DENVER – History has a tendency of following the state wrestling tournament like a lost puppy dog and it appears that this year is no different.

The stage is set for an epic championship night at Ball when the curtains are raised and the place is filled to capacity. For the second time in five years, there could be four boys crowned champions for the fourth and final time of their careers.

For the first time ever, the girls will join the four-timers party. In fact, the invite will be going out to two of them and they just have to decide in six minutes or less if they’re going to get in on the fun.

There are team title storylines to watch, undefeated seasons to complete and medals and trophies to be awarded.

The state tournament holds a special place in the lore of Colorado and CHSAA state championships. It gathers passionate fanbases from far away towns who can’t help but erupt when a ref’s hand slaps the mat indicating a pin for their grappler.

I’m not a wrestling guru, but even I can appreciate the moments that occur in the same building that holds a recent Stanley Cup champion and the reigning NBA champion. I bumped into a friend who used to coach a very different sport and he couldn’t hide the awe he felt watching constant action on the mats. This was the first time he had ever taken the time to watch a state tournament.

“I’ve never seen this before,” he said. “This is incredible.”

Just wait until Saturday night.

This man thought the atmosphere itself was incredible. He might know of Buena Vista’s Caleb Camp, Mullen’s Dale O’Blia, Fort Lupton’s D`mitri Garza-Alarcon and Thompson Valley’s Jackzen Rairdon but after seeing them compete, he’s every bit as invested in their journey as those sitting closer to the floor rooting them all on.

To make things even more interesting, Pomona’s Persaeus Gomez and Calhan’s Ciara Monger can etch their names in history with their fourth championships. Girls wrestling is in just its fourth year of CHSAA-sanctioned competition and these two wasted no time in putting themselves on path that can end with Ball Arena erupting in 2025 when for the first time ever, the girls are seen with the four-timers.

These are the stories that make someone like me – someone anxiously awaiting the release of state basketball brackets and urging the sun to green up local golf courses just a couple weeks earlier than anticipated – want to take a minute and savor all that can unfold tomorrow.

Pomona can win a sixth straight team championship and their eighth in nine years. The Panthers would then need two more titles to match Ponderosa’s stretch of eight from 2003-10.

Mead and Mullen will head into the final day with leads their respective team races. If they hang on, it will be the first teams titles in both schools’ history.

The Meeker faithful showed up in bright shirts that would make someone think of a Jimmy Buffett concert rather than the remote, cozy town north of Rifle. That same passion could help the Cowboys capture their first team title since 2016.

The final night of competition in Ball Arena is always a fun one, but the 2024 tournament has the potential to be talked about as one of the most historic of all time.

So strap in. Because this ride through history is going to be one for the ages.