DENVER -- At times, Kyle Couch admitted the chatter around Mead High School, and amongst his teammates on the Mavericks wrestling team, was difficult to ignore.
Throughout the season, it was no secret Couch was approaching a monumental opportunity to capture the first state title in the Mead program's brief history. Couch, a focused and understated junior, always preferred to set aside such talk in order to tackle the next hurdle.
Couch carried that approach all the way through to the finish line on Saturday, fulfilling all those expectations while making school history by winning the Class 4A title at 182 pounds.
Couch overcame an early deficit to post a 4-2 victory against Montezuma-Cortez's Trenton
"It's nice. I finally got it done," said Couch, who placed third at each of the previous two state tournaments. "It was a hard day getting mentally prepared."
Gustafson struck first, recording a takedown about 30 seconds into the match to take a quick 2-0 lead. An escape by Couch trimmed the deficit to 2-1, and Couch took the lead for good with a takedown late in the opening round.
Couch, who finishes the season with a 47-1 mark, used another escape to take a 4-2 lead in the second round before holding Gustafson at bay over the final 2 minutes.
"I really didn't know much about (Gustafson) strategy-wise," Couch said. "As the match went on I kind of figured out what he was going for and what he wanted. I just came back and fought all the way through."
Couch's title also produced a memorable milestone for Mead head coach Ty Tatham, who has turned the Mavericks into an impressive 4A force after taking over what was then a brand new program four seasons ago.
Tatham said Couch's championship not only validates the work the Mavericks have put in during the four-year building process, but it also gives the next generation of Mead wrestlers something to strive for.
"It opens the door for other kids in the program, or little kids right now who look and say, 'Hey, I can go to Mead and win a state championship,'" said Tatham, who coached two state title winners during 14 seasons at Longmont. "It helps a lot. He's had a lot of firsts in our wrestling program. Two or three years ago, if you would've told me we'd have a state champion in Year 4, I'm not sure I'd have believed you. In some ways, it's happened a lot quicker than I thought. Then again, you get a kid like (Couch) in the program, you have to take advantage of it."
The Mavericks' Sage Budd collected the program's only other medal from the 4A tournament, finishing fifth at 113 pounds.
Budd stayed alive early Saturday by recording a 2-0 victory against Durango's Matthew Lavengood, but Budd was denied an opportunity to fight for third-place when he was pinned by Brandon Gonzalez of Mesa Ridge in the consolation semifinals. Sent to the fifth-place match, Budd bounced back with a 5-1 victory against Pueblo South's Davis Baxter.
Mead 170-pounder Gabe Alvarado was eliminated from medal contention early Saturday afternoon when he suffered a 4-3 loss against Joseph Keller of Windsor in the third round of the consolation bracket.
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CLASS 4A RESULTS
Broomfield 140.5, Discovery Canyon, 129.5, Windsor 129.0, Pueblo South 95, Thompson Valley 95, Roosevelt 68, Pueblo Central 67, Montezuma-Cortez 61, Golden 49, Eagle Valley 44, Weld Central 44, Palisade 40.5, Falcon 40, Mead 39, Valor Christian 37.5, Air Academy 37, Pueblo Centennial 37, Mesa Ridge 35.5, Berthoud 32, Arvada 29, Fort Morgan 28.5, Longmont 25, Cheyenne Mountain 24, Canon City 23, Thomas Jefferson 21, Elizabeth 20.5, Montrose 19, Pueblo County 19, Pueblo East 19, Mullen 17, Sand Creek 17, Pueblo West 17, Erie 13, Niwot 13, Lewis-Palmer 12, Rifle 11.5, Vista Ridge 10.5, Durango, 9, Evergreen 9, Summit 9, Woodland Park 9, Conifer 7, Mountain View 7, Greeley Central 5, Northridge 4, Delta 3, Frederick 2, Widefield 2.
106 pounds — Dalton Robertson, Weld Central, dec. Sam Turner, Discovery Canyon, 11-9.
113 pounds — Joel Salomon, Windsor, dec. Drew Romero, Broomfield, 4-2.
120 pounds — AJ Rees, Discovery Canyon, dec. Marcus Martinez, Pueblo South, 11-5.
126 pounds — Dalton Hannigan, Palisade, maj. dec. Bobby Amond, Cheyenne Mountain, 12-4.
132 pounds — Isaac Naro, Pueblo South, dec. Sonny Espinoza, Pueblo Central, 5-2.
138 pounds — Jace Lopez, Roosevelt, dec. Ryan Daves, Montezuma-Cortez, 3-1.
145 pounds — Phil Downing, Broomfield, maj. dec. Tyler Oberg, Discovery Canyon, 10-1.
152 pounds — Kennen Lanteri, Windsor, dec. Cody Soulka, Falcon, 5-3.
160 pounds — Francisco Marquez, Thompson Valley, dec. Seager Oliver, Montezuma-Cortez, 7-2.
170 pounds — Zach Stodden, Broomfield, dec. Chaz Polson, Valor Christian, 3-2.
182 pounds — Kyle Couch, Mead, dec. Trenton Gustafson, Montezuma-Cortez, 4-2.
195 pounds — Garet Krohn, Arvada, tech fall David Traynor, Discovery Canyon, 24-9.
220 pounds — Andy Armstrong, Eagle Valley, maj. dec. Garrett Benell, Canon City, 14-3.
