Photo by John Leyba, Mullen Sports Photographer

Wrestling Home

Welcome to the Mullen wrestling page. While the Mustangs are in search of their first team Colorado title, the all-time leaders are Alamosa and Rocky Ford with 12, followed closely by Montrose and Wray with 11, Holly and Ponderosa with 10, and Denver North and Grand Junction with nine. Mullen, which will begin the season with 28 hopefuls, 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, Arvada, Eagle Valley, Eaton, Elizabeth, Englewood, Jefferson, Middle Park, Sheridan, Skyview, Strasburg and Weld Central.

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Sumner wins, Damian in consos

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

John Sumner was stirred as opposed to shaken.

Of course, he was motivated in his first trip to the Pepsi Center for the Colorado wrestling championships, but he also had his emotions under control.

So his pin of Isaiah Tigert of Grand Valley in 1 minute, 11 seconds at Class 3A’s 145 pounds in preliminaries on Thursday was methodical, purposeful and not unexpected.

“Yeah, I was a little bit nervous,” the Mustangs junior said, “and I had to get out there and get it done before anything bad could happen.

“And I was the favorite to win that one, so I thought I may as well do it quick.”

Now 42-7, Sumner worked a two-point takedown in the opening seconds, gave up an escape, then rolled with Tigert to put him on his back for the fall.

“He started off the way we asked him,” Mustangs head coach John Howes said. “We asked him to set the pace right away and take care of business. It was a good first match and we need him to just slow down a little bit.”

Sumner said winning on Thursday “made me feel comfortable and I can wrestle like I can.”

Having missed regional rounds a year ago because of a heart problem, Sumner sent Tigert to the consolations. He will take on Jake Hamilton (34-8) of Colorado Springs Christian, another junior, in Friday morning’s quarterfinals.

“I’m excited to go out there and do my best,” Sumner said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Elsewhere, Mullen senior Angelo Damian was pinned in 5:03 at 285. He fell to top-seeded Logan Thompson of Alamosa. Damian is 36-12 and will meet Holy Family’s Jacob Barry (5-13), a freshman, in the consolations.

Friday’s quarterfinals will begin at 9 a.m., followed by first-round consolations. Second-round consolations will begin at 5 p.m. and semifinals, usually the top rounds of the event, will begin at 6:45 p.m., followed by another round of consolations.

 

State tickets for Sumner, Damian

 

Photos by John Leya, Mullen Sports Photographer

John Sumner, top, and Angelo Damian, below, will be in the Colorado wrestling meet that begins on Thursday.

 

Mustangs held to 2 qualifiers for Colorado Meet Thursday-Saturday

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

EDGEWATER – Do not try to tell John Sumner about the adage: What a difference a year makes.

He’ll tell you.

In 2018 and almost to the day, Sumner had a hole in his heart and had to be hospitalized for a procedure.

On Saturday, the Mullen junior capped a clean run through his bracket with a bye and three first-period pins as he impressively won the 145-pound weight class of the Northwestern Mutual Class 3A Region 3 held at Jefferson High School.

Now 41-7, Sumner advances to Thursday’s beginning of the Colorado tournament to be held at the Pepsi Center.

And he’s confident.

“Yeah, I came here to do a good job and get a good seed at state,” Sumner said. “I wasn’t worried about just qualifying anymore, I was just focused on earning the No. 1 seed, winning my bracket and doing as much as I could as fast as possible.”

No problem here – Sumner’s three matches combined didn’t last as long as a regulation match. After his bye, he ripped off pins in 1 minute, 47 seconds, 0:55 and 1:14.

If it appears that Sumner is peaking, it’s not an illusion.

“I am,” he said. “I’m wrestling really well lately. I’ve been strong on my feet and doing well.”

Said Mullen head coach John Howes: “I was nice. When he’s on, he’s on. When he’s confident, he can win. He doesn’t question things.”

In the final, Howes said, “he got the takedown, then worked for the pin. He had been leaving a lot of points on the mat. But he’s really confident right now, as he should be.”

The Mustangs had hoped to send multiple teammates with Sumner to state, but a rough few rounds arose and it took the last match of the day to add one. The Mustangs’ Angelo Damian won a wrestleback at 285 to qualify.

Damian, a senior and now 36-11, began his road to the Pepsi Center with a 6-0 decision. He was dispatched to the consolations after a 2-1 defeat, but responded with a pin in 2:29 and won his wrestleback in 2:33.

Howes had hoped for a couple of more qualifiers, but the younger part of his team, mostly freshmen in the lower weights, ran into some problems and learning experiences. Plus, Noah Linares (113), perhaps the most promising of the group, was ill for most of the week.

However, Howes said freshmen Max Gonzales (106) and Mark Troni (120) were among those who performed well and junior Nick Machock (132) made it to wrestlebacks.

“Worst-case scenario would be one (qualifying for state),:” Howes said. “We figured Johnny would be in … but some of them did well. And it’s always fun.”

Teamwise in the 14-team group, the Mustangs were seventh with 89 points. Eaton won with 212.5 to Eagle Valley’s 203.5. Next were: Elizabeth (180); Jefferson (169.5); Weld Central (147); and Skyview (138).

The brackets are to be released on Sunday.

 

Mat matters for girls, too

Photo by John Leyba, Mullen Sports Photographer

Alina Antillon won the 136-pound title bout on Saturday to beocme Mullen;s first female champion.r

 

Antillon is first Mustangs female to win a wrestling title

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

THORNTON – She was a young lady with few words afterward, not the boisterous female wrestler of the staged variety.

“It feels amazing,” Mullen freshman Alina Antillon said on Saturday, after winning a girls wrestling championship at Thornton.

The 136-pounder earned a 7-2 decision in the final against Peyton’s Samantha Krause-Mahan to cap a 20-1 historic season in which the sport for females is gaining ground and working toward sanctioning.

For the record, yes, there have been a couple of previous gatherings, but Saturday’s was being termed as the first year of a two-year pilot program to be recognized statewide and join the prep ranks in 2020-21.

Feeling like something of a pioneer, Antillon, who has been wrestling since her youth days with Pomona Elite, certainly enjoyed her run.

