Rankings held true when the teams met in what BVHS coach Jared Todd called the toughest regional in the state regardless of classification.
Class 3A Region 1 hosted at Alamosa High School included three of the state’s top four ranked teams and seventh-ranked Buena Vista.
The top four, Alamosa, Pagosa Springs, Valley and Buena Vista finished with 251, 218, 198 and 129.
Following the Demons in order of finish were Delta, Rifle, Bayfield, Olathe, Grand Valley, Basalt, Coal Ridge, Cortez, Gunnison and Summit.
Buena Vista had six top-four finishers qualifying for state. Anthony Quintana extended his undefeated season when he won the 132-pound championship. He is now 36-0 and the bracket’s No. 1-seed for the state tournament.
Quintana swept through the bracket, scoring all four wins by fall before being pushed in the championship match by Cameron Lucero of Pagosa Springs.
Twice Lucero had Quintana nearly pinned, but the experienced senior worked his way out of trouble and reversed the fate when he pinned Lucero at 3:41.
Quintana goes to the tournament with his eyes on winning the championship.
“He has the opportunity to become Buena Vista’s first ever undefeated state champion,” said Todd. “There are several tough opponents in the bracket and he will have to wrestle well to make it happen.”
In particular, sophomore Zander Condit (33-1) of Conifer is in the same side of the bracket as Quintana. Condit’s only loss of the season is to a highly ranked wrestler from 5A Poudre. The match could occur in the semifinals.
Freshman Issac Hutchings at 106 pounds will be Buena Vista’s first wrestler up on Thursday in the first round of state tournament wrestling.
Hutchings earned the trip by finishing fourth in the regional meet. He secured his fourth place finish when he won a wrestle back with Gunnison’s Bryson Van Hee 6-0.
Sophomore brother Carlos will be next up at 113. The 30-12 wrestler finished third and scored 14 team points at the regional meet.
“He won matches against two higher-ranked opponents that had previously beaten him,” said Todd.
Owen Berry makes a return trip to the state tourney with his second place regional finish in the 120-pound bracket. Todd was excited about Berry’s semifinal win over a tough Ben Koch of Delta.
In the final match, a slight mistake by Berry led to a takedown. The match ended up in sudden victory and A.J. Serna of Grand Valley scored a one-point victory.
Travis Kerrigan at 170 also made his way to the state tourney with a second-place finish and a one-point sudden victory loss in the finals.
“We were glad to have Travis in the tournament when he got a release from his doctor on Thursday,” said Todd.
Kerrigan won his semifinal match by fall over Teagon Harris of Olathe.
At 182, Patrick Zunich (31-14) will represent the Demons. He had a tough battle in the regional tournament and ended up fourth.
After dropping a major decision to a tough Josh Flanagan (40-2) of Valley, he battled back to get to the third-place match with an impressive victory over Austin Trujillo of Alamosa 6-5.
“We wrestled well at the regional tournament and things played out about as expected,” Todd said. “There were a couple of other weight brackets that were stacked and we knew we would have to steal one to get in. We just did not get that done. We brought knives to gun fights when talking about those key matches.”
The Colorado High School State Wrestling Championships is one of CHSAA’s highlight events. All four classifications wrestle under one roof with matches on 10 mats at one time.
Action begins 3 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 15, with first-round matches in 2A and 3A. Winners will return to the mat Friday morning followed by consolation matches. The finals take place Saturday night when the floor is reduced to four mats for the championship matches.
You can follow the wrestling live by going to chsaanow.org and linking to the tournament through trackwrestling.