Eleven months ago, Colorado’s wrestling tournament switched sites, had less competitors, virtually no fans and even less energy.
It returned to Denver’s Ball Arena on Thursday, had gobs of fans and participants, and took a step toward re-establishing itself as the ultimate spectacle of the school year.
Either way, Mullen’s Dale O’Blia was unaffected and did what he does best – he won.
The sophomore 106-pounder, the returning champion in Class 3A, opened defense with a fall to lead Mullen’s charges. The Mustangs advanced four competitors to Friday’s quarterfinals and have five others looking to score valuable team points in the consolations.
Mullen scored 14.5 points. Eaton was tops with 28.5.
O’Blia opened with a pin of Julian Marquez, Platte Valley, in 3 minutes, 26 seconds after rolling toma big lead.
And his business-like approach remains his thing.
“It felt good,” O’Blia said. “It was just like every other match. I take one match at a time and just come back and prepare for another day of wrestling. I have to focus and not start looking ahead or what’s after. I can’t overlook any opponent. I have to just go out there and wrestle.”
He’s 58-0 for his career.
Senior Noah Linares (132) advanced with a 6-0 decision of Moffat County’s Eli Frederickson. Linares’ defense was good as usual and his workmanlike, methodical approach helped grind out his advancement.
He’s now 40-6.
The past season, Mark Troni (160) qualified but was negated by failing to pass the coronavirus (COVID-19) test.
And, no, he hasn’t forgotten.
“Yeah,” the senior said after easily handling Severance’s Bobby Holt 18-2 by technical fall, “I have something to prove. Nobody thought I’d be in this position right now, but my coach (John Howes) knew it and I knew it. It was all about me believing in myself.”
Troni is 39-3.
Junior Kaleb Valdez-Lemos (170) gave Mullen a Fab Four of sorts in the quarterfinals with his pin of Pagosa Springs’ David Moore in 2:38.
In improving to 42-4, Valdez-Lemos said he “was on the mat a little longer than I wanted,” and, as a third-placer the past season, “it’s great to be back here with all of the fans and energy.”
Of the five Mustangs headed to consolations, Gilbert Antillon’s 3-2 loss at 113 was probably considered as the one glitch. The sophomore (31-10) battled, but never got the one move he needed in the third period. Still, Valdez-Lemos said, “:we’re confident he’ll come back for us.”
Antillon is joined in the consos by Cayden Robbins (120), Adam Domenico (145), Oliver Scelza (182) and Ami Hall (220).
For girls, Alina Antillon continued to dominate. The senior pinned Gianna Alirez of Northridge in a quick 42 seconds.
At 38-0, Antillon, who won two unsanctioned titles as well as finishing runner-up the past season, has been on a pin parade and only wrestled into the second period once this season, according to Mustangs assistant coach Vince Massey.
Alina Antillon is wrestling as part of Jefferson’s team this season as Mullen was unable to field a full team.
106 – Dale O’Blia (41-0) pinned Julian Marquez, Platte Valley, 3:26.
113 – Gilbert Antillon (31-10) lost 3-2 to Teagan Jacobs, Grand Valley (34-3).
120 – Cayden Robbins (18-17) lost by technical fall 17-0 to Roberto Estrada, Weld Central (44-1).
132 – Noah Linares (40-6) dec. Eli Frederickson, Moffat County 6-0.
145 – Adam Domenico (26-15) lost by pin to Kyler Liddell, Alamosa, 3:28.
160 – Mark Troni (39-3) won by technical fall 18-2 over Bobby Holt, Severance (19-10).
170 -- Kaleb Valdez-Lemos (42-4) pinned David Moore, Pagosa Springs, 2:38.
182 – Oliver Scelza (13-11) lost by pin to Colby Runner, Severance, 3:13.
220 – Amy Hall (7-8) lost by pin to Dominick Ontiveros, Brush, 0:18,
106 – Dale O’Blia (41-0) vs. Dawsen Drozdic, Delta (40-8).
132 – Noah Linares (40-6) vs. Preston Holt, Lutheran (42-6).
160 – Mark Troni (39-3) vs. Gunnar Clary, Eaton (11-6).
170 -- Kaleb Valdez-Lemos (42-4) vs. Ethan Goldfain, Resurrection Christian (25-5).
113 – Gilbert Anillon (31-10) vs. Grant Sinkard, Resurrection Christian (23-11).
120 – Cayden Robbins (18-17) vs. Orlando Whatley, La Junta (15-9).
145 – Adam Domenico (26-15) vs. Tytan Bentley, University (18-16).
182 – Oliver Scelza (13-11) vs. Will Reeves, Resurrection Christian (2-13)
220 – Amy Hall (7-9) vs. Angelo Perea, Coronado (17-6),
136 – Alina Antillon (38-0) pinned Gianna Alirez, Northridge (6-9), 0:42.
136 – Alina Antillon (38-0) vs. Laurel Hughes, Grand Junction (22-8).
Classes 3A-2A and girls – Quarterfinals, 8:30-11:45 a.m.; consolations immediately following; second-round consolations 4:30-6:15 p.m.
Semifinals – 6:30 p.m.