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At Pepsi Center in Denver: The state tournament kicked off Thursday, and several Pikes Peak region wrestlers made a splash. About 120 from the area qualified.

Mesa Ridge entered with an area-best 11 wrestlers, followed by Cheyenne Mountain's 10. Many of them are still alive in the quarterfinals, which begin with 2A/3A at 9 a.m. Friday and followed by the higher classifications' quarterfinals at 12:45 p.m.

Semifinals start at 6:45 p.m. Friday. The tournament ends Saturday evening with championship matches.

Wrestlers in the consolation brackets can still finish as high as third place.

Class 2A

Peyton's Robert Warkentine (126) and Clint Brown (138) advanced to the quarterfinals via pins. Panthers teammate Colton Murray (152) also moved on, thanks to a 6-4 decision over Centauri's Erik Mestas in an opening round match.

Elizabeth's Andrew Kramer (106) also produced a first-round pin.

Class 3A

Woodland Park's Brady Hankin — the region's lone reigning state champion —  kicked off his sophomore state tournament run with a pin over Brush's Erick Urbina at 120. Florence's Brandon Boehm also advanced in the weight class.

Other quarterfinal wrestlers include Florence's Johnny Masopust (126), Woodland Park's Colton Simonis (138), Florence's Josh Thornton (138), Sierra's Elijah Smith (145), Colorado Springs Christian School's Jake Hamilton (145), James Irwin's Jake Hustoles (182), James Irwins' Jimmy Hustoles (220) and Manitou Springs' Hunter Gilpin (285).

Jimmy Hustoles' pin was 39 seconds into his match.

Class 4A

Lewis-Palmer freshman Isiah Blackmon kicked off his first state tournament appearance in style, finishing off his first-round opponent, Sand Creek's Joseph Steele, with a pin 1 minute, 39 seconds into their 106 match.

Lewis-Palmer's Skyler Hunt (113), Mesa Ridge's Frankie Gallegos (113), Cheyenne Mountain's Nicholas Grizales (120), Coronado's Angel Flores (126), Discovery Canyon's Dominic Hargrove (126), Cheyenne Mountain's Chase Johnson (126), Coronado's Ben Nagel (138), Canon City's Ezavian Ortega (138), Lewis-Palmer's Cole Stephenson (138), Vista Ridge's Jaime Snyder (145), Air Academy's Bailey Badwound (145), Mesa Ridge's Isaiah Brown (152), Discovery Canyon's Dylan Ruane (152), Falcon's Josiah Aldinger (160), Cheyenne Mountain's Soren Herzog (170), Mesa Ridge's Kenneth Guinn (170), Discovery Canyon's Andrew Keegan (170), Cheyenne Mountain's Billy Maddox (182), Air Academy's Kalman Adams (182), Cheyenne Mountain's Nico Gagliardi (195), Liberty's Michael Cornelius (195), Coronado's Ben Tonessen (195), Mesa Ridge's Jared Volcic (220), Cheyenne Mountain's Jake Boley (220), Vista Ridge's Alan Rodriguez (285), Vista Ridge's Jaleen Young (285) and Mesa Ridge's Matthew Moore (285) finished their first day as quarterfinal competitors.

Lewis-Palmer's Stephenson and Canon City's Ortega will face each other in the quarterfinals.

Class 5A

Fountain-Fort Carson's Cole Smith (113), Pine Creek's Brayden (145), Pine Creek's Jace Graves (160), Doherty's Tyson Beauperthuy (170), Pine Creek's Draygan Colonese (170), Doherty's Jordan Wagoner (195) and Rampart's Dalton Slaughter (220) advanced.

Rampart's Donasiyano Nimagarityse (113) qualified to the quarterfinals because of a bye.


Chhun Sun is a sports reporter with an emphasis in preps. He joined The Gazette in April 2015 and covered public safety for three years before joining @gazettepreps staff. The Thailand-born Cambodian-American has been in journalism for nearly two decades.