Cherrington signs five
GREELEY – Northern Colorado wrestling head coach Ben Cherrington has announced the signing of five student-athletes to National Letters of Intent.
Cherrington has signed Trey Andrews, Cole Briegel, Caleb Christensen, Brian Macchione and Aaron Velasquez.
“I am very happy to announce this year’s signees,” said Cherrington. “We have added some quality individuals that will not only strengthen our program on the mat, they will also help us move in the right directions off the mat, both in the classroom and the community. Each one of them is capable of being successful at this level and will add the needed depth in the room to allow each guy on this team to improve.”
125 pounds, Safford, Ariz. (Safford HS)
Andrews joins the Bears family from the same high school as former All-American Justin Gaethje. Andrews is a four-time Division III Arizona High School Champion and a two-time National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) All-American. In his senior campaign, Andrews went 56-1 and pinned every opponent in the state tournament en route to his fourth consecutive title, becoming just the 27th wrestler in Arizona history to win four individual state championships. He was also named to the All-Arizona Team and was voted the top 120-pounder in all classifications.
“We are very excited to have Trey join us,” said Cherrington. “He is going to be a force in our lighter weights and will immediate challenge for a spot in our line-up. He is a great kid with the skills to be very successful at this level. His future as a Bear is bright.”
184 pounds, Burlington, Colo. (Burlington HS)
Briegel won a pair of state titles in 2A at Burlington, winning at 195 pounds as a senior after winning the 189 pound title as a junior. He was a two-sport athlete for the Cougars, also playing football where he averaged over five tackles per game as a senior. Briegel helped lead Burlington to the 2011 Colorado State 2A team championship, winning the 189 pound title. As a senior, Briegel was 40-2 on the mat and was ranked number one in the state throughout most of the season.
“Cole is another individual that will make an immediate impact in our upper weights,” said Cherrington. “He is another individual that is just now hitting his stride on the mat. We are confident that with the right workout partners and direction he will develop into a great asset for this team.”
Christensen, 197/285 pounds, Akron, Colo. (Akron HS)
Christensen also won the 2A Colorado State title in 2012, doing so at 220 pounds to cap a perfect 37-0 season. He was named to the Denver Post’s All-Colorado wrestling team and also played football for Akron. Christensen was the top-ranked wrestler at 220 pounds in 2A throughout the season and was the only 2A wrestler in the state to go undefeated.
“Caleb is yet another individual that will add to the depth at our upper weights,” Cherrington stated. “Caleb is coming off his best season and is very motivated to get started with this chapter of his wrestling career. Caleb is a hard worker with the right attitude and will be a great addition to the overall culture of UNC Wrestling.”
Macchione, 197/285 pounds, Granby, Colo. (Middle Park HS)
A two-time state champion at 3A, Macchione posted a perfect 43-0 senior season at 195 pounds. He won the 3A 2011 state title at 189 pounds before winning the 2012 title at 195 for Ben Cherrington’s father, Cael, at Middle Park. Macchione was also a 2011 NHSCA All-American and was a defensive tackle on the football team.
“Brian is a great kid,” stated Cherrington. “He brings with him a great attitude, work ethic and great character. We are looking for Brian to make an immediate impact in our upper weights. He really came into his own as a wrestler over his last two high school seasons and we are confident he will continue to develop into a great Division I wrestler.”
Velasquez, 157 pounds, Ignacio, Colo. (Bayfield HS)
Velasquez was also a two-time state champion at 3A, winning the 2011 title at 152 pounds and the 2012 title at 160 pounds after finishing fourth at 152 pounds as a sophomore. He finished his stellar career on the mat with a 129-17 overall record and was also named to the 2A Denver Post All-State First-Team in football. A three-sport athlete at Bayfield, Velasquez also threw the discus.
“Aaron is a very tough individual whom just came off a great season in which he capped off with All-American honors at Senior Nationals,” said Cherrington. “Aaron will be a force in our middle weights and will challenge for a spot in the line-up very quickly. He comes from the same hometown as Northern Colorado All-American Marshall Hahn, whom just happens to also be his wrestling coach.”