The Holly Wildcats had six wrestlers compete in the state-qualifying 2A Region 4 Tournament held Feb. 15-16 at Otero Jr. College.
Out of those six, the Wildcats advanced five to the Class 2A Colorado State Wrestling Championship that takes center stage on Thursday, Feb. 21 thru Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
No. 1 state-ranked Brendyn Nordyke, a senior, will lead the way for Holly as he captured a regional title at 126-pounds.
In the quarterfinals, Nordyke made quick work of Alex Torres of Las Animas with a quick pin in 58 seconds.
In the semifinals, Nordyke ran up against junior Tach Brewer of Crowley County for the third time this season.
Brewer defeated Nordyke by an 8-5 decision in Fowler Invitational held earlier in the season.
Nordyke would avenge that loss with an 9-0 major decision for the 126-pound championship in the Crowley County Tournament held on Feb. 9.
The rubber match was a close match as Nordyke was pushed to the brink. He scored a takedown just as the buzzer sounded in the third period to escape with a nail biting, 5-3 decision.
In his first place match, Nordyke had little trouble as he stuck Dylan Armijo of Trinidad in 38 seconds.
Nordyke (32-2) heads to the state tournament for the fourth straight year with one last shot to win a state championship.
In the 2017 state tournament, Nordyke wrestled for the 120-pound state championship but lost by a 6-3 decision. He capped the season with a 30-3 record.
Things didn’t go as planned for Nordyke in the 2018 state event. He won his first match but was knocked off in the quarterfinals. Nordyke won his next match but in the consolation quarterfinals he lost by an injury default.
“My sophomore year, I came up short, and my junior year was tough for me,” he said. “This season, I have put in a lot of extra work to reach that goal of being on top of the podium. I know what it takes and I know what it’s like when you get to the state tournament.”
“Some guys say it’s just another tournament but it’s more than that. It’s an atmosphere that’s pretty hard to explain,” Nordyke said. “I know this is my last shot and I can’t look ahead. I just need to wrestle my match and control what I can control.”
The 126-pound state bracket returns two state placers including No. 5 state-ranked Oran Huff who was fourth at 126 a year ago and No. 3 state-ranked Presley Pene of Hotchkiss who placed 6th at 126.
At 132, senior Austin Crum (20-2) placed second in the regional.
Crum won his first three matches with a pin, a major decision, and a technical fall.
In his regional championship match, No. 5 state-ranked Crum ran up against No. 4 state-ranked Joziah Maestas (39-8) from Rocky Ford.
Maestas, a sophomore, who won regional title by injury default over Crum.
Looking at this year’s 132-pound state bracket it features four returning state placers.
They included No. 1 state-ranked Sean Dale, a junior from Cedaredge, who won the 126-pound state championship a year ago.
No. 8 state-ranked Dante Chirichigno, a junior, from Highland placed third at 120 in last year’s tournament.
Maestas from Rocky Ford placed fourth at 120 after winning the consolation semifinal match by an injury default over Crum.
Crum had to forfeit his fifth place match due to an injury default and finished sixth.
Also qualifying to state for the Wildcats were junior Ethan Burns, fourth at 152; junior Grayden Flint (27-6) second at 170; and senior Abe Rosales (8-11) fourth at 195.
No. 5 state-ranked Burns will make second appearance at state and No. 7 state-ranked Flint heads to the ‘Big Show’ for the third time.
Rosales joined the Holly team this year and will make his first appearance at state.
STATE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
The schedule for the 2A state tournament will begin with the preliminaries matches from 2:00 to 4:45 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21.
Friday’s schedule starts with the championship quarterfinals starting at 9:00 to 11:45 a.m. The first round of consolation matches will immediately follow the previous round.
The second round of consolation matches will be held from 5:00-6:15 (10 mats).
The championship semifinals matches for all classes will begin at 6:45 p.m.
On Saturday, all classes will begin the third round of consolation matches at 10 a.m. The semifinal consolation matches will immediately follow as mats become available.
Fifth place and third place matches will also follow as mats become available.
