The Buena Vista Demons captured a Class 2A Top 4 team finish and a pair of individual championships at the 2023 CHSAA State Wrestling Championships last weekend.
Junior Caleb Camp won his third straight state wrestling championship and David Arellano won the trophy in the Feb. 16-18 tournament at Ball Arena in Denver.
“This tied for the highest since I have been head coach,” Demons coach Jared Todd said. “Two years ago we also placed fourth. The highest in program history was third in 1973.”
The Demons pushed beyond expectations.
“We were hoping top 10, but when we pushed three to the finals that gave us some great place points. Every single pin either on the front or backside helped us finish ahead of two very tough teams in Rocky Ford and Cedaredge,” he said.
Arellano (37-1), a senior wrestling at 157 pounds, pinned all three opponents in the first three rounds in 58 seconds, 1:43 and 1:48.
He then faced Jaden Gardner (40-3) of Lyons in the title bout and earned a 4-2 decision.”
The points scored were a takedown in the first when his opponent reversed Arellano and then he reversed him. All the scoring was done in the first period.
“We needed David to have a few more matches go the distance this year to help with wrestling lungs,” Todd said, “but anytime you can take care of business and get off of the mat faster, then that’s what we do. His single loss (to the 3A state champion) helped motivate him as there is always someone out there better than you.”
Arellano “placed third the last 2 years and coming into the season we knew he had a great opportunity to finish on top of the podium. He had a dominant year where he broke the school’s pin record and only had one loss on his record to the 3A state champ,” Todd said. “State was no different as he had three falls and a decision to claim his first title. He becomes our sixth 3-time state placer and the school’s 15th state champion.”
Arellano and Camp join just four other school wrestlers as three-time state medalists: Corbin Bennetts, Keegan Wentz, John Lopez and Anthony Quintana.
Camp (36-4) won by fall in 42 seconds in the 126 opening round, took a 3-0 decision and won by pin at the 6-minute mark of the semifinal round.
Camp earned a 4-3 decision over Anthony Isek (33-6) of St. Mary’s in the championship round.
“He nearly scored two takedowns in the first,” Todd said. “The second started with a reversal and the opponent got an escape. In the third his opponent got a reversal and was momentarily up 3-2, but Caleb quickly reversed him back and then rode him out the remainder of the period to get his third title,” Todd said.
“This is … maybe his toughest (title). He jumped up 2 weight classes and a lot of times that causes styles to change,” Todd said. “He adapted and overcame this and other trials throughout the season to pick up his third title.
With that third title, he joins Bennetts as the only three-time state champions in school history.
“I know next year that he will be aiming to be our third four-time placer and our first ever four-time state champ – rare air and he has the opportunity,” Todd said.
At 190 pounds, Haden Camp (30-7) won by fall in 16 seconds, took a 3-2 decision and won by fall at 1:53 to advance to the finals.
Pepper Rusher (39-4) of Wiggins won by fall at 1:47.
Haden Camp “had an excellent tourney where he had a close quarterfinals match and then a big pin in the semifinals for us to go three-for-three in that round,” Todd said. “His pin was over an excellent all-around athlete from Limon. He went on a nice little run this weekend considering 3 weeks ago we weren’t even sure if he would be able to wrestle again.”
Camp’s advancing to title round was as much surprise as bonus.
“Haden was injured his junior year. He was one match away as freshman, finished fourth as a sophomore, injured and then state runner up,” Todd said.
“Heck, we weren’t even sure if he was going to be able to finish his high school career,” Todd explained. “He was cleared and was able to wrestle on Saturday night, which was a goal that he had set as a young man.
“He was awesome as a leader in the room and at all tournaments,” he said. “He led by example as well as vocally.”
The rest of the 10 members at state learned and contributed points to the fourth-place finish.
“Eli Flowers and Abel Flowers finished one match away from placing, but I know they will use it for motivation in the coming years to not be denied a podium,” Todd said.
“Tucker and Colton Montoya both picked up one victory at state and they will also use it for motivation in the coming years. To be in the top 12 is a great accomplishment.
“Our other qualifiers were freshmen that ran into some tough hombres at state. Teigan Arellano and Carter Stromer have now been to the show and will use this to continue to get better and fuel their desire to get back to state.
“The youngsters have now seen the big show and will do what they need to in order to get back to Denver,” Todd said.
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