The wrestling team from Hotchkiss High School is reaching heights the Bulldogs haven't climbed in a while.
Hotchkiss continued to enjoy the momentum that has been building since the New Year and triumphed at the Class 2A Region 1 tournament championship last weekend at Brownson Arena in Grand Junction.
The Bulldogs claimed the top spot with 226 team points. Paonia finished second with 216.5 points and the Meeker Cowboys took third at 205. Norwood/Nucla was fourth and Cedaredge came in fifth with 149 points.
The good news continued for the Bulldogs, who placed 11 wrestlers in this weekend's state tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The gala event starts on Thursday and the finals are scheduled for Saturday night.
Hotchkiss coach Richard Flores has hoped all season that the Bulldogs would peak in the last two weeks of the season.
He got half his wish so far as Hotchkiss had one regional champion in freshman Sergio Campos, who is having a spectacular season wrestling in the lightest weight class, 106 pounds.
Also finishing strong for Hotchkiss at regionals were Colton Hall (126 pounds), Austin Todd (145) and Wade Katzdorn (160), who each posted second-place finishes.
Todd's championship match at regionals came against familiar foe Bo Pipher of Paonia. In the duo's third match of the season, Todd scored a rare takedown against Pipher, who is undefeated this year with pins in every win but two.
Pipher rallied to beat Todd in a 4-2 decision.
Joining Campos, Hall, Todd and Katzdorn on the Bulldogs squad going to state are: Colton Cordova (113 pounds), Chris Lovato (120), Colton DeLuzio (132), Kale Litzelman (170), Devin Curtis (195), Joe Nault (220) and Conner Collins (heavyweight).
Bruins send five
Cedaredge got second place performances at regionals from Alex McCracken (113), Zach Anderson (170) and Mario Madaleno (heavyweight).
That trio will be joined at state by Bruins wrestlers Jake Ostrom (126 pounds) and Tré LaBossiere (195), who each finished third at regionals.