A-West strong at state tournament with 8th place finish

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Daniel Williams
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DENVER - Lost in the shadows of Pomona’s dominant season is the Arvada West Wildcats.

Quietly A-West put together one of the best seasons not only in Jeffco, but in all of 5A wrestling.

And while they might not be at Pomona’s level just yet, they proved to be the next best thing at the Colorado Wrestling State Tournament Saturday at the Pepsi Center.

Behind an accumulation of strong performances the Wildcats finished the season as the eighth best team in 5A wrestling with an overall team score of 65.5.

“Were not Pomona, but no one is,” A-West coach Ron Granieri said. “But I am still very happy with how our wrestlers performed and this is just another step for us.”

A-West qualified six for the tournament and five of those six placed on Saturday.

The Wildcats had a pair of third place finishers in sophomore Payton Tawater, who defeated Cherry Creek’s Zach Finesilver 5-2 at 126 pounds, and junior Tony Silva-Bussey, who pinned Legend’s Colton Fries at 170 pounds.

A-West sent one more wrestler to the third place match at 120 pounds but senior Jerry Trujillo was beat by Pomona’s Joshua Rosales 5-3.

In addition, A-West had a fifth place finisher at 138 pounds when sophomore Taylor Bergquist beat Doherty’s Thaddeus Hayes 8-2.

And finally sophomore Bennie Pachello took sixth place after he was beat by Chatfield’s Jake Thayer at 132 pounds 8-5.

Four of the five wrestlers who placed are underclassmen, and A-West is already being talked about as being one of the best teams in the state next season.

“We aren’t where Pomona is just yet but we are getting there. I am really interested to see how things play out for us next season,” Granieri said.