The winter sports season is rapidly winding its way toward its natural ending, and the first championships of the season were handed out by CHSAA last weekend. Girls wrestling reached its finale on Saturday, after the event was shortened to one day by the big snow storm that hit the Denver Metro area hard.
Yuma had the top team finish by area schools, tying for 13th place, while Lamar tied for 19th. On the individual scene, Crystalyn Felan of Lamar finished second at 100 pounds, suffering an 18-1 technical fall in the finals. The sophomore, who won the title at 111 last year, won each of her first three matches on Saturday by pinfall.
Fatima Duran was one of two Lady Indians to place at the championships, taking home fourth place at 111. The wrestler she lost to in the semifinals won the title in the class. Mia Dischner also reached the final podium, earning sixth place at 185. After suffering a loss by pin in the opening round, Dischner pinned her next three opponents to reach the consolation semis, but lost her final two matches by pinfall.
For the boys, the Crowley County Charger Invitational was one of the top events last week. The hosts won the team title, edging County Line by 7.5 points. Trinidad claimed third, while Limon (5th), Rocky Ford (6th), Fowler (7th), Holly (8th), Stratton (9th), and Baca County (10th) all took home top 10 finishes in the well-attended tournament.
Crowley County took home four individual titles, with Dillon Buford (113), Case Buford (126), Tach Brewer (138), and Adam Schulz (170) all claiming top honors. County Line also had four wrestlers take the crown in their respective weight classes. Aiden Michael (145), Cade Zordel (152), Jaime Ibarra (182), and Brooks Jones (195) grabbed championships for the Rivals.
Alberto Felthager (120), Jacob Armijo (220), and Chase Wiening (285) all were crowned for Trinidad. Rocky Ford claimed a pair of titles, with Benny Carlos Gonzales taking 106, and Izaiah Tapia getting the job done at 160.
Akron, Holyoke, Sterling, Wiggins, and Wray all found their way to the Eaton Duals last Saturday. Wray went 4-0 in the meet, including a narrow 40-38 victory over Valley. Sterling won its first three matches, before falling 38-31 to University and 42-41 to Greeley West. Holyoke’s lone win in its three matches was an 18-15 decision over Akron. Neither Akron nor Wiggins picked up a team win.
Lamar bested the field to earn the title at the Tri-Peaks League Tournament, with La Junta finishing fourth. Zane Rankin (132), Jesus Gonzalez (138), Isaiah Baber (145), and Sy Spitz (285) all claimed league titles for the Savages. La Junta had league championships from Jeremiah Martinez (113), Isaiah Gamez (120), and Mitchell Peabody (195).
Regionals dominate the schedule for this weekend. Area 2A schools will head to either Sierra Grande, Wiggins, or La Junta as they try to punch their ticket to next weekend’s state championships. The bigger schools in the area will compete in either Kersey, Broomfield, or Lamar.
Swimming & diving
Class 3A girls swimming and diving championships are this weekend, with prelims on Friday and finals on Saturday at the VMAC in Thornton. Holyoke has one of the top 20 times of the season in the 400 yard freestyle relay, but is outside of the top 20 overall ranked teams. La Junta’s Gracie Moreland has posted the fourth fastest time in the 100 yard backstroke, and Isabel Gaines has the 20th best time in the 100 yard butterfly.
The biggest story to come out of boys basketball over the weekend was South Baca’s senior guard Shadow Varnado scoring 67 points in a 92-91 overtime loss to Felt (OK). According to the CHSAA record book, that is the third-highest number of points in state history. Only Kim’s Lane Gooden (69 in 1976) and Manual’s Chucky Sproling (74 in 1987) had more than Varnado did last Friday. The Patriots were eliminated from title contention in the Ark Valley with a 71-25 loss at Kim/Branson the following night.
Limon took a major step towards claiming the Union Pacific crown, beating Burlington 59-53 last Saturday on the road. Both teams were unbeaten in league play entering the contest, thanks in part to Burlington’s 68-64 overtime victory against Byers a week earlier. In last Saturday’s contest, Limon led by as many as 22 points in the second half, but had to hold on after the Cougars closed to within four late in the game.
Kit Carson locked up the 1A High Plains title with a tough 49-46 road win over Cheraw last Friday. After dropping their season-opener to Limon, the Wildcats have won 14 straight heading into this week. They’ll visit Idalia on Friday and then host Genoa-Hugo on Saturday.
