Aaron Velasquez wanted a rematch.
Now hes got it.
The Bayfield High School senior and defending state wrestling champion moved into position to win a second consecutive state title when he pinned Austin Vance of Monte Vista on Friday night in the Class 3A 160-pound semifinals at the Pepsi Center.
More importantly for Velasquez, he will go for a second crown at the CHSAA Class 3A State Wrestling Championships against the only wrestler who has beaten him this year (or last) Brandon Bertsch of Alamosa.
The goal is definitely within reach, Velasquez said after he pinned Vance with 49 seconds to go in the match of Intermountain League rivals.
I wanted to go out there and show everyone that Im still the defending state champion, and if someone wants to take that title from me, theyll have to earn it, said Velasquez (26-2), who built a 12-1 lead before the pin.
Velasquez, son of Gus and Tina Velasquez, said hes happy hell get a state rematch with the Alamosa senior (34-9).
I was hoping he (Bertsch) would win, said Velasquez, who finished his semifinal match and then watched Bertsch beat Zach Dillon of The Classical Academy with a takedown in overtime.
Its going to be a good match, the Bayfield senior said.
He may have beaten me twice, but nothing matters except the state tournament, said Velasquez, who will join his longtime friend, Alex Peña of Ignacio, in todays state finals. Peña will go for his fourth state title in Class 2A at 126 pounds.
Bayfields Velasquez (66-2 over the last two years) also was dominant Friday morning in the quarterfinals against Jordan Ross of Strasburg. Velasquez took a 5-2 lead in the second period.
Then, in the final period, Velasquez managed another takedown and a tilt that produced three near-fall points for the 9-2 victory that propelled him into the semifinals.
We had scouted that kid, and we expected him to shoot right off the bat, Bayfield head coach Herb Stinson said. But he didnt shoot at all ... it looked like he was afraid to attack Aaron.
Velasquez and Ross last encountered each other in the fall when Bayfield and Velasquez beat Ross and Strasburg in the state football playoffs.
The other Bayfield wrestler in the quarterfinals, heavyweight Matt Eckstein, lost to Nick Testroet of Mead in a second-period pin. That sent Eckstein into the consolation bracket of Class 2As heavyweight division.
Two other Wolverines, who lost their opening-round matches Thursday, rebounded to win their first consolation round bouts Friday.
Bayfields Jon Roberts (170) dominated Logan Schopp of Hotchkiss, winning 10-1.
Teammate Justin Briskey (182) pinned Francisco Alvarado of Jefferson with 1:06 to go in the third period. Briskey was leading 10-1 at the time of the pin.
Bayfields TJ Pazell was ousted from the tournament when he lost in the consolation bracket to Abren Tenorio of La Junta. Pazell led midway through the match, but Tenorio turned and pinned Pazell 30 seconds into the final period.
In the second round of consolation matches Friday night, Roberts (19-12) saw his tournament come to an end with a 7-0 loss to Jesse Duft of Gunnison.
Briskey (21-10) also was eliminated in the second consolation match. He was pinned by Salidas Thane Smith in the second period.
But Eckstein won his match in the consolation bracket Friday night. He pinned Zack Taylor of Hotchkiss in the second period. Eckstein will wrestle this morning in the consolation bracket at the Pepsi Center.
The state finals are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. today.