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4 will be on the state floor for 'Stangs

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
O'Blia, Linares, Troni and Krenz qualify after Day 1 of regional competition; Day 2 should produce a few more.
BENNETT – Day 1 is done and it was fruitful.

Day 2 is next and promising.

On Friday, Mullen qualified three wrestlers for next week’s Colorado tournament to be held in Pueblo. Dale O’Blia (106 pounds) and Noah Linares (126) were champions in Class 3A Region 3. Mark Troni (145) was runner-up.

For girls, who competed in Region 1 in Fort Lupton in the first season of sanctioning, Makenzie Frenz was runner-up at 127 for her state berth.

In addition, Gilbert Antillon (113) was third; Cayden Robbins was 1-1 at 120; Blake Machock competed at 132; and Adam Domenico won a couple of matches at 138.

Color Mustangs head coach John Howes as pleased in this shortened pandemic season that will also feature only half (eight) of the usual weight-class entrants in brackets (16) at state from a field that didn’t get started until late January and was limited to dual meets.

“Oh, yeah, I wish we had tournaments like this all year,” Howes said. “That was a lot of fun today. They came in here, wrestled well, got bonus points for pins … it was nice for us.”

The impressive O’Blia, a freshman, moved to 14-0 as he had a first-round bye, advanced to the final with a 5-1 decision and topped his weight with a 4-0 decision of Elizabeth’s Cooper Dunn, who was handed his first loss (he’s 13-1).

“Yeah, it’s super cool,” he said of heading to his first state tournament. “I’ve been training my whole life for this. And these kids are tough out here.”

A junior, Linares improved to 7-1 after a bye, a couple of second-period pins and a 14-1 major decision of the previously once-beaten Izayah Baca of John F. Kennedy.

“I’m going for it and we’ll see how it goes down there,” Linares said of competing for a championship.

He was sixth at 120 a year ago.

Troni (12-3), fifth at 126 at state in 2020, earned his second trip with a second-place showing that included a bye, pins in 45 and 39 seconds, and getting pinned in 4:31.

“Mark just needs to finish his takedowns and fix a few things, and he’ll be OK,” Howes said.

For girls, Krenz, a freshman, is 8-2 following a bye, tight decisions ending in 2-1 and 2-0, and a 10-0 major-decision loss.

Today in Bennett, where the other seven weights will compete -- 152 through Hwt. – Mullen will have Jacob Robbins (152), Kaleb Valdez-Lemos (160) and Hayden Woodruff (Hwt.). In Fort Lupton, the second half of the 10 weights will include the Mustangs’ Alina Antillon (136), a junior and two-time state champion.