Strong showing sweeps 46-team field
Jesse Reed's first time wrestling at state ended with a pin.
A big pin.
In front of thousands and with his family watching, the freshman 113-pounder walked confidently onto the mat to face senior Miguel Torres of Burlington in the championship match. Just 30 seconds into the second round, Reed took Torres down, put him in a cradle and got the pin to claim the 2A title at 113 pounds.
"Being a freshman coming into the state tournament and winning it. Just unreal," said Reed. "Been working on cradles since pee-wee. Just kind of natural: You take 'em down and cradle."
Reed's dad, assistant coach Bobby Reed, coached his son through the match. The senior Reed is a two-time state champion. "I've been waiting 25 years for this," said Reed. "I'm obviously very proud of him."
"It's great to have my dad by my side and as my coach," said Reed. "It helps me mentally to prepare for matches. He helps me a lot." Reed had a five-minute wait after being called to the mat and said he just took a moment to let it all soak in. "He was telling me to loosen up, just to have fun out there, and that's what I did. Everything worked out."
Reed's upset over the first-seeded senior was icing on the cake for the Eagles, who placed nine wrestlers to win the 2A team title by a margin of 63.5 points. The Eagles were the second team in state history to qualify wrestlers in every weight classification. The title was the third for the Eagles in the past seven years.
And head coach Andy Pipher was named the 2A coach of the year.
"I wouldn't want to be on any other team," said Morgan Rieder after getting pinned in the championship round to place second at 182.
Sophomore heavyweight Tony Darling was seeded first but suffered his first loss since Jan. 7, getting pinned in round two against sixth-ranked Reed Christensen of Akron. Darling wrestled back to place third, pinning Luke Davis of Fleming in 4:22.
Paonia had only four first-round losses, and still had 13 alive after two rounds, and placed nine wrestlers.
And while there was much celebration Saturday night, Paonia suffered some upsets during the three-day event. As Pipher noted in the days leading to the tournament, "You can't wrestle back to a state championship."
Seniors Cody Clawson, Adrian Lopez and Kyler Bear suffered second-round losses, and Dustin Braslin's run for a title ended with a third-round loss to Jace Nordyke of Holly.
State can be overwhelming, said Pipher. "You see a lot of kids just go out and lose on nerves alone.
"It's especially hard when you're a senior, you come up here and you get beat," said Pipher Saturday morning prior to the final rounds. "Now you've got to wrestle back tough and find a way to get a medal, and that's what they're going to try to do. No excuses at this point."
Lopez was upset in round two by Jake Milberger of Fowler, whom Lopez had defeated twice during the season. With less than 10 seconds remaining in the match and the score tied at zero, Milberger won on a takedown. Lopez racked up points, winning his last four matches, three by pin and one by technical fall over Nick Williams of Hayden. Lopez got a takedown against Williams in the opening seconds, and a 3-point near fall at the buzzer gave him a 7-0 lead going into round two. He led 14-0 going into round three.
Senior 220 Myles Cumpston was pinned in round three by the No. 1 seed.
"I worked real hard all season and just fell a little short of my goal," said Cumpston, who ended his season at 33-6. "But it was good to finish off with a win."
Like many of his teammates, Cumpston began wrestling before he started school. "Ever since I was a little kid I dreamed of being in the state finals. I was going to do everything I could to get there," said Cumpston after pinning Frank Fehr of Baca County in 3:32 to place fifth.
Cumpston was one away from placing his junior year and lost in overtime. "I'm pretty happy with my accomplishments. It's been a good run," said Cumpston. "In the end I just wanted to get more points for the team. We're all about the team and getting the state championship."
Senior 145 Dustin Braslin placed fourth.
Jorge Quinonez lost in the first round and wrestled back to place fifth with a 4-2 win in overtime over David Michel of Merino. Josh Altman ended his freshman year with a 30-14 record at 106 pounds and a sixth-place finish.
Blake Duval (120), Cody Clawson (126), Kyler Bear (160) and freshman Joel Simianer all fell short of placing. Bear, a senior, earned a regional title and ended his season with a 35-9 record.
Senior KC Christian lost in the third round to Brent Harris of Norwood, who went on to claim the state title. Christian won his final match to place fifth at 170 pounds. He would have liked a better finish, especially after placing third at state his junior year. "That's why it's kind of a disappointment," said Christian while waiting for the team to claim their state trophy.
But being on this team, "I wouldn't trade it for anything."blog comments powered by Disqus