After not being able to defend his state title from his sophomore year in his junior season, Mountain Range heavyweight Jorge Rodriguez took back the 285-pound championship as a senior Feb. 22 at the Pepsi Center.
Rodriguez came into the match with only one loss all season at 44-1 and beat Chaparral’s Dane Drimmer (40-6) 5-0 in the final round to give him two high school state titles.
“It feels amazing,” Rodriguez said on the win. “I wouldn’t be here without my coaches and without the support I had these past four years. I want to give a special thanks to them. This wouldn’t be possible without them.”
In the first round, Rodriguez pinned Hinkley senior Tyler Manual (14-19) in 19 seconds. He pinned Coronado senior Joe Hunt (32-7) in quarterfinals and pinned Brighton senior Sam Jackson (34-14) in semifinals.
Rodriguez is planning on going to college after graduation, but is unsure of whether he will play football or continue with wrestling. Rodriguez said he will miss how much Colorado supports high school wrestling.
“It’s just amazing out here,” Rodriguez said of all the fans. “That’s probably the best thing I’m going to miss from all these experiences.”
Mountain Range sent six wrestlers to the state tournament and all six placed giving the Mustangs 68 points for eighth place.
Louie Romero (106) placed fourth after falling to Arvada West’s Cody Fatzinger 9-3. Kody Kleman (220) placed fifth when he beat Ryan Strabala from Coronado 5-1. Zack Martinez (126) fell 3-1 to Arapahoe’s John Daniel for sixth place and Patrick Romero (152) lost 7-1 to Pomona’s Cameron Gonzales for sixth place.
Legacy sophomore Ryan Deakin (113) remained undefeated throughout the season, 45-0, and won the championship match against Cherry Creek’s Matt Finesilver 9-2.
“It was really exciting,” Deakin said. “I couldn’t imagine it happening at the start of the season this year.”
Deakin pinned Rangeview’s Dominic Wenger in 28 seconds in the first round then beat Arvada West’s Anthony Cortez, 3-0. He won 8-0 against Hayden Karren from Ponderosa in semifinals.
Legacy’s Adam Otterson (145) and Logan Lyons (285) both lost two matches and didn’t place.
Horizon sophomore Jackson Huffman (120) won his first two matches, 6-0 and 13-6 against Seth Sanchez from Lincoln and Maurisio Garcia from Northglenn, respectively. Huffman then lost in quarterfinals to Bear Creek’s Jaysen Yacobson.
“I definitely thought I was going to win it, but upsets happen,” Huffman said on his first lost. “I just knew I had to work through it and finish it out tough.”
Huffman won his next two matches 11-3 and 3-2 to place third and end the season 36-1. Huffman said in the next few years, he hopes to get to the state finals.
“I’ve been wrestling since I was five,” Huffman said. “It’s always been a dream so I just have to work hard and go for that state title.”
Horizon senior Aaron Beltran (113), Hunter Lucas (145), Matthew Emerson (152) lost in the consolation round and didn’t place.
After Northglenn’s Nava beat Horizon’s Beltran, he lost 6-2 to Chaparral’s Frank Martinez. Nava then won his next two matches but then lost to Ponderosa’s Karren. Nava placed sixth after losing once against to Martinez.
Norse’s Maurisio Garcia (120), Robert Burget (106), Michael Garcia (126) and Cruz De Lara (220) didn’t place.
Thornton’s Josh Cordova (170) lost his first match 10-6 and won 6-4 in his next match. Cordova then lost 4-2 and didn’t place. Wendell Berry (113) lost two consecutive matches and also didn’t place.
Westminster junior Jacob Thomas (182) was pinned in his first match and lost 13-2 in his next match to end his season 32-14.
In 3A, Holy Family’s Joseph Prieto (138) won first place after beating Valley’s Omar Sotelo 4-0. Julian Prieto lost in the finals to Dolores Huerta’s Jared Mestas, 6-5 for second place.