Centauri wrestlers denied state title repeat, two Falcons win individual titles

Photos by Ken Hamrick Centauri High School's Erik Mestas celebrates after winning the Class 2A 170-pound championship. Centauri High School's Eyan Chavez takes down Meeker's Connor Blunt in the 152-pound champion. Chavez successfully defended his state title with an 8-4 decision win.

DENVER — The Centauri High School wrestling team was looking to defend its Class 2A state championship on the third and final day of the Colorado High School Activities Association state tournament Saturday, Feb. 19, at Ball Arena.

The Falcons made a good effort, but it wasn’t enough for another state title as they finished in third place with 144 points. Wray won the title with 167.5 points, followed by Meeker with 146.

“We wrestled tough, and we wrestled fine,” said Centauri coach Cahlen Keys. “It was no huge missteps on our part. A couple of the other teams showed up and wrestled really well.”

The silver lining was that the Falcons had two individual state champions. Eyan Chavez successfully defended his state title by defeating Meeker’s Connor Blunt by an 8-4 decision at 152 pounds. Erik Mestas won the 170-pound title with an 7-4 decision over Cedaredge’s Ty Walck.

“It feels good,” Chavez said. “It’s what we worked for, so I’m glad I’m here and I’m glad I got it done in my last year at Centauri.”

“It was an experience,” Mestas said. “It was something I worked forever for.”

This was the third meeting between Chavez and Blunt this season with Chavez winning all three matches. Chavez said he expected Blunt not to change his game plan.

“I knew every time I wrestled him, I had to get a little bit better and that’s what I did,” Chavez said. “Every time I wrestled him, I won by more and more. So, I opened it up in the state finals and got the job done.”

“I’m very proud of those two,” Keys said. “I’m very proud of all of them. They all wrestled well.”

In his title match, Mestas fell behind Walck early. He went into the third period trailing 3-2, but recorded two takedowns and an escape in the final period for the 7-4 win.

“I didn’t get tired out and I knew I had a bigger gas tank than him,” Mestas said. “I knew I had to stay moving and I’d catch up.”

Both Chavez and Mestas were disappointed that the Falcons didn’t repeat as state champs.

“I thought was we wanted was not what we expected,” Chavez said. “It is what it is. We take it, we learn from it and we get better.”

“It was a little bit disappointing,” Mestas said. “I was kind of fluctuating throughout the tournament.”

“It’s hard to be really happy because we have some boys with some heartache right now,” Keys said. “I feel some of it.”

Chavez is a senior and he has signed to wrestle for the University of Northern Colorado. He said he is ready for the next level.

“I’m going to continue to work hard, get better every day and see what the future has in store for me,” Chavez said.

Mestas is a junior and he is looking to defend his state title next year.

“There’s talk of us going up to 3A next year but I’m not worried about it,” Mestas said.

The Falcons had two more state finalists in Josh Polkowske (160) and Byron Shawcroft (195).

Polkowske was defeated in his championship match by Sedgwick County-Fleming’s Hayden Burr as he was pinned in 1:28.

Shawcroft was defeated by a 16-2 major decision by Rye’s Remington Peterson.

Centauri had three additional state placers. Zach Buhr (182) and Mario Vigil (120) both finished fourth in their weight divisions while Riley Valdez was fifth at 113.

Sargent finished in 24th place with 23 points. It had one individual placer in Trenton Lovelace who was fifth at 220 pounds.

Center was tied for 26th with 19 points. Omar Hernandez was the Viking’s lone place winner as he was sixth at 220 pounds.

Monte Vista also tied for 26th place. It also had one placer in DeAngelo Archuleta who was fifth at 138 pounds.

Del Norte was 29th with 15 points. Malachi Gallegos was the Tigers’ sole representative and he finished fifth at 120 pounds.

Sierra Grande-Centennial tied for 40th place with three points. It did not have any place winners.

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