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Welcome to the Mullen wrestling page. While the Mustangs are in search of their first team Colorado title, the all-time leader is Rocky Ford with 12, followed closely by Alamosa and Montrose with 11 each, and Holly, Ponderosa and Wray, which all have won 10. Mullen will compete in the Centennial League, comprised of Class 5A teams, then shift to 3A in the postseason. The Mustangs will be in the 3A Central Region with Alameda, Conifer, Denver West, Eagle Valley, Elizabeth, Englewood, Faith Christian, Lamar, Middle Park, Moffat County, Platte Canyon, Skyview and Steamboat Springs.



Mustangs grappling with improvement and eye on postseason

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

The ups. The downs. The punishment. The preparation. The rewards.

Mullen’s Mustangs are experiencing all of them and more on the mats.

Wrestlers have gotten back in full swing after the holiday break. They finished in fifth place of their own invitational the past weekend and on Thursday night dropped a dual meet to rival Cherry Creek 48-27 in Greenwood Village.

First-year coach John Howes, a former Mullen assistant, said “we’re young. Holy smokes, we’re young! But we’re coming along.”

Perhaps the top two Mullen competitors, Dimitris Flores and Sebastian Campos, headed the showing in the 10-team tournament. Campos finished first at 170 pounds and Flores took second at 152. Plus, Dante Silva (Hwt.) managed third.

As for the dual meet against the Bruins, which began with the rotation of weights at heavyweight, it was tied at 27-all through 160s. However, Cherry Creek won the final four matches, two by fall.

“It was fun,” said Flores, who earned a 20-8 major decision at 152. “I wish the final score held up better, but it’s all right. This doesn’t matter; it’s all about regionals and state.”

Both teams forfeited at multiple weights and Blake Machock earned a pin at 113.

“Blake took his opportunity,” said Howes, adding that “some of them have to trust us (as coaches) when they go out there.”

Mullen, which will compete in the Class 3A postseason, will get a taste of it over the next two weekends. From Friday-Saturday, the Mustangs will be in Florence for the Mel Smith Husky Invitational that will have more than two dozen mid-range schools, many of the top programs.

“It’s going to be like the state tournament,” Howes said. “It will be a gauge of what we have to work on.”

A week later, Mullen will have dual meets with Smoky Hill and Jefferson before heading to Kersey for more top 3A competition, a series of dual meets held at Platte Valley.

“I’m pleased with the progress,” Howes said. “It’s a tough sport. We just need to keep going.”

Said Flores: “We need to keep working hard and getting ready for regionals and state.”

Mustangs wrestlers compete at always tough NCCT

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

In the always demanding Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament that annually draws gobs of elite wrestlers, Mullen had two competitors advance to the second day through consolations.

Held Friday-Saturday at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, the Mustangs’ Dimitris Flores and Sebastian Campos experienced some success through wrestlebacks.

Flores, a senior and two-time state qualifier who missed the postseason as a junior with a concussion, dropped his opening match at 152 pounds to Miles Beam of Roosevelt by fall in 3 minutes, 45 seconds. Beam went on to finish seventh. Flores responded by winning four consecutive matches, including one by pin and another by major decision, before losing 7-0 to Canon City’s Zach Hanenberg, who finished sixth.

Campos, at 170 and also a senior, opened the tournament with three consecutive quick pins in 1:16, 27 seconds and 1:36. He was then pinned by Brighton’s Tarron Adams in 3:13. Into the consolations, Campos was pinned in 1:58 by Mason Repshire, also of Canon City.

Each weight class had brackets of 64 wrestlers. Mullen was 51st in the field of 65 teams. Windsor was first with 230.5 points. Next were Pueblo East (214) and Poudre (207.5). Mullen had 31.

The Mustangs will be idle until after the holiday break. They will host a multi-team tournament on Jan. 6.

