DENVER — The Pueblo East boys wrestling team went back-to-back like the cover of Lethal Weapon 3 en route to another championship.

The Eagles stand atop the Class 4A wrestling world with consecutive state titles after earning 154 points on Feb. 18 at Ball Arena.

The Eagles have their third title since 2019 and also their third in school history.

Coach Pat Laughlin also earned 4A Coach of the Year honors and Weston Dalton earned 4A Wrestler of the Year.

“This shows that we have good, hard-working kids who want to follow through with tradition,” Laughlin said. “We won in 2019 and last year and these kids were hungry to win another one. They want to keep that tradition alive at Pueblo East.”

The Eagles had three competitors in the finals with L.J.Herburger at 106 pounds; Manuel Amaro at 113; and Dalton at 150.

Windsor, which trailed Pueblo East 148-141 heading to the finals, dropped a match at 126 pounds, which thwarted the Wizards’ opportunity to win the title.

The Eagles fan section cheered as Roosevelt’s Chris LaLonde defeated Windsor’s John Kenney 3-2.

Dalton’s win, a pin 21 seconds into the second period, put the proverbial cherry on top for the Eagles senior as he earned his third state victory in four seasons.

“Last year we snuck up on people but this year we got everyone’s best,” Laughlin said. “This tournament was wire to wire and my hats off to the other coaches and teams. We’re just happy to be on top.”

And while the Eagles solidified their dynasty, a single 4A wrestler put history on notice.

Even with an illness, Jackzen Rairdon’s competition still couldn’t catch him.

The Thompson Valley junior earned his third consecutive state championship with a 3-1 decision victory against Riverdale Ridge’s AJ Hague in the 120-pound finals.

Rairdon won the title at 113 his sophomore year and 106 his freshman campaign. Rairdon boasts a 117-2 high school record after three seasons.

“I’ve been sick since Wednesday, which is unfortunate, but, no excuses when there are titles to win,” Rairdon said. “I knew I had to go out there and get it done and I did.”

Rairdon finished the season 45-2 and has not lost since the Top of the Rockies tournament on Jan. 21 — a 4-0 decision loss to Pomona’s Derek Barrows, who earned the 5A 120-pound state crown.

After Rairdon scored on a takedown against Hague, he warded off his opposition focusing on his defense.

Next season, as Rairdon attempts to join the coveted ranks of four-time state champions, he said he’ll spend this offseason tweaking his offense.

“I’m focusing on shots and offense for next year,” Rairdon said. “Anyone who knows me knows I’m not offensive. I need to work on that and the only way to do that is by heading to as many big tournaments as I can.”

(Marcus Hill)

Class 4A state wrestling champions

Class 4A

  • 106: Isaiah Harrison (Mountain View)
  • 113: Zion Mares (Pueblo County)
  • 120 Jackzen Rairdon (Thompson Valley)
  • 126: Chris LaLonde (Roosevelt)
  • 132: Ramon Salazar (Erie)
  • 138: Boden White (Pueblo County)
  • 144: Jake Glade (Mead)
  • 150: Weston Dalton (Pueblo East)
  • 157: Javani Majoor (Falcon)
  • 165: Evan Perez (Windsor)
  • 175: Dalton Berg (Mead)
  • 190: Bronco Hartson (Roosevelt)
  • 215: Thomas Mayer (Pueblo West)
  • 285: Dmarian Lopez (Montrose)