GV’s AJ Serna wins 3A state wrestling title at 120 pounds
This year, Grand Valley senior wrestler AJ Serna wouldn’t be denied.
Wrestling in his second straight 3A state championship match, Serna clinched his first state championship Saturday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver with a 5-4 decision win over Lamar’s Ethan Andrade.
Trailing 4-3 with under 30 seconds left in the match and staring down a second straight heartbreaking loss in the final, Serna scored a takedown of Andrade with 23 seconds left before holding on for the 5-4 win, giving him the 120-pound state championship.
“I had to do what I had to do to win,” Serna said following the state championship match. “I knew I had some time to work with, so I took my time to set up the takedown. I had a plan, attacked it and got the takedown.
“This means so much to me; I started tearing up after winning. I worked so hard for this all year, so to know that all the hard work I put in has paid off means the world to me.”
The senior finishes the season 45-4 for the Cardinals and now adds a state championship medal to the long list of accolades during his time with the Grand Valley program.
Last season’s result was tough to deal with for Serna, but the added experience from last season’s state championship played a part in the senior coming out on top this season.
“He was more aware of those small, minute details this year,” Grand Valley Head Coach Clint Whitley said. “He also became much stronger and quicker this year.
“He continually fixed those small mistakes all season long. It’s just great to see all that work pay off for him.”