The Pepsi Center will then be cleared. The doors will open at 5:30 pm. with the Parade of Champions commencing at 6:30 p.m. and followed by the championship matches.
The first-round state matches on Thursday, Feb. 21 for the Holly wrestlers are as follows:
126 – Brendyn Nordyke, sr., Holly (32-2) vs. Teddy Gomez, jr. Rye (11-15).
132 – Austin Crum, sr., Holly (20-2) vs. Sean Dale, jr. Cedaredge (30-4).
152 – Ethan Burns, jr., Holly (26-7) vs. Austin Crawford, sr., Cedaredge (24-15).
170 – Grayden Flint, jr., Holly 27-6) vs. Jace Peebles, jr., Hotchkiss (26-7).
195 – Abe Rosales, sr. Holly (8-11) vs. Karson Bean, jr. Lyons (33-5).
Class 2A Region 4 Tournament
Holly Individual Results
120 – Gabriel Neugebauer (9-18), did not place:
Champ. Round 1 - Carlos Hutchings (Buena Vista) 31-5 won by fall over Neugebauer (Fall 1:10)
Cons. Round 1 - Neugebauer received a bye
Cons. Round 2 - Tate Krentz (County Line) 21-19 won by fall over Neugebauer (Fall 2:51)
126 – Brendyn Nordyke (32-2) placed 1st:
Champ. Round 1 - Nordyke received a bye
Quarterfinal - Nordyke won by fall over Alex Torres (Las Animas) 13-25 (Fall 0:58)
Semifinal - Nordyke won by decision over Tach Brewer (Crowley County) 25-15 (Dec 5-3)
1st Place Match - Nordyke won by fall over Dylan Armijo (Trinidad) 21-14 (Fall 0:38)
132 – Austin Crum (20-2) placed 2nd:
Champ. Round 1 - Crum won by fall over Dale Drew (Calhan) 10-13 (Fall 1:01)
Quarterfinal - Crum won by major decision over Jonathon Burbank (County Line) 27-18 (MD 12-4)
Semifinal - Crum won by tech fall over William Wood (Ellicott) 17-9 (TF-17-0)
1st Place Match - Joziah Maestas (Rocky Ford) 39-8 won by injury default over Crum
152 – Ethan Burns (26-7) placed 4th:
Quarterfinal - Burns won by fall over Brandon Hussey (Peyton) 10-13 (Fall 3:37)
Semifinal - Kaleb Fisher (Swink) 24-7 won by decision over Burns (Dec 6-5)
Cons. Semi - Burns won by tech fall over Chris DeLuca (Buena Vista) 15-11 (TF 15-0)
3rd Place Match - Jadon Baldonado (Rocky Ford) 22-11 won in the ultimate tie breaker over Burns (UTB 4-3)
4th Place Match - Burns won by rule over Chris DeLuca (Buena Vista) 15-11 (RULE)
170 – Grayden Flint (27-6) placed 2nd:
Quarterfinal - Flint won by decision over A.J. Wilk (County Line) 12-14 (Dec 8-1)
Semifinal - Flint won by fall over Jim Gabriel (Buena Vista) 30-15 (Fall 3:08)
1st Place Match - Jorge Valdez (Crowley County) 18-6 won by decision over Flint (Dec 6-3)
195 - Abe Rosales (8-11) placed 4th:
Quarterfinal - Chance Weining (Trinidad) 17-14 won by fall over Rosales (Fall 3:03)
Cons. Round 1 - Rosales won by fall over Dalton Parks (Calhan) 5-12 (Fall 1:50)
Cons. Semi - Rosales won by decision over Angel Medina (County Line) 14-13 (Dec 8-4)
3rd Place Match - Chance Weining (Trinidad) 17-14 won by fall over Rosales (Fall 0:20)
4th Place Match - Rosales won by rule over Angel Medina (County Line) 14-13 (RULE)
Nordyke vs Armijo Trinidad Champion match. Photo Credit Rhonda Uhland
Burns of Holly vs DeLuca of Buena Vista consolation match. Photo Credit Rhonda Uhland