Fleming and Prairie will spend Valentine’s Day at NJC, with the winner remaining a game behind Briggsdale in the North Central. If Prairie wins, the Mustangs could earn a share of the league crown with a victory over Briggsdale next week. Those two have played twice so far, with the Falcons winning both games in close fashion. Fleming gets a share of the title with a win on Friday, one against Peetz next Tuesday, and a Prairie victory over Briggsdale.
Fowler pushed its winning streak to 11 with lopsided victories over Rye and Swink last week. The Grizzlies sit atop the 2A Santa Fe, one game clear of Holly. This week, they host Hoehne, who they beat by 11 two weeks ago on the road, and visit Crowley County.
Sterling lost its third game of the year to a top three opponent, falling 60-52 at home last Thursday to No. 2 Lutheran. The other losses for the Tigers came against Scottsbluff, the No. 3 team in Nebraska’s Class B, and to the top-ranked team in Class 3A, Resurrection Christian. Those losses have been by a total of 23 points, with none by more than nine. They trail Rez by one game in the Patriot League standings.
Lamar is one game up in the win column on Salida for fourth place in the Tri-Peaks, but the Spartans own the tie-breaker. This is important because the top four seeds receive a first round bye in the league tournament. The Savages visit seventh place James Irwin on Friday, and then host sixth place La Junta next Tuesday to close out the regular season. The Tigers are only one game back of Lamar in the loss column, so that rivalry game could be extra heated. Salida closes with ninth place CSCS and 11th place Buena Vista.
For Kit Carson’s girls, it was the same story as their boys, as they also claimed the High Plains title after beating Cheraw 67-43. This marks the sixth straight league title for Kit Carson. Their clash with Genoa-Hugo on Saturday will feature two teams that will be in the mix in the south region.
Springfield and South Baca are also in that discussion, and those two meet next Thursday. If Springfield defeats Wiley on Friday, that game will be for the league championship in the Ark Valley.
The North Central is still a toss up between Briggsdale and Fleming, as both picked up a lopsided league win last week, and each also knocked off a ranked opponent last Saturday. For the Lady Falcons, they handed Shining Mountain a 53-46 loss. They are responsible for both losses on the record of Shining Mountain, as they won 54-36 back in December. Fleming used a career-high 33 point effort from Whitney Chintala to beat Genoa-Hugo 56-42. Prairie trails both teams in the standings by two games, with a game against each still on the slate.
Lone Star picked up three wins last week, beating Prairie (50-46), Deer Trail (56-18), and Longmont Christian (59-28). The Lady Longhorns have won six straight since suffering their only loss of the season to Shining Mountain back on Jan. 21st. They remain the favorite in the YWKC, but still have games with Bethune on Friday and Arickaree/Woodlin next Friday.
Holyoke has all but wrapped up the Lower Platte, as the Lady Dragons lead the division by two games with two remaining. A win over either Akron on Thursday or Caliche on Friday will give them the league title. Yuma, Sedgwick County, and Wray are in the mix for second.
The fight for the Santa Fe continues to look as if it will go down to the wire. Rye visited Hoehne on Tuesday and a win would keep the Lady Thunderbolts perfect inside the league, with a non-conference game against Simla on Saturday. Rocky Ford also had a Tuesday game, as the Lady Meloneers hosted Swallows Charter. A win in that game and one more at Holly on Friday, would set the stage for next Tuesday. Rye and Rocky Ford are a combined 31-0 to begin the week. Their meeting will be in Rocky Ford.
After a two-game skid, Brush got back on track with wins over Strasburg and Frontier Academy last week. They are tied with Platte Valley for third in the 3A Patriot, with a final showdown against the Lady Broncos on tap next Tuesday. First, the Lady Diggers have to get through a busy schedule this week, that began on Tuesday at Liberty Common. They’ll be on the road Friday to visit Estes Park and then will be back in the Beet Cellar on Saturday to host Alliance (NE).
La Junta begins the week in fifth place in the Tri-Peaks, a spot that would have the Lady Tigers playing an opening round game in the league tournament. They trail Buena Vista by one game for fourth, but last to the Lady Demons 38-20 last Friday. The Lady Tigers were at league-leading St. Mary’s on Wednesday, and will host Ellicott on Saturday. They’re on the road next Tuesday for the rivalry game against Lamar.