Smith wins title for Paonia

By Tamie Meck

Smith wins title for Paonia | Wrestling, PHS

Photo by Tamie Meck Paonia senior Trevor Smith, left, celebrates his 4-3 win and the state heavyweight title over Meeker's Tyler Ilgen Saturday night at the Pepsi Center. Smith was a four-time state qualifier and placed third his junior year for the Eagle

Paonia senior Trevor Smith is a little underweight for a heavyweight wrestler, but that didn't stop him from winning the Class 2A heavyweight title at the Colorado High School Activities Association State Wrestling Tournament at the Pepsi Center last weekend. Smith brought home Delta County's only state title, ending the tournament and his career with a 4-3 overtime win against Meeker senior Tyler Ilgen and a nice medal.

"It's the most amazing feeling in the world," said Smith, a four-year state qualifier, after the win. Ilgen outweighs Smith by a good 60 pounds and would be next to impossible to pin. "I just went for every point I could score," said Smith.

"That's kind of how you've got to play it when you're 80 pounds under weight," said coach Nate Wiggins.

Smith, who was seeded third and had wrestled his first heavyweight tournament on Jan. 28, weighs in at about 200 pounds, nowhere near the 285-pound limit for heavyweights. The two finalists wrestled for the regional title a week earlier in Grand Junction, with Smith winning in overtime on an escape.

After Saturday night's win, Wiggins said Ilgen came after Smith a lot more than he did in the regional match. Smith won by sticking to the game plan and wrestling "a good smart match. You just can't make mistakes in a match like that. When you're way underweight, the margin for error is slim."

Smith wrestled well the entire tournament. He tied for the shortest match of the tournament, pinning his first opponent in 10 seconds. In quarterfinals he pinned his opponent from Crowley County in the second round, and in semifinals he upset the No. 2 seed from Rocky Ford in a tiebreaker.

Paonia placed four wrestlers and sent two into the championship round. Junior Sacket Chesnik was seeded sixth and wrestled his way to a silver medal. After placing second to him at the regional tournament, Chesnik faced No. 1-seeded senior Sheridan Harvey in the championship round.

Chesnik opened the tournament with a pin over Sanford, then defeated Kiowa and Limon by decision. Against Harvey, Chesnik avoided the pin, but lost by a narrow 4-2 decision to place second.

Paonia scored 99 points and placed fifth overall. Of its wins, 15 were by pin.

At 182 pounds, junior Jaden Miller pinned five of his six opponents. He had the second most pins of the tournament scored in the least amount of time.

Miller took all of 48 seconds to pin his first opponent from Rocky Ford. In quarterfinals, Miller lost by a 5-2 decision to the No. 3 seed from Lyons. On the consolation side of the bracket Miller pinned all four of his opponents -- McClave, Peyton, Yuma and West Grand, to place third. Wiggins called his comeback "an exceptional feat."