It is only the beginning of something very special at Monarch.
The well respected Coyotes coach, Ezra Paddock, has the ship steered in the right direction and those in the wrestling know around the state understand the progress being made.
On Saturday night, Cole Polluconi became the first Monarch finalist since 2007 when he took on defending Poudre state champion Jacob Greenwood in the 132-pound finals.
What was a 2-2 match early in the second period quickly swung in Greenwood's favor when he scored a takedown and three near fall points to take a 7-2 lead to the final period. The tournament's three day grind showed on Polluconi in the waining seconds and he settled for a runner-up finish, losing 15-4.
"I'm going to go home and go to bed," said Polluconi, who finished his sophomore season with a nifty 41-3 record. "It drained quickly throughout the match."
Paddock was more than pleased with his young teams performance, that sent seven wrestlers to state two to the podium. Senior Caden Feenstra finished sixth at 145-pounds.
"What Cole accomplished for our program today was huge. You gte a guy to the finals, it makes everyone else hungry to get there," Paddock said. "We are young, they all see it and they are all going to want to do it and they will probably want to keep going right now."
Wild ride for Dohm ends on the podium
It wasn't all that long ago that Noah Dohm was having a heart to heart with Broomfield basketball coach Terrence Dunn about his future with the Eagles.
He realized that it wasn't going to work out, so he marched down to the office and instead of asking for his winter sports fee back, he instead said move it to wrestling.
It may have only now began to really pay off.
The Broomfield senior capped off a remarkable season on the mat, his first since a brief weeklong sting in middle school, with a fifth place finish at the Class 5A state tournament. He beat Brighton's Tanner Aitken -- who had twice beat him during the season -- via pinfall in the second period to earn his spot on the 220-pound podium.
"This is a goal I had at the beginning of the year, but I really didn't know what it meant or how involved the journey was going to be," said Dohm, who was so new to the sport that he was stunned when the official raised his arm invictory after his quarterfinal match. "I'm so grateful I had a chance to do this. It's definitely the greatest accomplishment, I've ever had athletically."
His decision might also help further his education and the collegiate athletic career he so coveted. Dohm was getting looks from the Otero Junior College coach and the potential is there for him to wrestle at the next level.
"I never though any thing like that would ever happen," he said. "I was disappointed with the lack of football offers that I expected for so long, and during the season I decided I wanted to place at this tournament to prove that I have it in me and that I am a good athlete. People were wrong not to believe in me."
Said Broomfield coach Pat DeCamillis, a three time state champion back in his day at Arvada: "He's just a phenominal young man that came down here and did what he needed to do to place. It's a matter of not letting him think too much and let his athletic ability take over. You just show him enough to where he is confident, but not too much where he tries to out-think himself."
When asked if he thought Dohm could wrestle at the next level, DeCamillis was blunt.
"Yes," he said.
Also placing fifth for Broomfield was 113-pound senior Brandon Tyson. In his final prep wrestling match before he heads off to West Point, Tyson outlasted Pomona freshman Justin Pacheco 1-0.
"After getting upset on Day 1, I was pretty bummed. My goal was a state title and that was crushed in the first match," said Tyson, who was excited to have a big meal as soon as possible. "I just got my head on straight and cut the weight and then came back and wrestled as far back as I could."
The Eagles finished with 44 team points and earned a top 15 finish in Class 5A. Sophomore heavyweight Mason Watt was pinned in his third place match by Grandview senior Joshua Vigil-Harrison at 2:47.
Niwot's Stager rebounds to take third
After he was eliminated from title contention on Friday night, Niwot's Tommy Stager received an uplifting message.
The note came from Niwot's last state champion Garin Daum, who won a state title in 1993. It was exactly what the Cougars' latest title hopeful, who still has his senior season ahead of him, needed to hear.
"He messaged me on Facebook and told me that more often than not, the best wrestlers are the guys who finish third," Stager said. "Unfortunately, I couldn't get that number one spot and I lost to Justin Davis (Pueblo County), who is a terrific wrestler. But it definitely felt great to come back and show my stuff."
On his way into the 4A 132-pound consolation final, Stager (47-5) beat Thompson Valley's Zach Kennison (47-5), 5-1 in the consolation semifinals. Of Kennison's seven losses this season, four have come against Stager.
In the third-place match, Stager dominated Battle Mountain's Jesus Morales (32-8). Stager led 4-1 before pinning Morales in 1 minute, 33 seconds.
While he has placed in every state tournament he has entered since seventh grade, Stager has never finished a tournament with a win. Not only was Stager happy to see that streak ended, he made it a personal goal to finish his final match in 2016 by pinfall. By the time his hand had been raised and he was headed out of the Pepsi Center, Stager had already turned his attention to next season.
"I've got a revenge tour to go on, I'll tell you that much," Stager said.
Stager placed fourth at 120 pounds last season and sixth at 113 pounds as a freshman in 2014. In each of his prep seasons, Stager has moved higher up the podium and Cougars head coach Bobby Matthews likes the persistent young wrestler's chances of eventually breaking through.
"Sometimes that's just the way the bracket works out," Niwot head coach Bobby Matthews said. "Tommy's semifinal basically amounted to a state championship match. Even that was a winnable match. For him to come back and dominate in his last two matches was great to see. I've seen a lot of kids get crushed and end up in sixth.
"He's still got one more year left and I can guarantee that he'll do whatever it takes to win a state title."
Erie's Evertz earns first medal
At the end of an up-and-down state tournament for the Erie wrestling team, Tigers junior Adam Evertz was the lone Tigers grappler wrestle his way onto the podium.
Evertz, who went 2-2 as a sophomore at state last season, reached the 3A 113-pound championship quarterfinals before losing by pinfall to Platte Valley's Brian Rodriguez. Evertz (34-13) wrestled his way through the consolation bracket to reach the fifth-place match, where he was again pinned by Rodriguez (21-9) in overtime.
Placing sixth earned Evertz his first medal.
Silver Creek's Evans slides into sixth
A week after qualifying an impressive six-man group for the state tournament, the Silver Creek wrestling team landed one wrestler on a podium.
Raptors junior Justis Evans placed sixth in the 4A 152-pound bracket, losing by pinfall to Falcon's Christian Richards in the fifth-place match. Evans led momentarily in the third period but lost the lead on a late reversal and was pinned with 10 seconds remaining on the clock.
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