Three area wrestlers win opening round matches |

Three area wrestlers win opening round matches

DENVER – Medals are still within the grasp of all 10 of the area’s qualifiers at the state wrestling tournament. But, the quest to the medal round for seven of the grapplers has become harder.

In the Class 4A tournament, Jesse Long and Anthony Alfini of Rifle along with Grand Valley’s Jesse Neely in the Class 2A tourney have advanced to today’s championship quarterfinals.

The remaining seven grapplers, six from Rifle and Basalt’s Derrick McFarland in the 3A tournament have to battle back throught the elimination bracket for medals after suffering losses.

A second defeat by any of the area wrestlers who have dropped to the consolation matches will be out of the tournament.

Long, who will face Zach Broughton of Greeley Central in a 160-pound quarterfinal, earned a 6-3 decision over Aarick Wilson of Fountain-Fort Carson in the final minute of the third period with a tie-breaking point, followed by a two-point nearfall.

Alfini scored the only major decision of the eight Rifle wrestlers in the tournament on Thursday.

The senior, 171-pounder earned a technical fall over Mesa Ridge’s Joel Graff at the conclusion of the second period when his scored a three-point near fall.

Both Worley and Alfini’s quarterfinal opponents were unavailable at press time.

Throughout the postseason Neely continues to create history.

Last week, the Cardinal sophomore became the first-year program’s state qualifier.

On Thursday, Neely earned Grand Valley’s first state meet victory. Neely’s 47-second pinfall victory over Jason Trout of Merino was the second fastest pin of all matches in the weight.

This morning, Neely faces Jess Vialpando from Walsenberg John Mall High School in the 103-pound quarterfinals.

First-round losses places the remaining five area grapplers in the consolation bracket where a second loss eliminates them from the tournament.

Wrestlers involved in consolation matches on Friday include Rifle sophomore Eddie Kreimier, who draws Darin Martinez of Ranum. In Thursday’s first round the Bear 103-pounder dropped a 9-2 decision to Justin Morris of Pueblo South.

In the 112-pound division, Luke Wooten will attempt to rebound from Thursday’s 10-3 defeat to Widefield’s Brad Marquardt against Skyline sophomore Kenny Seaver.

After absorbing a tough 6-4 defeat to Nick Medina of Longmont, Rifle’s Cody Ward opens against Luis Guitterez from Denver Englewood in the 130-pound consolations.

David Suminski was pinned in the second period by Lewis-Palmer’s Ben Tibert on Thursday in a 140-pound match. The Rifle senior faces Andrew Cooper of Canon City in a consolation match.

Midway through his 152-pound match Kasey Dunlap held a 7-2 lead over Berthoud’s Mike Jeffery, by the end of regulation Jeffery forced the match to a 10-all overtime tie.

In the extra period, Jeffery gained a 12-10 win by scoring a takedown with 23 seconds left.

The loss puts Dunlap in the consolations against Alameda’s Rick Burgess.

In the 189-pound bracket Nick Worley was pinned by Aurora Hinkley’s Alex Buehrle in the first round.

Drew McFarland of Basalt, the area’s lone Class 3A competitor, lost his opening match on Thursday by a 17-0 technical fall decision to Brush’s Tyler Ferracini in the 135-pound bracket.

Faced with elimination after the loss, McFarland faces Rob McCarty from St. Mary’s this morning.

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