Gazette Preps wrestling

Class 5A

Palmer

Coach: Randy Teschner (34 years coaching)

Returning state qualifiers: None

Key returning wrestlers: Nic Alvarez, sr., 138; Skylar Owens-Hailey, jr., 195; Zandar Owens-Hailey, so., 182; Emo Vega, so., 170.

Outlook: "We are looking forward to continue building our program and establish a presence at state," Teschner said.

Class 4A

Air Academy

Coach: Nate Hill (fourth season as head coach)

Returning state qualifiers: Three

Key returning wrestlers: Kalman Adams, jr., 170; Bailey Badwound, so., 126; Brady Badwound, sr., 182; Cole Eck, jr., 195; Zane Hall, sr., 160; Austin Kloss, jr., 138; Dylan Machette, sr., 120; Will Markworth, jr., 152.

Outlook: "Solid lineup with lots of returning sophomores, juniors and seniors," Hill said. "Excited to see kids step up into the lineup and see what our returning state qualifiers can do."

Cheyenne Mountain

Coach: Tyler Seaney (16 years total; fifth at CM)

Returning state qualifiers: Four

Key returning wrestlers: Ian Diffendaffer, jr., 126; Kevin Hooks, sr., 152; Kevyn McCarthy, sr., 195; Rick Stark, sr., 138.

Other top wrestlers: Rudy Juvera, sr., 132; Konrad Ziegler, sr., 160.

Outlook: "With over 50 athletes in the program, Cheyenne Mountain is looking to be very competitive again behind a great young crop of wrestlers," Seaney said. "The Indians are returning four state qualifiers, including two-time state medalist Kevin Hooks. Cheyenne Mountain is excited to see what they can do with a great combination of good senior leadership and a big group of young talent."

Canon City

Coach: Jeremy Gilkerson (first season as coach)

Returning state qualifiers: Three

Key returning wrestlers: Mason Colson, jr., 152; Joey Gauna, sr., 126; Dylan Lampe, sr., 132; Zeon Ortega, sr., 113; Gage Pruitt, sr., 195; JW Ruona, sr., 138; Zach Taylor, sr., 170; Malachi Wickham, sr., 145; Jeff Winborne, sr., 182.

Other top wrestlers: Garrett McCasland, so., 126; Ezavian Ortega, fr., 120; Coletin Renn, fr., 160.

Outlook: "We've got several seasoned seniors that I expect to lead our young kids," Gilkerson said. "We'll be leaning on JW Ruona and Zeon Ortega to elevate the intensity in our room. We've got several wrestlers that are ready for breakout seasons!"

Discovery Canyon

Coach: Marques Bravo (fourth year)

Returning state qualifiers: Four

Key returning wrestlers: Patrick Allis, sr., 126; David Biddy, sr., 160; Jack Dewey, jr.; Jed Keegan, jr., 195; Dylan Ruane, so., 145; Jett Strickenberger, so., 113; Tanner Sukle, jr., 152.

Outlook: "We have four returning state qualifiers and two returning state medalists with one defending state champion (Patrick Allis)," Bravo said. "We are in a tough region and we will be fighting hard to try and win a (Pikes Peak Athletic Conference) title. We will need to rely on our two seniors for a lot of leadership and direction. We are a very junior-heavy program and will need a lot of production out of our junior and sophomore classes."

Falcon

Coach: Robert Lovato (27 years coaching)

Returning state qualifiers: Four

Key returning wrestlers: Michael Bird, sr., 170; Jarrod Davis, sr., 195; Adrian Garcia, sr., 145; Damien Hobson, jr., 170; Victor Lopez, sr., 160; Raymond Mendoza, sr., 126; Carsten McCleary, so., 106; Grant McCluan, sr., 285; Caleb Sherrill, sr., 182; Connor Tarver, jr., 132.

Other top wrestlers: James Brown, fr., 120; Clint Brown, so., 138; Neven Fuller, so., 113; Levi Hendrix, fr., 106; Jonathan Lozano, fr., 220.

Outlook: "This year I would expect my wrestlers to have a fun time mixed with a lot of success," Lovato said. "We may have lost nine returning wrestlers, three state qualifiers and others that had a great shot at making the lineup this year. We will overcome that obstacle with the number of wrestlers in the room. We are seeing a record number of wrestlers this year and the numbers are maintaining. With the right mix of upperclassmen that have been together for more than four years and a good mix of incoming freshmen, I look for big things from our team."

Liberty

Coach: James Marti (second season as coach)

Returning state qualifiers: None

Key returning wrestlers:  Michael Cornelius, jr., 160; Brock Ried, jr., 145.

