LONGMONT -- The hallway outside the gym at Longmont High School is covered with portraits of victorious Trojans spanning decades in the school's athletic programs.
Like all students and visitors, Longmont heavyweight Chris Palacios has spent plenty of time staring at the images of Longmont athletics lore. Of particular interest to Palacios has been the Trojans wrestling program's rich history in the heavyweight division.
During a 60-18 dual win at Longmont High on Thursday, Palacios pinned Niwot's Mitchell Allen in 3 minutes, 15 seconds. The win cemented the Trojans senior's undefeated 7-0 Northern Conference dual record and an all-conference selection. All-conference means a spot on the wall. A spot on the wall means pride.
"It feels good to be part of Scot Coyle's state championship, Justin Hansen, everybody," Palacios said. "It feels like I'm one of the big dogs around here. I've worked long, hard hours for that and it feels good to have my picture up there."
Scotland Coyle won the Class 4A heavyweight state title in 2010. Justin Reedy-Hansen, who Palacios said beat him up at practice each day, finished sixth at state in 2011 before going on to play offensive line at Colorado State University.
To join them, Palacios knew he needed one more pin to finish the Northern Conference season undefeated and give Trojans coach Adam Keiswetter his first individual all-conference champ. Also knowing he had a size advantage over Allen, the Trojans senior said he was confident going into the match.
"He was smart not wanting to tie up with me because I had weight on him. I would do the same thing if I was in his position," Palacios said. "As soon as he shot on me, I was ready for it because either he was gonna shoot or he was going to stall. I was just waiting for his mistake."
His plan to drive Allen to the floor when he shot for his legs worked and Palacios, who will also have his photo on the wall for football, got his title.
Keiswetter said Palacios, who is ranked seventh in Class 4A the latest Tim Yount On The Mat rankings, has become a different wrestler this season as a result of a new endurance-building training program.
"He's really gotten motivated to kick it up a notch in his conditioning," Keiswetter said.
Of the Trojans' five pins on Thursday, senior Ivan Wolf's was the fastest at 1:47. Ranked eighth at 160 pounds, Wolf put the twister on Niwot junior David Voss twice, only to see Voss wriggle his way free for points. But the third time he used the move, it stuck.
Trojans junior Lane Olsen pinned Niwot junior Matthew Strope in 2:48 at 145, junior Drake Greeott pinned Cougars senior Cristian Ramirez in 4:45 at 152 and sophomore 120-pounder Jared Wells pinned Cougars freshman Fernando Velasco-Ramirez in 3:56.
Patrick McDonough won by forfeit when Cougars freshman Erick Herrera could not continue with an injured knee. Trojans junior Jaime Ramos-Vega won an 11-4 major decision over Cougars junior Brandon Slepicka and his sophomore brother Fernando Ramos-Vega capped the dual with a 9-2 decision over Cougars junior Damien O'Hare.
Ranked 10th at 106, Niwot sophomore Clay Robinson bumped up to 113 pounds and pinned Trojans freshman Ben Ahern in 37 seconds.
"I bumped up to 113s so we could get as many wrestlers on the roster as possible," said Robinson, who is 29-4 after missing the second half of last season with an elbow injury. "A lot of things have popped up with kids getting concussions and injuries but we've been working really hard in the wrestling room so hopefully we'll do well at regionals."
Also winning for the Cougars, junior Joey Lambert rolled through a match-threatening move by Trojans senior Colten Montgomery to win a 4-minute, 47-second fall at 132. Cougars junior 138-pounder Jessie Slepicka pinned Trojans freshman Zach Sprecher in 1:13.
The Cougars forfeited at 126, 182 and 195.
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Longmont 60, Niwot 18
At Longmont HS
182 -- Tom Nichols, Longmont, won by forfeit; 195 -- Forrest Wetterstrom, Longmont, won by forfeit; 220 -- Jaime Ramos-Vega, Longmont, maj. dec. Brandon Slepicka, 11-4; 285-- Chris Palacios, Longmont, pinned Mitchell Allen, 3:15; 106 -- Patrick McDonough, won by injury forfeit; 113 -- Clay Robinson, Niwot, pinned Ben Ahern, 0:37; 120 -- Jared Wells, Longmont, pinned Fernando Velasco-Ramirez, 3:56; 126 -- Eloy Valdez, Longmont, won by forfeit; 132 -- Joey Lambert, Niwot, pinned Colten Montgomery, 4:47; 138 -- Jessie Slepicka, Niwot, pinned Zach Sprecher, 1:13; 145 -- Lane Olsen, Longmont, pinned Matthew Strope, 2:48; 152 -- Drake Greeott, Longmont, pinned Christian Ramirez, 4:45; 160 -- Ivan Wolf, Longmont, pinned David Voss, 1:47; 170 -- Fernando Ramos-Vega, Longmont, dec. Damien O'Hare, 9-2.