285 pounds — Dakota Gulley, Golden, pinned Robert Bishop-Cotner, 1:27.
106 pounds -- Darek Huff, Broomfield dec. Vladyslav Kazakov, Thompson Valley, 5-1.
113 pounds -- Collin Williams, Thompson Valley pinned Brandon Gonzalez, Mesa Ridge, 4:25.
120 pounds -- Gavril Houston, Elizabeth dec. Aaron Carrera, Pueblo East, 4-2 OT.
126 pounds -- Layth Dieyleh, Thomas Jefferson dec. Jimmy Fate, Berthoud, 6-4 OT.
132 pounds -- Steve Turner, Discovery Canyon pinned Travis Myers, Pueblo West, 3:26.
138 pounds -- Jacob Gerken, Ft. Morgan pinned Joseph Sisneros, Mullen, 1:55.
145 pounds -- Keenan Wyatt, Pueblo Central pinned Chad Ellis, Berthoud, 4:29.
152 pounds -- John Holst, Valor Christian dec. Keenan Willits, Pueblo County, 6-5.
160 pounds -- Kyle Soulka, Falcon dec. Spencer Urban, Roosevelt, 4-2.
170 pounds -- Adrian Mack, Discovery Canyon dec. Caleb Cuneio, Air Academy, 3-1.
182 pounds -- Josh Semmler, Roosevelt dec. Ty LaFramboise, Eagle Valley, 4-3.
195 pounds -- Logan Longworth, Weld Central pinned John Lieder, Pueblo Centennial, 1:50.
220 pounds -- Evan Lancelot, Pueblo Central dec. Conner Eakes, Broomfield, 3-1.
285 pounds -- Tuli Laulu, Sand Creek dec. Justin Petrash, Air Academy, 1-0.
106 pounds -- Michael Ramirez, Pueblo South dec. Clay Robinson, Niwot, 4-2.
113 pounds -- Sage Budd, Mead dec. Davis Baxter, Pueblo South, 5-1.
120 pounds -- Nick Wittrock, Summit dec. Tylar Francis, Roosevelt, 5-1.
126 pounds -- Ian Wingstrom, Ft. Morgan maj. dec. Jacob Kay, Evergreen, 13-5.
132 pounds -- Justin Ray, Palisade pinned Tanner Williams, Thompson Valley, :56.
138 pounds -- Parker Simington, Thompson Valley dec. Hunter Shively, Conifer, 5-3.
145 pounds -- Austin Zuniga, Pueblo South dec. Dominique Hughes, Mesa Ridge, 7-4.
152 pounds -- Jared Albo, Broomfield pinned Drake Greeott, Longmont, 2:26.
160 pounds -- Vinny Gonzales, Windsor dec. Thomas Chisholm, Woodland Park, 8-7.
170 pounds -- Joseph Glenn, Lewis-Palmer pinned Joseph Keller, Windsor, 4:05.
182 pounds -- Cosme Martinez, Windsor maj. dec. Jacob Hawthorne, Vista Ridge, 12-3.
195 pounds -- Demetrius Zissimos, Broomfield dec. Jaime Ramos Vega, Longmont, 3-2.
220 pounds -- Hunter Reinert, Pueblo South pinned Damian Gracia, Pueblo Centennial, 2:01.
285 pounds -- Jesus Casillas, Montrose dec. Austin Harris, Broomfield, 4-2 OT.
LOCAL CONSOLATION SEMIFINALS
106 -- Darek Huff, Broomfield, dec. Michael Ramirez, Pueblo South, 7-2; Vladyslav Kazakov, Thompson Valley pinned Clay Robinson, Niwot, 3:56.
113 -- Brandon Gonzalez, Mesa Ridge, pinned Sage Budd, Mead, 4:55.
152 -- Keenan Willits, Pueblo County, dec. Jarod Albo, Broomfield, 9-6; John Holst, Valor Christian, tech fall Drake Greeott, Longmont, 16-1.
195 -- John Lieder, Pueblo Centennial, dec. Jaime Ramos Vega, 10-7; Logan Longworth, Weld Central, pinned DJ Zissimos, 4:29.
220 -- Connor Eakes, Broomfield, dec. Damian Garcia, Pueblo Centennial, 3-2.
285 -- Justin Petrash, Air Academy, dec. Austin Harris, Broomfield, 3-1.
LOCAL CONSOLATION THIRD ROUND
106 -- Clay Robinson, Niwot, dec. Josh Villa, Windsor, 3-2.
113 -- Sage Budd, Mead, dec. Matthew Lavengood, Durango, 2-0.
132 -- Steve Turner, Discovery Canyon, dec. Brandon Wetsch, Erie, 4-3.
152 -- Jarod Albo, Broomfield, pinned Jeremiah Clymer, Mountain View, 4:33; Drake Greeott, Longmont, dec. Devin Rothrock, Golden, 4-1.
160 -- Spencer Urban, Roosevelt, dec. Ladd Bunker, Erie, 4-2.
170 -- Joseph Keller, Windsor, dec. Gabe Alvarado, Mead, 4-3.
195 -- DJ Zissimos, Broomfield, pinned Joey Sanchez, Eagle Valley, 4:05.
285 -- Austin Harris, Broomfield, dec. Demitrius Miller, Pueblo Centennial, 2-1, OT.