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Durango QB Kaden Renshaw takes aim at state wrestling title

It’s hard for Kaden Renshaw to be recognized as anything other than a quarterback of a playoff football team. But if all you know about him is 1,200 passing yards and 18 total touchdowns, you’re missing the best part of his athletic story.

Renshaw is a star wrestler for Durango, and after claiming his first Sunset Region championship last week, he’ll enter the 152-pound bracket of the Class 4A state tournament Friday at The Orleans with one goal in mind.

“I say I’m a better wrestler than I am a quarterback,” Renshaw said. “Quarterback’s fun, and I just get noticed for that because football is bigger than wrestling and everyone knows football.”

What’s funny is Renshaw’s region title match was against another quarterback: Shadow Ridge’s Kody Presser. The two have never met on the football field, but their first meeting on the mat ended with a 10-5 victory for Renshaw.

“That’s the crazy part, it was the battle of the athletes,” Renshaw said. “That was special, that was cool.”

Friday will be second trip for the junior Renshaw to the state tournament, where he went 1-2 against all Northern Region opponents.

When this year’s state bracket was released, Durango coach Jeff Baumgart couldn’t help but smile at his athlete’s good fortune. Because there are three regions, two of the region champions have to be placed on the same side of the bracket. And when Green Valley’s Justus Scott and McQueen’s Tyler Green were placed on the same side, it meant Renshaw would not have to beat another region champion on his path to the state title match.

“I think he’ll definitely place,” Baumgart said. “I really think he’s got a good shot of winning it, and we haven’t had a state champion in a long while.”

If it were up to Renshaw this year, he’d like to face the Sunrise Region champion. Scott rolled through the bracket on the other side of town, and is the only blemish on Renshaw’s 41-1 record this season. It was the championship of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic, and Scott won by one point.

“Ever since then, I’ve been thinking about that match, and that’s it,” Renshaw said. “I was torn, but now I’m excited. I’ve been working this whole year just to face him again.”

In the fall, Renshaw is a quarterback. In the winter, he wrestles at 152 pounds. And Friday, he’ll have the opportunity to accomplish something that has not been done since 2006 and only four times ever: bring a state championship to Durango.

“I’m excited and I’m anxious,” Baumgart said. “And I would love for him to get redemption in the finals.”

Contact Justin Emerson at jemerson@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-2944. Follow @J15Emerson on Twitter.

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