Other top wrestlers: Ian Angello, sr., 132; Cade Chaney, jr., 138; Josh Hartson, jr., 170; Khairi Kelly, sr., 195; Kyle Short, jr., 106; Christian Tucker, jr., 152.

Outlook: The Lancers look to make some noise with a bigger team, new assistant coaches and a "better practice facility," Marti said.

Mesa Ridge

Coach: Rob Braaten (28 years coaching)

Returning state qualifiers: One

Key returning wrestlers: Isaiah Brown, jr., 145; Caleb Davis, so., 106; Colton Doyle, sr., 138; Ken Guinn, jr., 160; Devin Haller, sr., 152; Isaac McKinney, jr., 120; Hunter Saiz, jr., 126; Niko Suragdeen, jr., 182; Jared Volcic, jr., 195.

Other top wrestlers: Landon Beeson, so., 113.

Outlook: "A large junior class should help to fill in the weight classes," Braaten said. "We have a tough schedule, especially early, so the guys moving up from last year's JV will be tested right away."

So far: 5-3 dual record

Palmer Ridge

Coach: Jason Romero (11 years coaching)

Returning state qualifiers: None

Key returning wrestlers: Garrett Marchetti, sr., 182.

Other top wrestlers: Carter Reed, so., 120; Cole Fuller, jr., 152.

Outlook: The Rangers are "creating a new culture in the PR wrestling community," Romero said.

So far: Second at Fairview (Mike Stanley) Invitational; second at girls' Arapahoe Warrior Invitational

Sierra

Coach: Marcel Cooper (seven years coaching)

Returning state qualifiers: None

Key returning wrestlers:  Joe Luevanos, so., 113; Ian Rohan so., 106.

Other top wrestlers: Atz Pliez, sr., 200.

Outlook: "State qualifiers and state medals is always the goal," Cooper said.

Vista Ridge

Coach: Eric Everard (15 years coaching)

Returning state qualifiers: One

Key returning wrestlers: Tyler Bemrose, jr., 132; Gage Bonewell, sr., 120; James Bullock, sr., 152; Ashton Fine, jr., 138; Ronnie Salazar, sr., 160.

Other top wrestlers: Ian Faler, jr., 126; Justin Laulu, fr., 285; Bella Mitchell, jr., 161; Jaime Snyder, so., 145.

Note: The Wolves boast a solid girls' team that features Mitchell, who placed second at the girls' state tournament last season.

Outlook: Asked what excites him most about this year's team, Everard said, "Our returning state and regional placers leading our boys and girls team this season, especially our seniors who will be passing the competition torch to our up-and-coming underclassmen and underclasswomen."

Widefield

Coach: Mark Walker (20 years coaching)

Returning state qualifiers: None

Key returning wrestlers: Avelino Mota, so., 106; Cameron Muransky, so., 113; Seth Long, sr., 132; Trenton Gutierrez, sr., 138; Logan Robb, sr., 152; Shea Jackson, jr., 170.

Note: The Gladiators appear to be going through a rebuilding year after all five of their state qualifiers from last season's team to graduation.

Outlook: "Young team, excited to see them grow," Walker said about this year's squad.

So far: 2-1 dual record

Class 3A

The Classical Academy

Coach: Sean Collins (12th season)

Returning state qualifiers: Four

Key returning wrestlers: Jason Alexander, sr., 195; Simeon Chambers, sr., 145; Nathan Johns, sr., 182; Brendan Johnston, sr., 106; Aidan Johnston, sr., 113; Liam Young, sr., 160.

Other top wrestlers: Brendan Carroll, so., 170; Zach Courtright, fr., 120; Hagen Keller, jr., 132.

Note: Senior Theo Bone, a state qualifier last year, will likely miss this season because of an injury, Collins said.

Outlook: "I have a strong core of seniors who have been building since (junior high) and will lead a strong incoming freshman class that will make us deeper than we have been in a few years," Collins said.

So far: 3-0 dual record

Elizabeth

Coach: Robert Chavez (eight years)

Returning state qualifiers: Four

Key returning wrestlers: Maddox Brooks, jr., 120; Will Erzen, sr., 132; Andrew Kramer, so., 106; Kris Kramer, sr., 113; Abram Leonard, sr., 195; Cole Morse, jr., 170; Kolby Ullery, jr., 160; Spencer Winkle, sr., 145; Brewer Winkle, sr., 152.

Outlook: The Cardinals look to make another state tournament run with four state qualifiers and a group of strong underclassmen.

So far: 7-0 dual record (1-0 league)

Note: Teams not listed did not submit information by deadline

Reporter

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.

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