“This feels so good and the work I put into it was all worth it,” she said.

With the popularity of women’s boxing, participation in UFC events and women’s wrestling hitting the Olympics as contributing factors, schoolgirl grappling is on the doorstep of being a legitimate and accepted thing. Two years ago, there was a girls state field held at Frederick that had 80-plus entrants from 42 schools over seven weight classes, according to the Boulder Daily Camera. About 200 gathered a year ago as the weight classes grew to 10 and this year, officials said, there were an estimated 325 competitors from 114 schools.

While those aren’t drop-dead figures, the rate of growth is more important and being watched carefully. Plus, the winter season would be the ideal one of three during the school year to add another female sport.

As it was on Saturday, Thornton’s gymnasium and surrounding parking lots were crowded and virtually everything else was either matched or simulated from the boys tournament – including a parade of champions prior to the title bouts -- that has been going on since 1936 and will offer its latest version in a couple of weeks at the Pepsi Center.

Concerning Antillon, there also were the usual occurrences, such as her pacing before her bouts, concerned about meeting a competitor she defeated earlier, a long line of family and well-wishers that included Mustangs boys wrestlers, battling in a featured bout and proudly standing atop the podium.

She first pinned Marianna Estrada of Thomas Jefferson in 1 minute, 21 seconds, and followed with a rousing 13-12 decision of Nanen Aguilar of Burlington.

“That was the one,” Mullen wrestling coach John Howes said. “Coming back after getting pinned last week was something.”

In the final, Antillon never trailed, got the first takedown, earned some back points and only surrendered a couple of stalling points over the final minute.

Included among her following was Mustangs junior John Sumner (145), who wrestled with Antillon back in their youth days.

“She wrestled well and did a great job,” Sumner said.

Mullen athletic director Vince Massey, the team’s previous head coach, said he was as nervous as he ever was for one of the school’s wrestlers before a bout, but also knew Antillon would make program history as the first female to win a state crown, non-sanctioned or otherwise.

“I called it,” he said.

Antillon has stated she wants to be a four-time winner. Now, she has one and can look to the future.

“Definitely,” she said. “More girls will be joining, especially in Colorado.”

 

RESULTS

Team scores — Chatfield 54.5, Loveland 47, Mountain Vista 33, Skyview 32, Arapahoe 31, Douglas County 27, Doherty 25, Delta 24, Vista Ridge 22, Las Animas 21, Mullen 20, Prairie View 20, Peyton 18, ThunderRidge 18, Denver South 16, Fort Lupton 16, Lewis-Palmer 16, Ponderosa 16, Pueblo Central 16, Burlington 15.5, Chaparral 14, Denver North 14, Montrose 11, Holyoke 9, Northridge 9, Olathe 9, Mead 8, Eaglecrest 7, Thomas Jefferson 6, Fruita Monument 4, Mountain Range 4, Sierra Grande-Centennial 4, Air Academy 3, Calhan 3, Grand Valley 3, John F. Kennedy 3, Overland 3, Vista Peak 3, Heritage 2, Poudre 2, Yuma 1.

Championship Matches

100 — Alvarado, Prairie View, dec. Perez, Ponderosa, 4-0.

105 — Johnson, Mtn. Vista, maj. dec. Steele, L-P, 8-0.

111 — Felan, Las Animas, dec. Herrera, Skyview, 3-2.

118 — Koch, Delta, pin Bankes, Loveland, 2:52.

127 — Terpestra, Loveland, pin Savidge, Doherty, 4:44.

136 — Antillon, Mullen, dec. Krause-Mahan, Peyton, 7-2.

147 — Garcia, Chatfield, pin Aguiree, Skyview, 3:51.

161 — Mitchell, Vista Ridge, pin Harter, ThunderRidge, 1:54.

185 — Sams, Douglas Cty, pin Tanko, Denver South, 3:22.

215 — Dasialyn Barron, Fort Lupton, declared champion.

Third-place matches

100 — Ramos Cruz, Arapahoe, dec. Mosqueda, Holyoke, 5-3.

105 — McDonald, P. Central, pin Cummings, Northridge, :42.

111 — DeGraff, Denver North, pin Reyes, Mead, 3:52.

118 — Cosme, Chatfield, pin Huner, Doherty, 2:19.

127 — Fiordalis, Chap, maj. dec. Laskoski, Ft. Lupton, 10-1.

136 — Aguilar, Burlington, tech fall Myers, Montrose, 16-0.

147 — Sandoval, Mtn. Vista, dec. Gilliland, Arapahoe, 2-0.

161 — Mueller, Chatfield, pin Carlin, Loveland, 2:44.

185 — Plummer, Arapahoe, pin Alejandro, Olathe, 4:22.

 

Alina Antillon set to make history

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

What makes a girl wrestle?

In Alina Antillon’s case, she “constantly” was attending younger brother Gilbert’s practices, she said, and “I would be sitting there and had always talked about wanting to try it.”

So she did, here she is and the Mullen freshman will be there Saturday at Thornton High for what is being termed as a pilot program for girls wrestling to be sanctioned. At 136 pounds, Antillon is the lone Mustang female competitor and loving it.

“I guess I just love the challenge behind it and how it forces you to push yourself, just being able to push myself to my own limits and reaching beyond limits,” she said. “And do great things.”

The 14-year-old Colorado native, certainly a Double-A, has been moved like other girls of the sport’s sudden surge in popularity that’s arguably gaining its most attention.

“I think the fact that there have been girls pioneers encouraging girls to do it, especially with the first girl taking gold in the Olympics in 2016, and just bringing awareness makes girls do it and it’s not just a guys’ sport,” she said. “It helps encourage their friends to join.”

Friends with John Sumner, Mullen’s junior 145-pounder, since wrestling as youths for Pomona Elite, Antillon said “we talk about different techniques and moves.” She seems to understand tactics. “Definitely,” she replied when asked if there’s a big difference in female and male wrestling. “Boys and girls in general have different wrestling styles, probably things a girl would do the right way that a boy wouldn’t. There’s also a physical difference where the strength is … usually, girls are stronger with their hips and lower body, and boys are stronger with their upper body.”

