LOVELAND – What a wonderful winter weekend for the Windsor Wizard wrestlers.
Alliteration aside, the No. 3 team in Class 4A according to Tim Yount’s On The Mat, did turn in a fine performance Friday and Saturday at the 2017 edition of the Old Chicago Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament at the Budweiser Events Center.
Two Wizards emerged from their brackets, each filled with more than 50 wrestlers from some of the state’s top programs big and small, to help their team claim the overall title. Junior Will Vombaur, a 2016 state champion as a freshman, won the 113 pound division and sophomore Isaiah Salazar claimed top honors at 170.
Vombaur, ranked second at 113 pounds in Class 4A, scored the only point in the match when Castle View’s Adrian Marquez, the top-ranked wrestler in Class 5A, elected to let him escape rather than attempting a ride to open the second period. Vombaur followed with a powerful ride in the third to close it out, and capped off the big win with a few emphatic hand claps.
Salazar (4A No. 1) also pitched a shutout in his championship match, blanking Cherry Creek’s Kai Blake (5A No. 4) 5-0 to ultimately clinch the team title for the Wizards.
But the fun didn’t stop there.
One of the most highly anticipated matches was in the 120-pound championship final, where Windsor freshman Vance Vombaur – Will’s bigger little brother – met Castle View’s Malik Heinselman – a multiple-time freestyle and Greco national champion and two-time 5A state champion.
Ranked No. 2 in 4A, the younger Vombaur punched his ticket to the finals by knocking off No. 1 Patrick Allis of Discovery Canyon 7-4, completing his run through the 4A top four over the course of the last two weeks. Last week he beat both Pueblo East’s Drew Lucero (No. 3) and Pueblo County’s Josiah Nava (No. 4).
Heinselman, meanwhile, avenged one of his few in-state losses by beating the aforementioned Lucero 5-1 in the semis. He then proved he was the class of the ultra-competitive 120-pound division by beating Vombaur 7-4 with a handful of takedowns that left the crowd gasping.
Meanwhile, the powerful Poudre trio of the Brothers’ Greenwood – Job (132) and Jacob (145 – and Brody Lamb (138) all claimed titles in dominant fashion.
Job Greenwood (5A No. 1) out-muscled Pueblo East’s Jace Trujillo en route to a 17-2 second period technical fall, while brother Jacob – who seeks to become the 21st four-time state champion in state history in February – counter-cradled Valley’s Brandon Damian for a pin in 3:18.
Sandwiched in-between was a 16-9 decision by Lamb over Greeley Central’s Zeke Alirez, 4A’s No. 1 ranked 138-pounder.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the tournament, and maybe so far this year, was the emergence of 220-pound sophomore Deonte Bridges from Cheyenne Mountain. Bridges, a third-place finisher at state as a freshman, made his season debut and pinned 4A No. 1 Dominick Fini from Mesa Ridge in the second period. Fini pinned Bridges in the state semis last February.
In the team race, Windsor led the way with eight placers and 230.5 points, edging out 4A No. 2 Pueblo East (214) and 5A No. 3 Poudre (207.5).
1 Windsor 230.5
2 Pueblo East 214.0
3 Poudre 207.5
4 Brighton 195.0
5 Castle View 162.5
6 Mesa Ridge 140.5
7 Greeley Central 140.0
8 Eaton 129.0
9 Kelly Walsh 124.0
10 Discovery Canyon 119.5
11 Valley 115.5
12 Canon City 115.0
13 Ft Morgan 109.5
14 Lakewood 103.0
15 Mountain View 96.0
106: Jett Strickenberger (Discovery Canyon) 8-1, Fr. over Kenny Sailas (Brighton) 16-1, Fr. (UTB 1-0)
113: Will Vombaur (Windsor) 15-1, Jr. over Adrian Marquez (Castle View) 12-3, Jr. (Dec 1-0)
120: Malik Heinselman (Castle View) 18-2, Sr. over Vance Vombaur (Windsor) 16-1, Fr. (Dec 7-4)
126:Josh Nira (Greeley Central) 18-0, Sr. over Isaiah Rios (Roosevelt) 14-2, Fr. (Fall 2:36)
132: Job Greenwood (Poudre) 15-0, Jr. over Jace Trujillo (Pueblo East) 9-2, Jr. (TF-1.5 3:34 (17-2))
138: Brody Lamb (Poudre) 18-0, Sr. over Zeke Alirez (Greeley Central) 10-1, Sr. (Dec 16-9)
145: Jacob Greenwood (Poudre) 12-0, Sr. over Brandon Damian (Valley) 13-1, Sr. (Fall 3:19)
152: Jaziah Whaley (Valley) 15-0, So. over Elijah Valdez (Mesa Ridge) 14-1, Sr. (Dec 5-2)
160: Gabe Dinette (Lakewood) 12-0, Sr. over Drake Engelking (Longmont) 4-1, Jr. (MD 18-4)
170: Isaiah Salazar (Windsor) 10-0, So. over Kai Blake (Cherry Creek) 16-1, Jr. (Dec 5-0)
182: Tate Samuelson (Castle View) 16-2, Sr. over Zion Freeman (Pueblo East) 17-2, Jr. (MD 11-2)
195: Dylan McBride (Ft Morgan) 17-0, Sr. over Jake Sandau (Eaton) 7-3, Sr. (Fall 2:42)
220: Deonte Bridges (Cheyenne Mountain) 5-0, So. over Dominick Fini (Mesa Ridge) 13-1, Sr. (Fall 3:14)
285: Hayden Still (Lakewood) 11-1, Sr. over Michael True (Mesa Ridge) 11-4, Sr. (Dec 7-6)