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Dozen Devils reach state

Ryan Slabaugh

The mark earned the red and black second place in the region behind Hotchkiss and the second-most state qualifiers in school history.

“(At the beginning of the year), I said “I thought we could be taking 10,'” Devils head coach Jeff Lueders said. “They surpassed all of my expectations. There were two guys getting in that didn’t hardly wrestle all year.”

While sophomores Chris Best (130 pounds) and Brian Saldana (189) earned their ticket to the 3A State Tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver while only wrestling 33 matches all season, senior Tommy Barela started the finals off with a bang, winning the 103-pound championship.



Thursday, Barela (30-2) will be matched up against Lamar freshman Justin Rangle (14-3).

The other Devils qualifiers include:



Freshman Mason Ewing (25-8), who won his 112-pound region and will face Trinidad sophomore Frank Montoya (26-9); Freshman Kylan Kottenstette (31-10), who drew Florence junior Seth Withrow in the 119-pound first-round match; Best (12-7), who landed Ignacio’s Adrian Abeyta (26-6) in the 130s;

140-pound Tim Reitz (31-5), a junior who won the region and now faces Roaring Fork freshman Jeron Aragon (16-21); Chris Harvey (25-11), a 145-pound freshman who will take on Ellicott senior Jeremy Cleveland (23-10); 152-pound senior Greg Hollis (16-11) will face Roosevelt sophomore Nick Ehrlich (23-14); Phil Rivera (22-15), a senior who will take on Bayfield sophomore Loren Morrison (33-2) in the 160-pound weight class; Charles Faulhaber (21-10), a junior who will face Weld Central junior Wyatt Johnson (22-10) in the 171-pound class; Saldana (8-6), who faces Platte valley senior Reece Hopkins (34-2); Senior Jeff Bair (18-8), who landed Cameron Salazar (24-11), from Valley, in the first round action of the 215-pound class; and senior John Saldana (18-13), who takes on Corey Karila (32-4), a junior out of Florence, in the 275-pound matchups.

The 12 wrestlers tied with Hotchkiss for the most representatives out of the region, prompting Lueders to prepare for possible championship matches.



“It cost me 200 bucks,” Lueders said. “I had to go out and get a suit in case someone gets to the finals. I want to use it, too.”

The Devils will leave this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. with the traditional fire-department escorts to the interstate.

Each weight category is a 16-wrestler tournament with a consolation bracket.


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