Glenwood’s Wilson, Grand Valley’s Serna win regional titles
For the second straight year, Grand Valley senior wrestler AJ Serna clinched a state tournament berth by winning the 3A Region 1 120-pound tournament. Along with Serna, Glenwood Springs senior Amos Wilson, the younger brother of former Glenwood star and current Iowa Hawkeye Myles, clinched a state tournament berth by winning the 3A Region 1 182-pound tournament.
Serna, who missed much of the season with an injury, returned to the mat in time for the regional tournament and promptly rolled through the 120-pound bracket for the Cardinals.
The standout senior, who will wrestle at Chadron State next season, started off the tournament with a bye before wrestling Olathe’s Dimitri Prisbery in the second round. Serna rolled to a 10-0 major decision win, before then defeating Alamosa’s Kasen Smith via decision, 9-5.
In the championship match, Serna cruised to a 5-1 decision win over Moffat County’s Dagan Smith, clinching a spot in the 3A state tournament next weekend, where he’ll attempt to win a second straight state championship at 120 pounds.
Wilson, who came into the regional tournament a perfect 45-0, pinned Bayfield’s Paden Williamson in 59 seconds in the first round, before then pinning Alamosa’s Zeke Rangel in 55 seconds, setting up a championship match with Montezuma-Cortez’s Swayde Noyes. Wilson stayed perfect, winning by decision, 8-2.
Aside from the two regional champions at the two-day tournament in Montrose, six other local wrestlers punched their ticket to the 3A state tournament on the day.
At 132 pounds, Glenwood senior Mathew Flores finished fourth in the tournament, securing the final spot in the state tournament.
The senior started off with a bye at the two-day tournament but then dropped his first match of the tournament to Isiaih Herod via decision, 10-9. Flores battled nearly all the way back though by pinning Gunnison’s Kaleb Vincent in 1:59 in the consolation bracket, before then defeating Rifle’s Cauy Smith by decision, 5-2. Flores then found himself in the third-place match against Olathe’s Elias Ramirez. Flores lost by decision, 4-2, but was able to grab the last spot in the top four to head to the state tournament.
Teammate Joaquin Garcia also earned a spot in the state tournament for the Demons, finishing fourth in the 138-pound weight class.
Garcia found himself up against Rifle’s Talon Cordova in the fourth-place match with a spot in the state tournament on the line. Against Cordova, Garcia won by rule after previously defeating Cordova via decision, 8-5, earlier in the tournament.
In the 145-pound weight class, Rifle saw Conrad Demann earn a spot in the state tournament, clinching fourth place by rule over Grand Valley’s Isaiah Tigert, whom Demann pinned in 58 seconds in the consolation side of the bracket. Demann opened the tournament with wins by fall in 41 seconds and a major decision (14-2) win before being pinned by Olathe’s Clay Yarnell in 2:44.
In the third-place match, Demann dropped a major decision (15-5) to Alamosa’s Hunter Smith but clinched fourth via rule over Tigert.
Closing out the tournament for local wrestlers that clinched state tournament spots, Rifle’s Alejandro Robles and Grand Valley’s Hayden Grice finished third and fourth in the 285-pound bracket.
Robles clinched third with a 6-4 decision win over Olathe’s Chase Sale in the third-place match, while Grice won the fifth-place match over Pagosa Springs’ Justin Baxstrom with a pin in 2:16, before then defeating Sale via major decision (12-0) in the fourth-place match, securing a spot in the state tournament.
Official 3A state tournament brackets will be released on Sunday afternoon, revealing official seedings and first-round matchups for the eight local wrestlers heading to the Pepsi Center next weekend.