Serna, former Fort Lupton state wrestling champion, dies

Steve Smith
ssmith@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 9/6/22

BRIGHTON -- Former Fort Lupton High School state wrestling champion Joe Serna died at Prairie View High School Aug. 30.

It happened around 5:45 p.m. A Facebook post from the school said paramedics …

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Serna, former Fort Lupton state wrestling champion, dies

Posted

BRIGHTON – Former Fort Lupton High School state wrestling champion Joe Serna died at Prairie View High School Aug. 30.

It happened around 5:45 p.m. A Facebook post from the school said paramedics worked to revive Serna without success.

Serna won his state title in 2000. As a sophomore, he beat Valley's Jeremy Wright 6-5 in the 171-pound finals and finished the season with a 35-1 record. He is one of 49 individual state title-winners in Bluedevils' history.

Tom Galicia, Fort Lupton's current wrestling coach, knew Serna.

"He was a great wrestler for Fort Lupton (state champion) and Brighton (two-time runner-up) high schools," Galicia said. "It was sad to hear what happened. He was doing something he loved  -- wrestling -- when this tragedy happened."

"My brother died doing what he loved," said Marissa Serna on Facebook. She was in the Prairie View wrestling room at the time. "My brother loved hard and was very loyal. His faith stayed strong all the way to the end. To say we're mourning is an understatement.  We are broken, distraught and coping."

"RIP big Joe Serna -- always been good to me. Bro as solid as they come," said Anthony Martinez on Facebook.

"Rest easy lil cousin," said his cousin, Thelma Martinez Ramos, on Facebook. "My heart is broken. I can’t even bring myself to call and give my condolences. Life is so short."

Serna was born Oct. 16, 1983, in Westminster, to his parents, Benny and Susan Serna. Serna had many occupations, including landscaping, property management, coaching and working for Santiagos. He also was a dog owner, a dog breeder and a dog trainer.

Serna was Fort Lupton's first professional MMA fighter, during which time he won three championship belts. He loved hikinig, weightlifting and walking his dogs. Serna became a father Jan. 29, 2011, when Kaden Benny Serna was born.

Survivors also include his sisters, Vanessa and Marissa; his mother, Susan Serna (Vince Sanchez); sisters, Vanessa (Ray) Gonzales, Marissa Serna (Mark Gonzales); his nephew, Josiah; and his girlfriend, Rozalyn Schultz. His father and his grandparents, Joe Rios, Nellie Rios, Albert Serna and Josie Serna, preceded him in death.

Serna competed for Brighton High School in 2002 and graduated from there in 2003.

Prairie View High School said it made the post in case students or staff members wanted to seek mental health support. The district’s mental-health team was at the school Aug. 31 in case students or staff needed assistance.

"He will be sorely missed," Galicia said. "Our condolences to all his family."

Joe Serna, Fort Lupton High School wrestling, Brighton High School wrestling

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