Wrestlers place at Denver North, drop two duals

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Below are summaries of Mullen’s past three wrestling matches:

The Mustangs were dominated in a home dual meet on Wednesday night, falling to Centennial’s Eaglecrest 57-12.

They were able to take three bouts.

At 126 pounds, Aaron Gonzales earned an 8-4 decision.

Dimitris Flores (152) took a hard-fought 5-4 decision capped by a last-second takedown.

And Sebastian Campos won by quick pin at 170 – a fall in only 24 seconds.

In the Denver North Invitational the past weekend, several Mustangs placed.

Flores (152), Cole Nading (160) and Max Thenell (195) each earned runner-up showings. And Campos (170) was third.

In the past week’s dual against Centennial’s Arapahoe, Mullen was able to win four bouts, all by fall, in a 57-24 defeat.

 At 126, Nick Machock won in the second period, at 2:56.

Flores (152) and Campos (170) had quick pins – Flores won in 23 seconds and Campos in 42.

And Thenell won his 195 bout in 2:35.

Next for the Mustangs is the annual holiday gathering up north, hosted by University at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland. Held from Friday-to-Saturday, the field will be full of high-end competitors.

Wrestlers handle Fort Lupton 44-21 in a dual

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

“I didn’t think it was going to happen.”

But it did and John Howes earned his first dual-meet victory as Mullen’s new wrestling head coach and it was accomplished thoroughly. The Mustangs handled visiting Fort Lupton 44-21. Not that Howes, a former assistant for the Mustangs for a couple of years as well as longtime figure in Arvada, was pumping up himself or taking note of the situation… no, he was most excited about further evolvement of his wrestlers.

“They did well, listened and went out there with intensity,” Howes said of winning in the school’s historic gymnasium. It was good to sit back and watch them.”

Senior Dimitris Flores, a 152-pounder and two-time state qualifier – he suffered a concussion and missed regionals the past season – was impressive with a major decision at 152 pounds.

“It was good and our intensity was up,” he said. “We just need to keep this flow.”

Sebastian Campos (182) also earned a major decision and said “I listened to the coaches and they helped me through it, as usual.”

Campos is working to down to 170 “and you can definitely feel how much bigger they are (at 182) … I just need to keep working and break their souls.”

Senior Max Thenell (195) and heavyweight Dante Silva both were impressive with first-period pins, Thenell winning in 1 minute, 7 seconds, and Silva in 1:30.

Mullen also benefitted from multiple forfeits by the Blue Devils,

“It will fill in, guys will get down to weight,” Howes said of completing his 14-weight lineup. “And some guys will have enough practices in … tonight it worked out well where I could fill the holes and put kids in situations.”

Mullen had started the season against Class 5A power Grandview, which flexed its muscles in a 67-9 pounding on opening-night. The Mustangs had seven forfeits, but managed victories by Flores at 152 with a 4-3 decision and 195, where Thenell trailed 5-4 before winning by fall in 4:31.

The Mustangs then had a series of tournament duals in a weekend gathering at Golden. They went 2-3, beating Platte Canyon and Strasburg, and losing to Golden, Mountain Vista and Thomas Jefferson.

 At Golden, Howes said, “we did well match-wise; team-wise, it was horrible and we forfeited a lot of matches.”

But they seem to be finding their way and are looking forward to significant competition before the holiday break. On Thursday, Dec. 7, the Mustangs will host Arapahoe at 7 p.m., then be at the Denver North Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 9. Howes said the junior-varsity tournament that was supposed to take place at the same time (at Smoky Hill) was cancelled, so there should be varsity opportunities available.

And next week will involve a dual meet against Eaglecrest as well as one of the biggies of the season, the University-run invitational at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland.

Excitement abounds, notably for Flores, who’s 7-0 and knows where he wants to head.

“There’s stuff I can work on to get better as the season goes on,” he said, “but all that matters (are) regionals and state.”

And Howes seems to be pleased with his competitors.

