Having “wrestled” with whether or not to compete – he chose not to – his freshman year, Daniel Westbrook completed a solid three-year career this winter with not only a second consecutive podium finish at the Class 3A wrestling state championships inside Denver’s Pepsi Center but also a well-deserved All-Intermountain League First Team selection.
Improving his standing in the 220-pound weight division from fifth at the 2018 grand finale to fourth in 2019, the Bayfield senior finished the winter with a 3-2 showing at state – as he’d done last year – upping his overall record to an outstanding 35-6.
Westbrook went 35-13 as a junior and, appropriately, 16-17 as a 195-pounder in the 2016-17 season, giving him, from all available accounts, an impressive 86-36 career varsity record.
As one would expect after earning the 3A team title, Alamosa dominated the First Team All-IML list, with senior 126-pound state champion Joe Chavez (46-4) and senior 113-pounder Elijah De La Cerda (41-7, third at state) sharing Wrestler of the Year honors.
The Mean Moose also landed sophomore 106-pounder Davion Chavez (39-7, second at state), junior 132-pounder Colton Liddell (38-10, fourth at state), senior 138-pounder Tyler Kennison (40-9), senior 152-pounder Kolten Hillis (40-11, sixth at state), and senior heavyweight Logan Thompson (40-7, state runner-up).
State-qualifying senior Montezuma-Cortez Panthers Matthew Broughton and Swayde Noyes, both under the direction of IML Coach of the Year Shad Bellmire, also earned first team all-league, after Broughton finished his senior year 43-6 with a fourth-place state finish at 152, and Noyes 30-13 with a state berth at 182.
Pagosa Springs sophomore 145-pound state champion Cameron Lucero (46-1) and senior state-placers Ian Reinhardt (35-14, sixth at 170) and Caleb Janowsky (34-7, fifth at 195) all landed on the first team.
Centauri’s only Class 2A state champions, seniors Zach Martin (44-7 at 145) and Bennie Chacon (23-4 at heavyweight), were also easy first team All-Intermountain selections, while senior 132-pounder Tyler Vigil (43-8) represented 2A Monte Vista in the Mile High City.
Heading up the Honorable Mention All-IML picks, BHS junior John Foutz’s breakout 2018-19 season at 195 pounds ended with a fourth-place state finish for his first Pepsi Center podium in his first championships appearance, and his 39-7 record increased his three-year career counts to 72-33, leaving him well within reach of the benchmark 100-win plateau when his senior season begins.
ADDITIONAL 2019 HONORABLE MENTION ALL-INTERMOUNTAIN WRESTLING: Alamosa–Kason Smith (senior, 120, 30-15), Hunter Smith (junior, 145, 42-12), Austin Trujillo (junior, 220, 39-10, sixth at 3A state); Centauri–Zach Sandoval (senior, 160, 36-12, sixth at 2A state); Montezuma-Cortez–Kael Buffington (sophomore, 106, 30-13); Monte Vista–none; Pagosa Springs–Erik Wyman (sophomore, 113, 33-12), Connor Aragon (senior, 182, 33-12).
DID YOU KNOW: Previously ranked No. 1 in 3A at 220 by On The Mat late in the 2018-19 season – with Westbrook at No. 3 and Salida senior Eli Smith in between – was Fort Morgan senior James Hochanadel, brother-in-law of former Bayfield volleyball standout Gabriella Rifilato, who married James’ older brother Joe in December 2014.
Beginning their final state climbs on the bottom half of the division’s 16-man ladder, both Hochanadel and Westbrook ended up being stopped by the same foe; Hochanadel (39-4) fell 3-0 to Sierra’s Atsamaz Pliev in the consolation-round quarterfinals and did not make the podium, and the Stallion senior (33-2) went on to pin Westbrook 38 seconds into the third-place bout, avenging a 3-1 loss to the Wolverine in the winners’ bracket quarters.
As a Fort Morgan junior in 2008, Joe Hochanadel earned the Class 4A state championship at 215 pounds.