Jake Welch played golf last fall for Valor Christian and tied for seventh in the Class 4A state tournament. Easton Cecil was a senior running back and defensive end on the Eagles football team. Both …
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Jake Welch played golf last fall for Valor Christian and tied for seventh in the Class 4A state tournament.
Easton Cecil was a senior running back and defensive end on the Eagles football team.
Both ventured into the wrestling room once their respective fall seasons concluded.
Welch and Cecil were key contributors as the three-man Eagles team collected 40 points and finished 17th in the team standings at the Class 4A State Wrestling Championships, which concluded Feb. 17 at the Pepsi Center.
In the 170-pound bracket, Welch notched three wins in the consolation bracket after opening the tournament with a loss and defeated Mason Repshire of Canon City, 12-1, to capture third place.
Cecil advanced to the quarterfinals of the 220-pound championship bracket before losing a close match to eventual state champion Dante Garcia of Pueblo County, 1-0. He lost a semifinal consolation match but edged James Hochanadel of Fort Morgan, 3-1, to finish fifth.
Valor junior Payton Polson was fourth at 160 pounds, losing to Marcus Martinez of Pueblo South, 2-1, in the third-place match. Polson had also advanced to the championship quarterfinals, and won his semifinal consolation match before losing to Martinez.
Welch compiled a 31-4 record this season and already has his sights set on the 2018-19 wrestling season.
“Wrestling is a little different from golf,” he said. “On the golf course you kind of have constant pressure on you to perform well and here you have pressure, get it done, have a little break, get some rest and get back into it.
“The state tournament was a huge success. I'm only a junior and I can come back next year and hopefully do some damage. For sure, I'm going to golf, too.”
Cecil was making his fourth trip to the state wrestling tournament.
“I came to the tournament wanting to finish as high as possible,” he said. “ My loss in the semis (consolation) was a little rough on me but this is my best finish in four years.
“I continued wrestling because of the edge it gave me in football. It gave me the ability to find heart and something deep."
Valor was the lone school from Highlands Ranch in the 4A tournament.
ThunderRidge, paced by a fifth-place finish by Jaret Strasheim, was 24th in the Class 5A standings.
Mountain Vista was 39th and Highlands Ranch 40th.
Vista's Nico Gonzalez at 285 pounds won two consolation matches but lost in the third round. Dennon Parks, Highlands Ranch' only wrestler, lost a second-round 145-pound match in the championship draw and was eliminated from medal contention with a loss in the third round of consolation.
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