Antillon has practice with the Mustangs boys in addition to her own workouts. She certainly understands what it’s like to feel alone in the sport, but it’s changing.

“I’m actually used to being the only girl because that’s how it was when I started with Pomona Elite,” she said. “It’s not anything new to me. It doesn’t bother me; I like it. And I do think it’s cool, but I would love to grow it at Mullen.”

So would a lot of others, including Mustangs athletic director Vince Massey, the former head coach.

“Alina is an incredibly competitive, driven wrestler,” he said. “She is as intense as any wrestler I’ve coached. She has fit in well with our team and is getting more coachable and more mat savvy with every match.

“With girls wrestling rising in our state, Alina is a rising star in this sport … she is gonna make a lot of noise in this sport before she is through.”

Just as interesting as a student, Antillon has a 4.0 grade-point average, and had a 4.2 GPA in the most recent marking period. She had attended the Academy of Charter schools as well as the Universal Learning Center online. A fan of “working ahead,” she said, she enjoys the Mullen atmosphere and its people.

With a 15-0 record during the regular season, she was 2-1 in regionals and will be in the opening round on Saturday at Thornton beginning at 10:30 a.m. Antillon will need three victories to become champion. The day will run into 4 p.m., when finals will begin and she wants to be there, wants to bring a title to Mullen, a unique one.

“It would be amazing to me,” she said, “because my ultimate goal is to win a state championship and be a four-time state champion.”

Massey wouldn’t be surprised.

“I believe she will be the first female state wrestling champion for Mullen,” he said. “She is gonna take the female division by storm.”

However, even if she does, don’t count on her continuing on the mat. No, Antillon has higher aspirations – she wants to become a brain surgeon and her education will always come first, unless the female wresting landscape changes.

“I’m striving to get into an Ivy League college and they don’t have wrestling teams,” she said. “They do have wrestling, such as Brown and Cornell, they have notable teams; they just don’t have girls wrestling teams yet, so I’m really more interested in the academic aspects of colleges. I’m not going to settle for a mediocre school that’s not as good.”

No one who knows her would think otherwise.

 

Mustangs finish 5th at Platte Valley

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Mullen placed fifth at the Platte Valley Duals in Kersey on Saturday.

Highlands won the 16-team gathering. The host Broncos were followed by Evergreen and Chaparral.

The matches included a mix of classifications as well as some split squads and junior-varsity teams.

Mullen won four duals against one loss. The Mustangs opened with a 45-18 victory over Holyoke; lost to 39-30 to the Broncos; handled Wiggins 54-30; beat Strasburg 57-24; and finished by taking out a team from Arvada West 52-30.

For the Mustangs, Noah Linares (113), Aaron Gonzales (126), Nick Machock (132), John Sumner (145) and Angelo Damian (Hwt.) swept through their five matches.

Below are Mullen results provided by trackwrestling.com:

MATCH 1

Mullen 45, Holyoke 18

  • 106 - Maximus Gonzales (Mullen) over Jessica Mosqueda (Holyoke) Maj 14-2
  • 113 - Noah Linares (Mullen) over Jaqudine Mosqueda (Holyoke) Fall 0:31
  • 120 - Mark Troni (Mullen) won by forfeit
  • 126 - Aaron Gonzales (Mullen) won by forfeit
  • 132 - Nick Machock (Mullen) won by forfeit
  • 145 - John Sumner (Mullen) over Jesus Trejo (Holyoke) TF 16-0
  • 152 - Cole Nading (Mullen) over Deacon Dittmer (Holyoke) Fall 1:04
  • 160 - Luis Chafino (Holyoke) over Patrick Grahm (Mullen) Fall 1:05
  • 170 - Michael Ramos (Holyoke) over Joseph Meade (Mullen) Fall 1:20
  • 182 - Andy Lopez (Holyoke) over Joseph Trujillo (Mullen) Fall 1:17
  • 195 - Double Forfeit
  • 220 - Double Forfeit
  • 285 - Angelo Damian (Mullen) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf

MATCH 2

Platte Valley 39, Mullen 30

  • 106 - Maximus Gonzales (Mullen) over Nicholas Dill (Platte Valley ) Dec 14-8
  • 113 - Noah Linares (Mullen) over Cass Cure (Platte Valley ) Fall 1:02
  • 120 - Orrin Jackson (Platte Valley ) over Mark Troni (Mullen) Dec 4-3
  • 126 - Aaron Gonzales (Mullen) over Logan Curtis (Platte Valley ) Maj 11-2
  • 132 - Nick Machock (Mullen) won by forfeit
  • 138 - Dillion Riesener (Platte Valley) won forfeit
  • 145 - John Sumner (Mullen) over William Cockroft (Platte Valley ) TF 19-3
  • 152 - Jed Sidwell (Platte Valley) over Cole Nading (Mullen) Fall 4:41
  • 160 - Josh Yancey (Platte Valley) over Patrick Grahm (Mullen) Fall 0:47
  • 170 - Ethan Malovich (Platte Valley) over Joseph Meade (Mullen) Fall 0:21
  • 182 - Colton Moore (Platte Valley) over Joseph Trujillo (Mullen) Fall 0:18
  • 195 - Jeremiah Garcia (Platte Valley) won by forfeit
  • 220 - Double Forfeit
  • 285 - Angelo Damian (Mullen) won by forfeit

MATCH 3

Mullen 54, Wiggins 30

  • 106 - Marc Barkdoll (Wiggins) over Maximus Gonzales (Mullen) Fall 0:24
  • 113 - Noah Linares (Mullen) over Shaelon Barnum (Wiggins) Fall 1:30
  • 120 - Mark Troni (Mullen) over Destiny Marquez (Wiggins) Fall 0:18
  • 126 - Aaron Gonzales (Mullen) won by forfeit
  • 132 - Nick Machock (Mullen) over Alex Hishinuma (Wiggins) Fall 3:01
  • 138 - Brynden Wilson (Wiggins) won by forfeit
  • 145 - John Sumner (Mullen) over Ryder Baessler (Wiggins) Fall 1:02
  • 152 - Cole Nading (Mullen) won by forfeit
  • 160 - Patrick Grahm (Mullen) over Caiden Lee (Wiggins) Fall 3:29
  • 170 - Joseph Meade (Mullen) won by forfeit
  • 182 - Lukas Carpentar (Wiggins) over Joseph Trujillo (Mullen) Fall 0:28
  • 195 - Dillon Harshman (Wiggins) won by forfeit
  • 220 - Devon Harshman (Wiggins) won by forfeit
  • 285 - Angelo Damian (Mullen) over Bano Villareal (Wiggins) Fall 1:19

