, ending the match by pinfall at 5:06.
In the finals, Stepniewski lost to Arapahoe’s Nick Duquette, 12-1.
“We were highly encouraged by the way Zak wrestled all day, coming from behind in one very tough match, getting an early lead in others and maintaining it, and continuing to battle to the end in his final,” Cook said.
In the final match of the night, Ochoa was pinned by Nick Testroet of Mead at 3:42.
Ochoa reached the finals by defeating TreVaughn Hawkins of host Denver South by pin in 52 seconds and Arapahoe’s Isaac Prudhome in 1:19.
“Despite battling a nagging injury, Brian wrestled as well as we have seen him all season,” Cook said.
Hector Chagoya pinned Legacy’s Justin Rheinheimer in 2:53 on his path to 113-pound bronze at Denver South.
In the semifinals, Chagoya took an 8-6 lead over eventual tournament champ Austin Van Hooker of Mead. In the third period, Chagoya chose down and was caught in a cross-face cradle, getting pinned at 4:49.
Chagoya then battled back through the consolation bracket, defeating Cody Hesket of Mead by major decision (15-4) in the semis to earn a berth in the third-place match.
There, he ran into Ladarius Stubbs of Vista Ridge.
After a scoreless first period, Stubbs chose down in the second and quickly converted an escape.
Down 1-0 in the third, Chagoya chose down and also quickly escaped to tie the score at 1. With roughly 30 seconds remaining in regulation, Chagoya scored a match-winning takedown, riding Stubbs out for a 3-1 win.
“Hector did a great job of bouncing back after a tough loss,” Cook said.
Meraz won his third-place match after surrendering an early takedown. He went straight to his back, but rolled Vista Ridge’s Mike Collas through to come out on top. The suddenness of the finish made for an exciting match, Cook said.
“Edwin always wrestles hard from the first whistle to the last,” the coach added.
Earlier in the day, Meraz topped Santos Valtierra of Westminster, 8-6, and lost to Ridge View Academy’s Jorge Ferrelas, 4-0, in the semis. In the consolation bracket, Meraz defeated Randy Lomeli of Denver North, 8-4.
At 138, Ruben Chagoya’s opening match was with Kyle McNellis from Mead. Chagoya won handily by major decision, 15-3. He then dominated his quarterfinal match with Jayse Schipper of Kennedy, winning by technical fall at 4:57.
In the semifinals, Westminster’s Brian Matthew was too much to handle, topping Chagoya by a 9-3 count.
Chagoya’s 8-3 win in the consolation semifinals was closer than the final score suggested. In a rematch against a motivated McNellis, Chagoya wrestled to a 5-2 lead after two. He then scored three late points in the third to put the match away.
In the third-place match, Chagoya won a wild one over Juan Ibarra from Ridge View Academy, 15-13.
The score was tied at 5 after one period. The second period belonged to Chagoya, who scored five points to go up 10-7 after two. Both wrestlers scored a reversal and a near-fall in the third, and Chagoya hung on for the victory.
Rifle High School’s wrestlers won three of seven matches at the past weekend’s Bill Thoman Jr. Invitational, which was held in Green River, Wyo.
The Bears picked up dual wins over Centaurus (45-29), Moffat County (41-24) and Wyoming school Cheyenne Central (46-30). They suffered losses to Nebraska’s Scottsbluff (59-17) and Wyoming schools Torrington (54-18), Evanston (48-23) and Worland (51-21).
Isaac Rider had a big day for Rifle at 120 pounds, going 6-1 to lead the Bears in scoring with 33 points. At 182, Clayton Coombs cleaned up, going 5-2.
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