Centauri wrestlers win region, advance 11 to state tournament


Photos by Ken Hamrick Centauri High School's Eyan Chavez breaks down Meeker's Connor Blunt in the 152-pound championship. Center High School's Jordan Duran takes down Dolores Huerta's A.J. Jaramillo in the 106-pound championship match. Center High School's Josh Polkowske looks to turn Crowley . County's Tach Brewer on his back in the 160-pound championship. Del Norte High School's Malachi Gallegos looks to score against Meeker's Trae Kennedy in the 120-pound championship. Centauri High School's Riley Valdez attempts to break down Sargent's Matthew Voss in the 113-pound championship match.

DEL NORTE – The top-ranked Centauri High School wrestling team won the Class 2A Region 2 Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Del Norte High School gym.

In addition to winning the tournament, the Falcons qualified 11 wrestlers for this week’s Class 2A State Tournament.

“It was a good tournament,” said Centauri coach Cahlen Keys. “There’s a spot or two where I was hoping we would finish higher because it matters where you sit on that bracket where your finish is. Not perfect, but we’re not in a bad spot.”

Centauri’s 11 state qualifiers include six individual region champions.

Riley Valdez was the first CHS champion as he won the 113-pound title by pinning Sargent’s Matthew Voss in 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Eyan Chavez was the champion at 152 by scoring a 4-2 decision over Meeker’s Connor Blunt.

Josh Polkowske won by a 9-6 decision over Crowley County’s Tach Brewer at 160.

Erik Mestas won by injury default over Meeker’s Kelton Turner.

Zach Buhr won by fall in 3:06 over Crowley County’s Skeater Baker at 182.

Byron Shawcroft pinned Dolores Huerta’s Josiah Trujillo in 3:11 at 195.

The Falcons had a seventh finalist in Robert Coombs at 132. He finished second after being pinned by Meeker’s Ty Goedert in 1:58.

The remaining Falcons qualifiers include Ivan Lopez, who was third at 145, Mario Vigil, who was third at 120, Matthew Salazar, who was third at 106, and Cyrus Sandoval, who was fourth at 138.

Also placing for Centauri but not qualifying for state were Diego Hernandez, who was fifth at 126, and Skylar Montague, who was sixth at 220.

Centauri finished the tournament with 232.5 points, which was more than 30 points better than runner-up Meeker which scored 202. Crowley County was third with 149.5.

Center placed fourth with 122 points and had six state qualifiers.

“The boys wrestled hard,” said Center coach Rodney Mondragon. “We’ll miss Jesus Valadez who is one of our captains and that’s a downer. But he’ll be there supporting the boys.”

Jordan Duran was the Vikings’ only finalist at 106 pounds. However, he lost by a 16-7 major decision to Dolores Huerta’s A.J. Jaramillo.

The other Center qualifiers were Aaron Valadez, who was third at 132, Omar Hernandez, who was fourth at 220, Andree Meraz, who was fourth at 152, Martin Palma, who was fourth at 170, and Francisco Villa, who was fourth at 113.

Hernandez and Villa both had to preserve their qualifying status by winning wrestle backs.

Five other Vikings placed fifth but did not qualify for state. The list includes Matthew Archuleta (120), Donavin Montoya (160), Manny Morales (138), Lorenzo Trujillo (145) and Jesus Valadez (182).

Dolores Huerta was fifth with 111 points, followed by Monte Vista with 87.5. The Pirates also qualified five to the state tournament.

“We have five going to state and they wrestled tough,” said Monte Vista coach Adam Garcia. “I’m just glad that we have five going. Finishing sixth was good with the amount of kids we have. We had seven in the tournament so that’s pretty good.”

DeAngelo Archuleta was Monte Vista’s only finalist as he won the title at 138 pounds. He pinned Meeker’s Abe Maupin in 1:03 to claim the championship.

The other Pirate state qualifiers include Damian Lopez, who was third at 126, Kevin Cisneros, who was fourth at 132 and he also won a wrestle back, Nathaniel Juarez, who was fourth at 120, and Jaxon Martinez, who was fourth at 160.

Another Monte Vista placer who did not qualify for state was Jacob Pacheco, who was fifth at 152.

Trinidad was seventh with 69 points followed by Sargent with 56.

In addition to Voss, Trenton Lovelace, also qualified for state as he placed third at 220.

Three more Farmers were sixth in Raulito Garcia (182), Matthew Gonzales (138) and Jaycian Sierra (126).

Custer County was ninth with 29 points, followed by Del Norte with 26.

The Tigers had only one state qualifier in Malachi Gallegos, who won the 120-pound championship by scoring an 8-5 decision over Meeker’s Trae Kenney.

Wyatte McLehaney, was fifth at 170 and he also competed in a wrestle back but was defeated.

Sierra Grande/Centennial finished in 11th place with 17 points. It too had only one state qualifier in C.J. Nix, who was fourth at 182.

Another Panther, Bryant Tijerina, was fifth at 113.

Mountain Valley was 12th with only three points. Damien Ross was the Indians’ only scorer as he placed sixth at 120.

The state tournament will take place this weekend at Ball Arena in Denver.

“We haven’t won anything yet,” Keys said. “Not in 2022. Hopefully we’ll go up there and represent us well and see all of these guys again.”

“We have to go out and wrestle next week,” Mondragon said. “Everybody is 0-0. It’s going to be tough. The boys have to wrestle and compete.”

“State is always tough,” Garcia said. “I’m just glad to just have some kids going, so that’s always a fun journey.”