MATCH 4

Mullen 57, Strasburg 24

  • 126 - Aaron Gonzales (Mullen) over Gabriel Erdahl (Strasburg) TF 15-0
  • 132 - Nick Machock (Mullen) over Sean Nelson (Strasburg) Fall 1:15
  • 138 - Jakob Pachl (Strasburg) won by forfeit
  • 145 - John Sumner (Mullen) over Logan Holdredge (Strasburg) Fall 2:30
  • 152 - Cole Nading (Mullen) won by forfeit
  • 160 - Patrick Grahm (Mullen) won by forfeit
  • 170 - Blake Coombs (Strasburg) over Joseph Meade (Mullen) Fall 2:35
  • 182 - Joseph Trujillo (Mullen) won by forfeit
  • 195 - Trevor Smith (Strasburg) won by forfeit
  • 220 - Chad Sutherland (Strasburg) won by forfeit
  • 285 - Angelo Damian (Mullen) won by forfeit
  • 106 - Maximus Gonzales (Mullen) won by forfeit
  • 113 - Noah Linares (Mullen) over Spencer Nuttall (Strasburg) TF 20-2
  • 120 - Mark Troni (Mullen) over Riley Thwaits (Strasburg) Fall 1:42

MATCH 5

Mullen 52, Arvada West 30

  • 132 - Nick Machock (Mullen) over Wyatt Blomquist (Arvada West) Fall 4:45
  • 138 – Kyler Tate (Arvada West) won by forfeit
  • 145 - John Sumner (Mullen) over Dallas Porter (Arvada West) Fall 5:20
  • 152 - Cole Nading (Mullen) over Braden Ward (Arvada West) Fall 0:55
  • 160 - Patrick Grahm (Mullen) over Grant Cuneo (Arvada West) Fall 1:39
  • 170 - Joseph Meade (Mullen) won by forfeit
  • 182 – Wolloughby Rothrock (Arvada West) over Joseph Trujillo (Mullen) Fall 1:46
  • 195 – Elijah Olson (Arvada West) won by forfeit
  • 220 - Brian Mack (Arvada West) won by forfeit
  • 285 - Angelo Damian (Mullen) over Justin Lepke (Arvada West) Fall 2:36
  • 106 – Mitchell Romero (Arvada West) over Maximus Gonzales (Mullen) Fall 0:17
  • 113 - Noah Linares (Mullen) over NICK KOBS (Arvada West) Fall 0:25
  • 120 - Mark Troni (Mullen) over Rndy Marroquin (Arvada West) TF 16-1
  • 126 - Aaron Gonzales (Mullen) over Colton Brooks (Arvada West) Fall 0:51

 

Dual loss, but three solid victories

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

AURORA – While the quantity of Mullen wrestling is growing and gaining experience as it reloads, the quality seems to be excelling at a more rapid rate.

Indeed, the Mustangs were rolled in a dual meet 66-17 by Class 5A Grandview on Thursday, but remember that the Wolves are ranked No. 2 as a team in the big-school group by On The Mat and eight team members are also rated in weight classes.

But while Grandview won 11 of the 14 matches, the Mustangs’ Noah Linares, John Sumner and Angelo Damian earned impressive victories and admittedly are peeking toward the postseason.

Linares won by technical fall at 113 pounds, and Sumner (145) and Damian (Hwt.) each earned second-period pins. Plus, Mustangs head coach John Howes cited the work of others who are learning on the job, notably that making a mistake on this level usually spells defeat.

“Yeah, they did well,” Howes said. “And Mark (Troni, 113) is getting there and Max (Gonzales, 106) is getting there … we’re getting there and they’re slowly trusting what we’re telling them. The improvement with them all year, week-to-week, has been fun to watch.’’

The bouts began at 132, so Sumner, a junior, was up first and pinned the Wolves’ Matt Frye in 2 minutes, 51 seconds.

There’s history between the two – Sumner said he had wrestled Frye three times in middle school and lost every time. By pin.

“It felt good,” said Sumner, now 30-6. “I’m just going to keep working hard.”

Sumner also mentioned “chasing a state title,” as did Damian, who also won by pin in 2:51 on a power move against Grandview’s Joaquin Barron.

Ever tactical in his approach as a 270-pounder, Damian said Barron “went to toss me. I dropped my hips and fell right into him. It was nice, a good position.”

At 25-8, Damian added that he’s “chasing the podium (placing at state). I missed last year (with a shoulder injury in football), had to miss the whole season. But I went to camps and did a lot of strength training and am just trying to get back.”

Linares (21-3) won by technical fall, 17-0, at the buzzer as he was as thorough as he was methodical. He has moved up to fourth in his weight class, according to On The Mat, and had been looking forward to this level in grade school. And he was prepared.

“I knew it was going to be this way,” he said. “I put in the time and work, and it’s paying off.”

Sumner is rated sixth at 145 and Damian is No. 8 among 3A’s big boys.

Even with the state tournament drawing near, the Mustangs will have plenty of competition to improve and stay sharp. They will host Jefferson on Friday, Jan. 25, 7 p.m. A day later, they will participate in the Platte Valley Duals in Kersey, first bouts at 8 a.m.

 

Linares leads Mustangs in Florence

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Behind three placers, Mullen finished 17th in the 31-team Mel Smith Husky Invitational at Florence on Saturday.

The two-day event was won by Eagle Valley, which piled up 168 points. Eaton was second with 159.5.

Mustangs freshman Noah Linares grabbed a runner-up finish at 113 pounds. Now 20-5 on the season, Linares was the only Mullen competitor to make a championship bout. He dropped a two-point decision.

