Greeley — The goal is a state title. Rankings don’t matter. Teams are just trying to get better. Whatever.
When wrestling teams booked their trips to Greeley for the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament, they knew what they were getting into. Two-time defending Class 4A state champion Windsor was no different.
“We start back at zero,” Windsor coach Monte Trusty said. “We’re nobody, we’re nothing. (Those state titles) are history.”
Windsor certainly wasn’t nothing at this tournament, finishing fifth with five wrestlers placing in the top eight of their respective classes Saturday at Island Grove Event Center.
The Wizards’ best finisher was Joel Salomon, who finished second with a 7-3 loss to two-time defending 4A state champion Drew Romero, of Broomfield.
“My performance was there,” Salomon said. “I just need to fix a few things for those matches. Taking better shots. I guess I didn’t expect some things.”
Salomon, a senior, said the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament is as tough as it has ever been. That’s to be expected of a tournament that has grown so large that it will move to the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland next year.
It’s not just big. It’s good. There were 18 teams ranked in the top 10 in their respective classes, 190 individuals ranked in the top 10 and 30 top-ranked wrestlers on the mats Friday and Saturday.
“(This tournament) shows guys where they’re at,” Trusty said.
Windsor may not quite be where it wants to be, although Trusty said nothing much surprised him at the tournament.
“There were a few matches throughout the two days — with a tweak here or there — we could have changed some results,” Trusty said.
Windsor is also waiting for state runner-up (at 106 pounds) Jonathan Lewis (120 pounds) to round back into form after suffering a right knee injury that may require surgery. Lewis finished eighth, losing a major decision in the seventh-place match to Greeley West’s Adrian DeLaCruz.
One of the reasons Windsor won the state title last season was the team’s depth. Even without a state champion, the Wizards claimed the top spot because of solid contributors throughout its lineup.
Two of those guys reared their heads at this tournament.
Cosme Martinez, the top-ranked 4A wrestler at 182 pounds, battled to a third-place finish with a 12-6 decision over Loveland’s Dalton Weis. Martinez finished fourth at state last season, something he said he’s working to improve.
He said it starts with mentality. Martinez said that’s the most improved part of his game.
It’s what helped him overcome an early loss Saturday and a subpar performance — by his standards — in a win directly afterward. It also helped him turn a 6-5 deficit with 50 seconds remaining in the third period of the third-place match into a 12-6 decision.
Martinez wrestled seven matches over the two days and said he’s glad the Wizards got an opportunity to test themselves against the best competition.
“You can be in the room, working on technique, running,” Martinez said. “But this is the real test.”
106 (1st) — Drew Romero (Broomfield) dec. Joel Salomon (Windsor), 7-3; 120 (7th) — Adrian DeLaCruz (Greeley West) maj. dec. Jonathan Lewis (Windsor), 8-0; 152 (3rd) — Alex Smith (Pine Creek) dec. Kennen Lanteri (Windsor), 8-4; 160 (5th) — Vinny Gonzales (Windsor) FF Patrick Gore (Valley); 182 (3rd) — Cosme Martinez (Windsor) dec. Dalton Weis (Loveland), 12-6.