Steve Lewis/Durango Herald file photo
Bayfield High School senior Aaron Velasquez is a two-time Colorado state wrestling champion. Now, he’s a high school All-American.
Velasquez earned his All-America status last weekend at the National High School Coaches Association National Wrestling Championships in Virginia Beach, Va.
Velasquez finished seventh at the elite high school wrestling tournament; the top eight finishers won All-America honors.
“This is the top high school tournament in the nation for high school seniors,” said Bayfield wrestling coach Herb Stinson, who accompanied Velasquez to Virginia for the three-day national championships.
“This is a showcase for college coaches,” Stinson said. “It was an interesting week. Aaron wrestled well.”
Velasquez went 5-2 in the national tournament:
He opened with a tough 5-3 loss to Sam Son, the Kansas state champion at 160 pounds.
Velasquez rebounded with a big 9-1 win over Nick Simmons, the Georgia state champion.
The BHS wrestler then posted a 13-5 win over Curtis Bright of Nevada.
Velasquez followed with a 7-3 overtime win over Jacob Eggers, a state runner-up from Kansas.
He advanced with a default victory over Cody Allala of Virginia, earning a rematch against Son, the Kansas champion.
Son pulled out a tense 3-2 victory in their second go-round.
Velasquez then wrestled fellow Colorado wrestler Marcos Peralta of Arvada for seventh place, and Velasquez won 9-1.
“That placed Aaron seventh and made him an All-American,” Stinson said of the Bayfield wrestler who was 67-2 with two state titles in his final two prep seasons.
“This tournament is really tough,” Stinson said. “There are four-time state champions here who didn’t even place.”
Stinson said the national exposure for Velasquez was invaluable. The BHS wrestler, the son of Gus and Tina Velasquez, is considering a number of recruiting offers from NCAA Division I to Division II to NAIA to junior college, Stinson said.
“He’ll have to sit down with his family and start to make some decisions in the next couple weeks,” Stinson said of Velasquez’s college options.
At the state tournament this year, Velasquez avenged his only two losses in the last two years by pinning Bradon Bertsch of Alamosa for the title – Velasquez’s second consecutive state championship and the retiring Stinson’s last in his 39-year coaching career.
Velasquez will wrestle again June 9 at the Colorado All-State Games in Alamosa.