Junior John Sumner, 29-6, finished fifth at 145 with a major decision in the consolations.

And heavyweight Angelo Damian moved to 24-8 in 2018-19, losing a 1-0 decision to take fourth.

Mullen will resume action on Thursday, Jan 24, with a dual match at Grandview in Aurora, 7 p.m.

  

 

Mustangs take 3rd in own invitational

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sport Information Specialist

In their first action since before the holiday break, Mullen’s Mustangs showed well at their home tournament.

On Saturday, the Mustangs placed third in their Mullen Invitational. They totaled 133 points to the 171.5 compiled by a split squad from Grandview tat won the gathering and the 167 by Columbine that wewre good for runner-up.

Individually, Max Gonzales (106 pounds) and John Sumner (145) won their weight classes.

In addition, the Mustangs’ depth was relevant – grabbing third places were Blake Machock (113); Mark Troni (120), Aaron Gonzales (126) and Cole Nading (152); and placing fourth were Nick Machock (132), Joseph Trujillo (182), Cullen Martinez (195), Dion Fuentes (220) and Angelo Damian (Hwt.).

As for the rest of the team chase, Jefferson was fourth at 113, followed by Alameda International at 112.5; University 100; Pomona 81; Bear Creek 34; Mullen JV 21.5; and Lotus School 7.5.

The Mustangs will resume action on Wednesday, Jan.16, 7 p.m., against Arapahoe in the Centennial League.

 

Poor dual before heading to Loveland

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It was a rough night and wasn’t close to what they wanted, but Mullen is set to head into the biggest tournament of wrestling’s regular season.

The Mustangs dropped a dual match on the road on Thursday at Class 5A Cherokee Trail in Aurora, losing 48-18 in the team chase. They won only two matches, gained another victory through forfeit and had to forfeit seven others.

After wrestling well in earlier bouts, Mullen stumbled as a group heading into this weekend’s Old Chicago Northern Colorado Tournament in Loveland.

“We’ve got to pick up the intensity,” Mustangs head coach John Howes said. “We didn’t match up very well tonight. We did in a couple of them and that’s something we’ve been working on.”

Mullen 145-pouder John Sumner, a junior, earned a fall in 1 minute, 18 seconds and looked particularly motivated after he said he got kicked in the face early in the bout.

“Looking forward to going up to this tournament,” said Sumner, who has only lost once this season. “I sprained a knee a bit, but I’m doing well and just working hard to do my best and try to win some matches.”

And at heavyweight, senior Angelo Damian, ranked No. 5 in 3A, won by fall in 2:25 and it went in the usual fashion, he said, as “my matches go like that – feeling out (his opponent) in the first period, seeing how strong he is, what he’s trying to do … in the second period, I’ve got it figured out and just want to push the pace.”

Howes also said promising freshman Mark Troni “wrestled well, but he made one mistake and it cost him five points.” Troni, who already has won a couple of bouts after trailing by as many as seven points, fell 9-3 at 120.

The tourney in Loveland will be Friday and Saturday and include many of the state’s top wrestlers in each class.

 

Lineras, Sumner lift ‘Stangs to 4th at North

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Behind Noah Linares and John Sumner, Mullen finished in fourth place on Saturday at the seventh annual Viking Invitational at Denver North.

The Mustangs missed third by a half-point. First was Elizabeth (202), followed by Skyview (176). Third-place Frederick had 160 to the Mustangs’ 155.5

Linares, a freshman, moved to 12-0 on the season and swept through 113 pounds. Sumner, a junior, did likewise at 145 and improved to 11-1.

Cole Nading grabbed second at 160 to lead other placings that provided depth for Mullen. He was third at 120.  Max Gonzales (106), Aaron Gonzales (126), Nick Machock (132) and Angelo Damian (285) each finished fourth.

Max Gonzalez upped his record to 10-1 and Damian is 12-1.

The Mustangs will have a busy week before the holiday break. On Tuesday, Dec. 11, there’s a home dual meet against Bear Creek, 7 p.m.; another dual on Thursday, Dec. 13, at Cherokee Trail, 7 p.m.; then the Friday-Saturday, Dec. 14-15, Old Chicago Northern Colorado Tournament in Loveland.

 

Freshmen helping to boost Mustangs

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Mullen went down against Eaglecrest 45-30 in a dual meet on Thursday night at the Old Gym, but the Mustangs continued to move forward.

They won six matches, three by freshmen to open the competition, and continued to gain the necessary experience they’ll need in February.

“It’s nice to have some freshmen who can wrestle,” head coach John Howes said.

It certainly is. Max Gonzales (106 pounds), Noah Linares (113) and Mark Troni (120) rolled through the first three matches.

Gonzales muscled his way to a pin in 3 minutes, 24 seconds; Linares earned a 5-0 decision; and Troni earned a comeback victory by pinning with 1 second left in his match.

Linares, now 5-0, said he was pleased and “got my takedowns and got my legs and kept good control.” A former Pomona Elite competitor as a youth, Linares added that he’s thrilled being a Mustang and wrestling as “it’s not like other sports. You have to have discipline and keep your body in shape.”

Troni, who trailed in his Tuesday match 10-3 against Fort Lupton before rallying for a pin, did it again on Thursday. He was behind twice early, responded with a five-point move, overcome a later tie, then earned a fall at 5:59.

“I guess,” he said when asked if rallying is getting to be a trait of his early schoolboy career. “I just try to make something happen.”

The Mustangs’ Aaron Gonzales won a decision at 126 and the very skilled John Sumner, a junior, pinned in 1:53 at 145. Heavyweight Angelo Damian capped the evening with a fall in 1:34.

Mullen defeated Fort Lupton 60-22 on Tuesday with Troni, Nick Machock (132) and Deion Fuentes (220) winning falls. And on Saturday in a series of duals at Golden, the Mustangs earned team victories over the host Demons, Summit and Mountain Vista.

The one rough spot over the weekend in Golden, Howes said, “was we ran into Berthoud and we took some lumps. We wrestled much better (Thursday) and they came through.”