“You know, I am,” he said. “They’re in shape, there’s no doubt. We’re still working on the intensity, but it’s good.”

Mustangs grapplers have new look, new coach

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

The new look for Mullen wrestling is right in front.

Former assistant coach John Howes, who also headed Arvada in Jefferson County for 16 years, has taken over the Mustangs after serving as an assistant with Mullen for two seasons.

Howes, who has 28 years on the job, including at Green Mountain in Lakewood, won numerous coaching awards and tutored multiple champions, said he foresees little change in terms of leadership in taking over for Vince Massey.

“After assisting with Vince the past two years, we were on the same page to begin with,” Howes said.

The Mustangs opened practice with 31 hopefuls and Howes said he expects the roster to be carried by 25-to-26 wrestlers.

A handful of Mustangs made the trip to the Pepsi Center a year ago for the Colorado tournament. Dimitris Flores, Mullen’s lone two-time state qualifier, will wrestle at either 145 or 152 pounds. Senior Sebastian Campos, another qualifier, will handle 170. Aaron Gonzales (126) and Cole Nading (152 or 160) also are in search of another state trip.

After the holidays, Howes said, John Sumner, a transfer from Faith Christian (he was at 126 a year ago), will be eligible after being forced to sit out the first half of the season.

Mullen lost other qualifiers and challengers through injury or health problems, but Howes remains optimistic.

“If they stay focused all year, we can definitely get four or five into the state tournament and I think three or four can place,” he said.

However, he added, “the difficult thing is this is the first time I’ve coached outside the building in 19 years, and being an assistant didn’t bother me as much, but being the head coach and not being in the building could be a little bit difficult.”

Difficult? Mullen’s schedule will be difficult. “Tough as hell,” is how Howes put it. The Mustangs will open the season with a Centennial League foe, Grandview, on Nov. 30. Next will be the Golden tournament, a couple of duals, then the Northern Colorado Tournament in Loveland from Dec. 15-16.

In addition to matches against the likes of Arapahoe, Cherry Creek, Overland, Cherokee Trail, etc., in 5A league, also look for a trip to the Mel Smith Husky Invitational in Florence Tournament Jan. 12-13, when the Mustangs will go against most of the top 3A and 2A schools, then a trip to the 3A regionals, the Central group, Feb. 9-10 at Englewood.

The state tournament will be Feb. 15-17.

Mullen's John Howes promoted to wrestling head coach

By Mullen Staff

Mullen is pleased to announce John Howes as its new head wrestling coach.

Athletic director Vince Massey stated: “We are thrilled to welcome Coach Howes to the Mullen community.  Coach Howes’ résumé speaks for itself, and he has been a major contributor to Mullen’s wrestling success these past two years (as an assistant).  We believe Coach Howes is the perfect coach to lead Mullen wrestling into the future.”

Howes, in his 28-year coaching career, has placed 32 wrestlers in the state tournament, coached nine state champions, had three wrestlers selected to All-Colorado teamz, two wrestlers named as wrestler of the year, and had two wrestlers receive the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award.  Other additional accomplishments in his many years of service on the mat include an NFSHCA National Championship with two runner-up finishes and nine total placers.  Five of those wrestlers finished in the top 20 of the NFSHCA.

Mr. Howes has spent the last two seasons working as a Mullen assistant coach, and brings to his new position a wealth of coaching experience.  He was an assistant wrestling coach at Green Mountain for eight years and at Arvada for two years.  He was Arvada’s head coach for 16 years and was a two-time all-state coach, a Jeffco 4A coach of the year, and a three-time Jeffco coach of the year.

An in-state teacher for the past 27 years, John loves to travel the world and has been on 20 building-service projects throughout Mexico, Eleuthria, and Central America.  Lisa, his wife of 29 years, and John have two sons, Brock and Bolton.  Brock is currently a student at North Park University in Chicago, and Bolton is working on a PHD Fellowship at Princeton University.

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