After completing the pre-holidays schedule, Cheyenne Mountain High School wrestling coach Tyler Seaney has plenty of reasons to be excited about his team’s prospects for the remainder of the season.
“We were ranked No. 17 in the preseason by Colorado High School Activities Association,” he said, “and in our first dual meet we knocked off the No. 4 team (Pueblo West). That’s an exciting start because we’re so young.”
The Indians went on to post an 8-2 dual meet record as of Dec. 18, and in the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament in Loveland on Dec. 14-15, one of the biggest prep competitions of the year featuring 74 teams, Cheyenne Mountain finished 12th. The Indians’ Kevin Hooks, a senior wrestling in the 152-pound division, placed fourth while Nico Gagliardi, a freshman, captured sixth place in the 195 class.
“For a freshman to place that high at that weight is incredible,” Seaney said.
Another top performer for the Indians at the tournament was sophomore Jake Boley, who posted a 4-2record while wrestling at 170. One of his wins was over the state’s fifth-ranked wrestler and one of his losses came against the state’s No. 2 wrestler.
“Jake has a very promising future,” Seaney said. “His name is going to be at the top of lot of people’s minds before the season is over.”
Fifty-four athletes turned out for this year’s CMHS team. “According to CHSAA, we’re the second largest team in Colorado,” Seaney said.
Among the returnees from last season is Hooks, a three-time state qualifier who placed fourth as a freshman and fourth again as a junior. Another top returnee is senior Rick Stark, wrestling in the 138 class. He is also a state qualifier who broke a collar bone during last year’s state competition, an injury which probably cost him a chance to place among the top finishers.
“Rick’s had some bad luck along the way,” Seaney said. “At the start of this season, he broke a finger, so we need to get him healed up and back into the competition.”
Other senior leaders include Rudy Juvera at 145, Konrad Ziegler at 160, and Ben Wilke at 220.
“The varsity seniors are doing a good job,” Seaney said. “They are models of a good work ethic and they’re going to help our younger wrestlers a lot.”
Other varsity wrestlers this season include Nick Grizales, a freshman at 106; Brian Hooks, a sophomore at 113; Jake Antonia, a sophomore at 120; Ian Diffendaffer, a junior at 126; Jadon Lara, a sophomore at 132; Colton Bellew, a sophomore at 182; and Ivan Miranda, a sophomore at heavyweight.
Others who will likely see plenty of action this year either with the varsity or junior varsity include Chase Johnston, a sophomore at 126; Bill Maddox, a freshman at 170; and Kevyn McCarthy, a senior at 195. Cheyenne Mountain’s competition in the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference promises to be especially tough this year.
“Discovery Canyon will be a good team and Falcon has a couple of transfers that will help them become better,” Seaney said. “And Air Academy is always tough, as is Lewis Palmer. All in all, I think the league is far more competitive this year.
“And I think it’s a going to be a good year for us, too. We’ve got a scrappy group of competitors.”
After the Christmas break, Cheyenne Mountain is scheduled to return to dual meet competition Jan. 10 against Lewis Palmer at the CMHS mat.