Next up is a tournament on Saturday at Denver North as the Vikings also will host Adams City, Arvada, Chaparral, Denver West, Elizabeth, Englewood, Estes Park, Frederick, Ponderosa, Skyline, Skyview, University and Woodland Park.

 

Troni, Sumner bright spots in opening loss

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

GREENWOOD VILLAGE – It’s difficult to forget your first time.

Mullen’s Mark Troni won’t forget his.

The Mullen freshman, in his first varsity wrestling match, grabbed control early and rolled to a superior decision as the Mustangs fell 52-35 in a season-opening dual meet at Cherry Creek.

At 120 pounds, Troni threatened to pin the Bruins’ Pierce Reisinger early in the first period, but settled for back points. He turned in a couple of other near-falls in winning 17-3.

“Yeah, it was fun. It was cool,” Troni said. “I was a little nervous coming in, but when I warmed up I knew I was ready.”

Mullen 145-pounder John Sumner, who figures to be at the front of all Mustangs’ efforts this season, was impressed.

“The kid works hard,” Sumner said.

He does, too, and it showed. Sumner, who experienced a heart problem the day of the past season’s regionals, won his match over Austin Luhring in a snappy 55 seconds and he wanted to make a splash in his first match.

“The biggest is always the first night of the year and it’s always good to get it it over with and get a win in front of the opposing crowd and make them gasp a bit,” Sumner said. “It’s just a lot of fun to go out there and get some competing in. It was huge.”

Mullen head coach John Howes agreed.

“You never know what you’re going to get,” he said of opening night.

As for Troni, he said, “I knew he had some skills,” and of Sumner, he said, “he’s tough.”

In addition, Howes said, “if I can get the rest of them to go out there the same way …”

It was actually a quick first night. Completion took less than a half-hour as there were eight forfeits as well as a bunch of quick pins.

Noah Linares (112), Cole Nading (160) and Angelo Damian (hwit.) didn’t get to compete and won by forfeits.

However, there will be plenty of matches this weekend, when the Mustangs head for five duals at Jefferson County’s Golden against a field comprised of Alameda International, Berthoud, Denver North, the host Demons, Eaglecrest, Elizabeth, Jefferson, Platte Canyon, Rangeview, Standley Lake, Summit and Thomas Jefferson.

 

WINTER PREVIEW ’18-19

Mustangs reloading on the mat with 28 hopefuls

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

(Note: Fifth in a series of previews for the 2018-19 winter season.)

It’s simple, yet complicated, and there’s really nothing easy about it.

So when Mullen wrestling opens its dual meet schedule on Thursday, Nov. 29, at Cherry Creek in Greenwood Village, the arduous task of chasing all that the sport has to offer begins for 28 Mustangs competitors.

“All of the kids have different goals, where they want to end up,” Mustangs head coach John Howes said. “Our biggest thing is to help them reach them, whether it’s to win matches, make all-conference stuff, make it to regionals, just win a varsity match … whatever it is.

“Then we have those kids who want to be on podium at (the state meet by placing in the top six). As long as we’re establishing and reaching those goals …”

Howes, in his second season in command since assisting Vince Massey, has Johnny Sumner, who will start at 145 pounds; Aaron Gonzales (126); and Angelo Damian (hwt.) as the team’s top returnees. In addition, of the freshman, Howes said, “there are some good kids in that group who are tough. It will be interesting. They are athletes and that should transfer just fine.”

Another possibility is senior Dante Silva, a state qualifier a year ago at heavyweiht who is battling shoulder issues. Howes said he will be evaluated after the holiday break.

The two biggest meets of the regular season for the Mustangs, Howes said, will be the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament, in its 20th year, that will be held in Loveland from Dec. 13-15, and the Florence Invitational after the holiday break.

“We just want to prepare for the two most-important weekends, regionals and state,” Howes said, pointing to Feb. 15-16 and Feb. 21-23, the finale at the Pepsi Center.

While Mullen again will have its dual-meet schedule against 5A league teams, its shift to 3A won’t seem any easier.

“With the new numbers, they have definitely made 3A tough as heck,” Howes said.

The Mustangs will be in the Central Region with Alameda, Arvada, Eagle Valley, Elizabeth, Englewood, Jefferson, Middle Park, Sheridan, Skyview, Strasburg and Weld Central.

 

 

Chase Sieradski wins 1st

Wrestling Service Award

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Chase Sieradski was surprised.

“I don’t know why they would give it to me,” the recent graduate of Mullen said.

It is the first annual Mullen Wrestling Service Award from the program and athletic director and former head coach Vince Massey can clarify the selection. Justify it, too.

“It’s because of the type of young man he is,” Massey said. “The services that he provided (to the wrestling program) were done in the most-unselfish way.”

Massey specifically pointed to one of the Lasallian main principles, to serve others, “and Chase embodies the process to serve as well as anybody I’ve seen here.”

Sieradski termed it as “pretty cool.” He had dreamed of being a varsity wrestler, a regular contributor to the Mustangs program and perhaps a state qualifier. However, younger brother Trey, also a Mullen student-athlete, developed a very aggressive form of cancer and he decided to pass on his senior season as a competitor.

Being on the wrestling team certainly has its benefits, but his family took precedence. It was never an issue. Trey’s well-being took precedent as did helping their parents.

“Obviously, it’s hard to leave a team I had been working with for three years,” he said. “You become a family. But at the same time I feel I did what was right for my (own) family. Ultimately, it’s not the easiest choice to make, but definitely the right choice.”

Massey wasn’t surprised. He called Sieradski a hard worker, one who had difficulties in wrestle-offs in order to earn a spot, but insisted that they remain in place. They were there for a reason, Sieradski said, and offered no excuses. Though not on the team, he showed up at practices when he could in order to help others. He also performed a variety of little tasks, such as helping Massey keep his eyes on a match instead of regularly having to turn around and look for the clock. Just his presence was a bonus for the team.

“An unselfish young man,” Massey said. “He will always be remembered for the service he provided.”

Having recently left to join Alabama’s Crimson Tide, Sieradski will be working in computer science and business administration. Plus, his brother’s cancer is considered in remission and he has been working out regularly, so he won’t fret nearly as much about being away from him.

“It’s pretty cool down there and they have a lot to offer,” he said.

