Basalt wrestling tackles state |

Basalt wrestling tackles state

Xavier Portillo (right), a Basalt High School senior, qualifies for the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships this week in Denver with his second-place finish at the Class 3A Regionals last weekend in Granby. Here Portillo takes on Olathe's Jacob Jimenez in the 145-pound regional title bout.
Mark Barto/Special to The Aspen Times |

Basalt High School wrestling is headed to state.

The recently revived Longhorns wrestling program, which was resurrected just a year ago, sent seven wrestlers to the Class 3A Regional Championships last weekend at Middle Park High School in Granby.

Two Basalt seniors made the podium at Middle Park. And one Basalt senior earned a trip to the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships, which were scheduled to open Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The state championships represent Colorado’s largest high school state championship event. All five school classifications stage their state tournaments at the Pepsi Center, running through the championship finals on Saturday night.

Basalt senior Xavier Portillo, at 145 pounds, placed second at the regionals last weekend. That earned him a trip to the Pepsi Center for the 3A state championships.

Basalt senior Mark Barto, a first-year wrestler, placed sixth at regionals to earn a spot on the podium. He wrestled in the 120-pound division.

Coach Ryan Bradley, along with assistant coach Thaddeus Eshelman, started the high school wrestling program in Basalt last year.

This year’s BHS team included 14 wrestlers with seven qualifying for regionals.

In addition to Portillo and Barto, freshman “Rigo” Rodrigo (106), junior Luis Ruis (126), junior Michael Rivera (138), sophomore Jack Huggard (160) and sophomore Cristian Joya (220) represented Basalt.

“It was a tough year for the high school team not having many experienced wrestlers, but both the wrestlers and coaches learned a lot,” Bradley said. “Having the seniors finish strong made it all worth it, and we look forward to the future.”

Bradley’s future is his middle school program with 40 wrestlers signing on this year.

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