Valley’s Zach Brown had been waiting for his matchup against No. 1 Brady Hankin all season.
But for Hankin, Brown was just another wrestler standing between him and a third 3A state title.
“Whatever match is ahead of me, I have to take it the same and finish out at state, and that’s all I care about,” Hankin said.
Brown, ranked second in 3A at 138 pounds, had hoped to dethrone the two-time state champ and take home the 3A Region 4 championship, but ultimately lost to Hankin 7-3 in the championship bout. Brown was previously undefeated entering the region tournament.
The 138 Region 4 championship match could be a preview of what’s to come next week in the state tournament, with Hankin and Brown both earning a qualifying spot in the much-limited state bracket.
After receiving a first-round bye, Hankin pinned his first opponent in 38 seconds before claiming a 15-0 technical fall in 2:24 in the region semifinal.
It was the first time this high school season that Hankin got to experience the tournament-format as COVID regulations prevented it through the regular season — and for the two-time deafening state champ, it was a relief to be back.
“I think I get a lot more geared up for tournaments than I do for duals or individual matches,” Hankin said. “I felt good today, I just think the whole atmosphere gets me in the mode of wrestling and I do a lot better.”
Colorado Springs Christian’s Anthony Isek won the 106-pound Region 4 championship with a 9-0 decision in the final bout. Isek, a sophomore, enters the state tournament with a 20-1 record.
At 126 pounds, Sierra’s Daryl Mills (13-2) collected a pair of pins through the first two rounds of the tournament before claiming a close come-from-behind win (6-4) in the semifinals to earn a bid to the state tournament at 126 pounds. Mills placed second in the region following a 13-0 loss to Florence’s Brandon Boehm.
Class 5A Region 1
At Pomona: Pine Creek’s Sir Israel Pilido qualified for the 5A state tournament after placing second at 106 pounds in the 5A Region 1 tournament. The sophomore earned a first-round pin and a 7-0 decision in the semifinals before falling to region champion Mark Cardenas of Pomona.
Fountain-Fort Carson’s Kyle Jack punched his ticket to the 5A tournament with a second-place finish at 113 pounds. Jack won an 11-6 decision in the first round before pinning his semifinal opponent in 3:42. Jack lost to Pomona’s Jeramiah Steele in the first period of the championship match.
Class 4A Region 1
At Pueblo West: Falcon freshman Landon Drury, who entered regionals undefeated, kept his record intact with a championship run through the 126-pound Region 1 bracket. Drury collected a pair of pins through the quarter and semifinal rounds before claiming a 9-7 sudden-victory over Pueblo Centennial’s Dominic Castro, who was also undefeated in the regular season.
Widefield’s Avelino Mota earned a second-round pin in 57 seconds and won a 13-4 major decision in the semifinals to punch his ticket to the state tournament and the region championship match at 120 pounds. Mota was forced to default in 2:29 due to an injury as Kameron Hanel of Thompson Valley was crowned champion.
Falcon freshman Smokey McClure earned a qualifying spot in the 4A tournament at 132 pounds, making it to the region championship match. McClure won by technical fall (19-4) in the first round, before claiming an 11-6 and a 7-1 decision before the championships. The freshman fell to Pueblo East’s Weston Dalton, who remains undefeated.
A third Falcon freshman will be headed to the 4A state tournament after placing second at 145 pounds. Javani Majoor made his way to the region championship match following an 8-3 decision in the semifinals. Majoor fell to undefeated Anthony Flores of Pueblo East by a 14-4 major decision.
Ezavian Ortega of Canon City also placed second in his weight class, making it to the title match at 138 pounds. The junior fell in a heartbreaker to Pueblo East’s Sebastian Freeman in a 3-2 decision for the championship.
Class 4A Region 2
At Discovery Canyon: Dominic Hargrove won the Region 2 championship at 129 pounds following a close battle in the title match against Pueblo County’s Boden White. Hargrove pulled off a 3-2 victory over the sophomore to remain undefeated heading into the state tournament next week.
Class 4A Region 4
At Cheyenne Mountain: Mickail Skeldum of Mesa Ridge pinned all three of his opponents on the way to a Region 4 championship at 106 pounds. Skeldum pinned his first opponent in 1:16 before claiming a third-period pin in the semifinals. He defeated Zach Herrera of Denver South with a pin in 3:43 for the region title.
At 113 pounds Frankie Galegos, who entered the tournament with just one loss on the season, claimed a 15-0 technical fall over Lewis-Palmer’s Edwin Flores for the region championship. Both have qualified for the state tournament next week.
Lewis-Palmer’s Isiah Blackmon won the 120-pound championship, pinning Cheyenne Mountain’s Patrick Ransom in under a minute to remain undefeated. Ransom battled in two close matches on the way to the championship. He had a late third-period pin and won a close 3-2 decision in the region semifinals to qualify for the state tournament.
Cheyenne Mountain’s Nicholas Grizales collected three pins on the way to a 126-pound region championship. After a first-round bye, Grizales needed just 16 seconds to pin his quarterfinal opponent, and 1:59 for a win in the semifinals. The junior pinned Mateo Luna of Greeley Central in 3:30 in the championship match.
Two locals qualified for the state tournament at 132 pounds, with Cheyenne Mountain’s Chase Johnson defeating Lewis-Palmer’s Roman Smith for the region championship. Johnson pinned Smith in 2:39 in the championship match.
At 138 pounds Grant Kunkel needed just 48 seconds to take the region championship from Mesa Ridge’s Tucker Trevino, who had dominated the tournament heading to the title bout. Trevino had two pins in under a minute and earned a technical fall in just 1:36 (15-0).
Vista Ridge’s Solomon Arnds-Volcin and Cheyenne Mountain’s Raife Manjarrez both qualified for the state tournament by making it to the finals at 145 pounds, but it was Manjarrez who took home the region title with a close 2-1 win over Arnds-Volcin.
Class 2A Region 4
At John Mall: Peyton’s Clint Brown claimed the region’s 145-pound championship with a 7-4 decision over Travis Vialpando of John Mall in the title bout. Brown, a senior who made it to the 2A state final at 138 pounds last year, will enter the state tournament undefeated.
At Coronado: Doherty’s Candice Brickell qualified for the first CHSAA-sanctioned state tournament for girls’ wrestling with a second-place regional finish at 100 pounds. The junior earned three major decisions on the way to the region title match, but fell to undefeated Rosalind Ramos-Cruz of Mountain Vista in a close 7-6 decision. Cheyenne Dyess of Vista Ridge also qualified for state with a fourth-place finish at 100 pounds.
Mesa Ridge freshman Isabella Cross battled her way to the 111-pound region championship with three pins, including one in 31 seconds in the tournament’s opening round. Cross suffered her first loss of the season after being pinned by Denver East’s Israel Resendez in 5:29 the championship bout.
Alexys Jacquez of Mesa Ridge placed third at 118 pounds to qualify for the state tournament. The sophomore lost in the second round but battled back in the consolation bracket to claim an 8-6 win over Crystalyn Felan of Lamar for third.
Doherty’s Sarah Savidge placed second at 127 pounds for her ticket to the state tournament. She fell to undefeated Savannah Cosme of Chatfield 6-4 in the finals. Savidge collected three pins on the way to the championship, pinning her first opponent in 45 seconds, before claiming wins in 4:33 and 1:59.
Dakotah Livermore of Vista Ridge also qualified for the state tournament, placing fourth at 127. The senior lost to Savidge in the quarterfinals, and battled through consolations to the third-place bout before falling to Denver East’s Eva Todd.