He said receiving the inaugural wrestling award was a fitting cap to his Mullen career.

“It feels really cool,” he said. “It’s cool to get something, but at the same time it’s not about me. I’m mostly thankful to prove my worth to my coaches and work with those kids.

“It’s icing on the cake for me. The whole experience, the whole deal, (accounts for) some of the best memories I ever had.”

 

Jaydon Vigil is a state Golden Gloves Champion

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Jaydon Vigil is a very bad young man … bad as in he can handle himself with his fists and he just added another title to further prove it.

On Sunday, the Mullen senior became a Colorado Golden Gloves champion. He capped the week-long USA Boxing event at the Imperium Event Center in Northglenn by capturing the 152-pound title.

“Oh, I’m super-excited,” Vigil said. “The hard work is starting to pay off.”

Vigil won two bouts, on Friday and Sunday, and got a further taste of what can happen when judges get involved.

“Both were split decisions,” Vigil said. “In the first fight, I thought I blew him out, but one of the judges had my opponent winning … the same thing happened the next night. (My opponent) was just gassed in the third round and I pounded the body and got on top of him and hit him with some power shots. I slowly brought him down.”

Realistically, Vigil added, “I was just glad I could win.”

His education in the sweet science continues in more ways than one as he says he frequently faces foes in their mid-to-late 20s

“The thing is, these guys are older … I’m 18 and they’re like, 26, 27 … they’ve got their power; I’m still developing,” he said.

And advancing – Vigil’s status as state champion pushes him to regional rounds to be held in Albuquerque on April 28.

He wishes they were today.

“I worked out this morning and I just got back from another workout,” he said early Monday evening. “Everybody says hard work pays off and you never know until you witness it and get to live it. It feels like everything is coming together.

“And I think I have a very good chance of winning.”

 

Wrestlers knocked out of state tournament

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

After a hint of promise on Thursday, Mullen wrestling was quickly removed from the Colorado tournament on Friday.

The Mustangs were 0-5 on Friday, including two losses in the quarterfinals. As a group, their three entrants were 2-6 in the Class 3A portion of competition at the Pepsi Center.

On Thursday, both Dimitris Flores, 152 pounds, and Sebastian Campos, 170, advanced through the preliminaries in earning their first tournament victories. However, both suffered two defeats.

Flores, in his third trip to state, was pinned in 3 minutes, 57 seconds by Alamosa’s Reis Martinez, who had entered the field just 3-1 because of injuries throughout the regular season. Martinez went on to advance to Saturday’s championship round. Flores entered consolation rounds and lost by major decision (13-2) to Brian De La Rosa of Rifle. Flores ended his senior year with 33 victories.

As for Campos, he couldn’t back his first round – he dropped an 11-4 decision to Wyatt Larson of Berthoud. Into the consolations, he was on the shrot end of a tight 8-6 decision to Keaton Green of Florence. Campos, another 12th-grader, had 34 victories in 2017-18, more than 100 in his career.

And Mustangs junior Dante Silva, in his first season of wrestling that also contained multiple injuries, he also ended in consolations. A heavyweight, Silva lost in overtime in the preliminaries on Thursday and was pinned in the first round of consolations in 1:17 by Holyoke’s Andrew Edwards.

 

Flores, Campos advance at state wrestling

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Mullen was able to push two of its three wrestlers into Friday morning’s quarterfinals.

Seniors Dimitris Flores and Sebastian Campos each advanced and junior Dante Silva was a victim late in overtime on Thursday in the Class 3A preliminaries of the Colorado tournament at the Pepsi Center.

A 152-pounder, Flores, here for the third time in four years (he missed last year’s tournament with a concussion), had been 0-4 at state, 0-2 in consecutive seasons. However, he handled Fort Lupton’s Koby Galicia by 11-3, earning a major decision and boosting his season record to 33-7.

“I was in control … just sometimes I was out of position in taking some shots,” Flores said. “This is my first win at state and it’s nice to get the first match out of the way. (On Friday) I just have to push the pace.”

Flores admitted to “being nervous. But it was fun. I didn’t show that much emotion. It’s just the first match and I want to make the finals.”

Galicia, a junior, is 18-22 and headed to the consolations.

In the quarters, Flores will meet Reis Martinez of Alamosa, who's here despite the fact that he entered with a 3-1 record.

“I know he has been hurt all year,” Flores said.

Martinez knocked off Zach Waite of Platte Valley, a senior who entered 22-6.

As for Campos, who improved to 35-12, he had been 0-2 at state, qualifying as a junior. But he earned a hard-fought victory over Delta’s Aiden Barrios (24-14), a junior. Campos grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead and held it. Familiarity also was key.

“I wrestled him a couple of times previously, at the Florence Tournament,” Campos said. “I kind of wrestled into his strengths and it was a tough match. I was just able to move on.”

Campos earned this third victory against Barrios. His quarterfinal foe will be Berthoud senior Wyatt Larson (33-10), who won his prelims match by decision.

Silva, a junior and three-sporter (he plays football and throws the discus) who has had his own injury problems, dipped to 11-7 after dropping a 3-1 decision in overtime to senior Oswaldo Morales of Basalt. Both competitors earned escapes during regulation. Morales won it in the final seconds with a reversal after being in the bottom position.

Lighter for a heavyweight – he’s about 228 pounds – Silva said of his first-ever state match: “Yeah, I was into it, I was focused and my warmup felt really good.”

It can be an issue, he said, going up against wider, stronger and rounder foes at the heaviest weight, “as it’s a little different. They’re not as fast and agile, and I feel like I have an advantage in the standing game, but when I'm on the bottom it’s a little different. I’m just trying to compete, you know?”

Today’s 3A schedule: Weigh-in, 7 a.m.; quarterfinals, 9:30 a.m.; first-round consolation immediately following; second-round consolation, 5:30-6:45 p.m.; semifinals, all classes, 7 p.m.

 

Mullen’s Big 3 ready to rumble at state

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

They are down to just three wrestlers, but Mullen’s Mustangs hope to make some points at the Colorado tournament.

