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S-CL wrestlers, East grapplers take aim at state titles.

By Tracy Renck
Eagle wrestlers eye state titles

From left to right: Willie Franklin (103), heavyweight Pat Smith, Corey Laughlin (152) and Kraig Garcia (119) are competing at the Class 4A state tourney this weekend in Denver.

Colorado CoachesAid.com Coordinator

DENVER - Usually at state wrestling tournaments, quality over rules quantity.

The question, however, is whether any of the South-Central League teams how enough quality to contend for a Class 4A state championship today through Saturday at the Pepsi Center.

Alamosa arrives in the Mile-High city with eight wrestlers in its stable and has plenty of tradition on its side. The Mean Moose have won seven state titles, the last coming in 2007.

“We just need to go there and wrestle like we’re capable of,” said Alamosa’s 119-pound Drake Sisneros. “I know the guys are ready to step up and we all want to do well, especially with us moving down to Class 3A next season.”

Alamosa has been part of Class 4A since 1991 and won six of their state titles in the class. In ’88, the Mean Moose won state in Class 2A, but there were only three classifications in the entire state at that time. Alamosa is ranked No. 6 by On the Mat.

Kole Kelley (103), Drake Sisneros (119), Michael Walsh (125) and Dakoda Curtis (140) all won Class 4A Region 4 titles for Alamosa. Darin Sisneros, who is Drake’s identical twin brother, was second at 112s. Justin Salazar (189) also was a runner-up for the Mean Moose.

Locally, South has the most state qualifiers in six. The Colts actually only qualified five competitors at regionals, but 215-pound Bobby Ross, who placed fifth at regionals, was put in the state bracket on Tuesday because of an eligibility issue with Centennial’s Tomas Martinez. Martinez was fourth at 215 pounds at regionals.

There’s no question, regional champs Timothy Urenda (112), Vinnie Sanchez (119) and heavyweight Chris Maynes will set the pace for the Colts.

Urenda is ranked No. 1 in the state, Maynes is No. 2 and Sanchez is No. 3.

“I was realy disappointed with the way I wrestled at state last year,” said Urenda, a junior, who didn’t place at 103 pounds last season. “I’m way better prepared for state this year than I was last year and I’m hungry to win.”

This is Maynes’ third trip to state, but he has yet to place.

“I’m very excited to be going to state again,” Maynes, a senior, said. “I’ve been working hard in practice all week and I’m ready to go.”

Sanchez has placed fifth, second and fourth at state the last three years at 119 pounds.

“This is my last chance to take state and it what I’ve dreamed of since I started wrestling in the first grade,” Sanchez said. “I’m comfortable at 130 pounds now and I’m just going to go out there and wrestle my match and see what happens.”

Central has five state state grapplers in its fold, including Alex Baca, who state at 103 pounds a year ago. East also is sending five wrestlers to state led by regional second-place finishers Kraig Garcia (119), Corey Laughlin (152) and heavyweight Patrick Smith.

“We gear our entire season around peaking at regionals and that is exactly what my guys did,” East coach Pat Laughlin, Corey’s father, said. “We had a great regional tournament and we just need to keep our momentum going at state.”

Centennial and Canon City have four wrestlers each at the state tourney.

The Dogs are led by seniors Timmy Romero (160) and heavyweight Abraham Keshmiri. Romero was a regional champ. Of Canon’s quartet, Nolan Kessler (140) is the lone senior.

Pueblo West is sending Cody Meyer (125), Marc Guerrero (145) and Justin Burns-LaBorde (189) to Denver. Burns-LaBorde won the regional title.

“I just have to stay focused and wrestle hard at state,” said Burns-LaBorde, who didn’t wrestle at all last season. “I know a lot of guys probably don’t even know who I am, but I like being the underdog and I want to show what I can do.”

Greg Ross (130), Joey Costanza (135) and Desmond Hernandez (171) make up the Hornets’ trio of state competitors. Costanza was ranked No. 2 in the state last week by On the Mat, but he has a tough state bracket, especially since he finished second at regionals. If Costanza defeats Calib Silz of Fort Morgan in the first round, he will like face Casey Lynn of Montezuma Cortez in the quarterfinals. Lynn is a three-time state placer and is ranked No. 1 in the state with a perfect 35-0 record.

article updated on 03/2/10 11:35

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