Four state titles in one career for one wrestler is a lot.
Having four wrestlers in one state tournament going for the same prize is almost unprecedented.
Pueblo County’s Brendon Garcia is one of those, trying for a history making run on the mat.
The 113 lbs 4A senior pinned Will Loecke of Roosevelt at 5:09 to advance to the quarterfinals on Friday night. He will face Zeon Ortega of Canon City.
Pueblo County is in second place in 4A with 31.5 team points, trailing Pueblo East with 42.0.
The East Eagles have an early inside track to take home the title after day one.
La Junta’s Isaiah Gamez, the defending champ at 113 lbs in 3A is wrestling up a class for his junior year and eventually took Daniek Soto of Jefferson down with a pin in at 3:34.
Same case for Ethan Andrade of Lamar as the second overall seed at 120 lbs worked his way to a pin at 3:42 over Matthew Villareal of Weld Central to advance to the quarterfinals Friday night. If they both win out, they will face each other for the 120 lbs crown.
Up at 126 lbs, Jimmy Gonzales of Pueblo Central got points for intimidation on the mat, wearing a mask over his face after stitches above his left eye wouldn’t stay closed during matches after taking a knee to the area two week prior. He hung tough against Brendan Jones of Fort Morgan, eventually outlasting him for a 3-1 win.
“It’s definitely a lot harder breathing in the mask but it’s only my second week using it so we are hoping to get used to it by Saturday,” Gonzales said.
In 2A, Travis Vialpando of John Mall in Walsenberg opened up his tournament run with a nice scoring effort, leading to a pin at 3:46 over Robert Cochran of Hotchkiss to advance to the next round against Dillon Jaramillo of Rocky Ford.
His teammate Wesley Van Matre, a two time champ at 120 and 132 lbs, is up to 138 lbs and cruised in his opening match. Van Matre worked his way to a near technical fall against Tanner Howells of Crowley County, eventually getting the pin with fifteen seconds left in the match. All part of the plan for the top ranked wrestler in the state.
“I got poked in the eye pretty bad,” Van Matre said. “I couldn’t see but I ended up getting the pin in the end and that’s all that matters. I feel like at tournaments like this there is a target on my back. I try to look past that and just try and focus the best I can. Van Matre will face Traycer Hall of Hotchkiss in the quarterfinals.