Beginning Thursday with the Class 3A preliminaries, Dimitris Flores, Sebastian Campos and Dante Silva hope to extend their stay at the Pepsi Center, where there will be three days of action over four classifications.

“If we just stay focused, I think they’ll be all right,” Mullen head coach John Howes said. ”Just score your points. Don’t go for the kill shot. Just score your points.”

At the climax of the season, it’s a mix of new and old for Mullen. Howe was a longtime figure at Arvada, assisted the past two seasons and took over in 2017-18 for Vince Massey.

“Vince had it set pretty good,” Howes said.

Flores is in his third state tournament, Campos his second and it’s the first for Silva.

At 152 pounds, Flores brings a 32-7 record. He was a regional champion and is eager to begin.

“Yeah, it’s going to be fun,” he said. “I think I’m pretty confident with the bracket. I just want to go out there and wrestle match-by-match and see where it goes. You can’t look too far ahead. When you look past any matches, that’s when you screw up.”

Flores will open against Fort Lupton’s Koby Galicia, a junior who’s 18-20.

Campos, now 34-12 after finishing fourth in regionals, wants to improve on his two-loss-and-out effort a year ago.

“I’m excited,” he said. “Last year, I was a little nervous. It was just inexperience. It wasn’t necessarily bad. I was just learning.”

Aiden Barrios of Delta, a junior who’s 24-12, will meet Campos in the first round.

As for Silva, a rash of injuries has limited the three-sporter (he’s a defensive end in football and throws the discus in track and field) to a heavyweight record of 11-6. He finished second at regionals when he was unable to compete in the final.

Now, though, he said, “I’m feeling pretty good, pretty confident. I’m facing some tough opponents this weekend. But I’m feeling good about this. I like it. It’s a good sport.”

Silva will begin against Oswaldo Morales of Basalt, a senior who’s 26-4.

Said Howes: “There are opportunities for them if they just take them, stay focused, and listen. They were great (the past) weekend.”

3A Schedule -- Thiursday, preliminaries, 3 p.m.; Friday, quarterfinals, 9:30 a.m.; first-round consolation, immediately following; second-round consolation, 5:30-6:45 p.m.; Saturday, fifth place, 1:30 p.m.; third place, immediately following; parade of champions, 6:30 p.m., followed by title bouts.

 

Mustangs sending 3 to the Pepsi Center

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

ENGLEWOOD – With a champion, a runner-up and a fourth-place winner, Mullen qualified three wrestlers on Saturday for this weekend’s Colorado wrestling tournament and had eight competitors place in regionals in the beginning of the 2017-18 postseason.

Competing in the Class 3A Region 3 tournament at Englewood, Mustangs head coach John Howes said he was pleased with his team’s effort that included finishing eighth among teams.

Mullen was topped by Dimitris Flores, who won the 152-pound class. It will be his third trip to the Pepsi Center in four years (he missed last year with a concussion). Now 34-6, Flores won three consecutive decisions, the last one by 5-4, to advance.

At heavyweight, Dante Silva (13-7) earned two decisions to make it to the final, but had to forfeit the title bout because of a shoulder injury. Howes said Silva should be ready to go by Thursday’s preliminary rounds.

At 170, Sebastian Campos (34-12) fought his way to fourth and will be making his second straight state trip.

An injury probably kept another Mullen competitor from qualifying. Senior Max Thenell lost his bout to take third at 182, but had another chance in a wrestleback. However, he dislocated an elbow during competition, Howes said. Thenell finished fifth.

At 220, Mullen’s Isaiah Rios also lost a wrestleback and took fifth.

Junior Aaron Gonzales (120) and sophomores NIck Machock (126) and Cole Nading (145) also finished sixth for the Mustangs.

Final team scores: Lamar 255; Moffat County 236; Eagle Valey 210.5; Steamboat Springs 127; Elizabeth 122; Skyview 118; Conifer 101.5; Mullen 97; Middle Park 66; Alameda 49.5; Faith Christian 27; Platte Canyon 7; Denver West 6; Englewood 0.

The three Mustangs qualifiers will have practice this week in preparation for Thursday’s 11:30 a.m. weigh-in, then the start of bouts at 3 p.m. Quarterfinals will be the first session on Friday and the semifinals will be in the evening. The parade of champions and championship matches will be Saturday night.

Mustangs set for regionals at Englewood

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

The much-anticipated postseason for wrestling is here.

And Mullen is eager.

The Mustangs will compete in the Class 3A Central Region this weekend, beginning Friday at 4 p.m. at Englewood. Championship rounds should roil into late afternoon on Saturday.

The top four in each weight class will advance to next week’s state championships at the Pepsi Center.

“It’s the best time of the year, when I get the most excited,” Mustangs head coach John Howes said. “It’s what we work for.”

Howes, in his first year heading the Mustangs after serving as an assistant, said he would be thrilled if his guys can qualify five for state. They also have two best bets – seniors Dimitris Flores (152 pounds) and Sebastian Campos (170) -- who can’t wait to get to the center of a mat.

And the word fun remains prominent in their vernacular, as it does for most wrestlers at this time of year.

“It’s going to be pretty fun, all of the work we’ve done, and what we’ve been training for as a team,” Flores said. “Basically, all of the records go away and you just go out and scrap. It doesn’t matter about any rankings.”

Flores has qualified for the third time in his career. He missed qualifying as a junior because of a concussion, but has been strong throughout 2017-18, compiling a 31-6 record.

Campos (170), seeking his second trip to the Pepsi Center, recently took his 100th career victory.

“I’m feeling loose and I’m about to have some fun,” Campos said. “I’m very excited and looking to capitalize on last year, when I qualified for state for the first time. I’m hoping to do some damage.”

Mullen will contend with Alameda, Conifer, Denver West, Eagle Valley, Elizabeth, Englewood, Faith Christian, Lamar, Middle Park, Moffat County, Platte Canyon, Skyview and Steamboat Springs.

“Some of the weights are tougher than heck; others not as bad, just like usual,” Howes said.

Said Flores: “It’s going to be a fun weekend.”

 

Grappling with improvement & 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 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.

 

Mustangs 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.”

 

Mullen 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.

 

John Howes promoted to 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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