FORT COLLINS — It has been nothing short of a long and winding road for Broomfield's Levi Diecidue since he took up the sport of wrestling three years ago.
He has learned a lot of lessons, suffered some tough setbacks, but all the hard work that he has put into his passion finally paid off on Saturday afternoon at Fossil Ridge.
The Eagles junior knocked off two ranked 113 pound wrestlers at Fossil Ridge on his way to his first tournament victory and in the process earned the title Front Range League champion.
"I have always pictured it and it is hitting me deep inside," said Diecidue, whose mother couldn't make it but called from Greeley to wish her son good luck. "I've worked hard to get where I am at and I am still learning the game of wrestling."
Said Broomfield coach Pat DeCamillis, "For him to be a league champion, you have no idea what it says about that kid considering the hardship he has been through. The battles he fights on a daily basis, for him to come here and win that, it's awesome."
Diecidue was one of five Broomfield finalists, three off which — Presley Madril (106 pounds) and Mason Watt (285 pounds) — won titles and helped the Eagles (159 points) to a third place finish in the team race behind Poudre (222) and Rocky Mountain (168).
In the semifinals, Diecidue held on late to beat Rocky Mountain freshman Christian DeHerrera (ranked No. 9) 10-9 to set up a championship match against No. 11 Curtis Federico.
Federico was up 3-1 in the second period, when Diecidue turned the tables on the Spartans senior. He got him on his back and was awarded the pin at 3:14.
"It's all mental, that's what the coaches tell me, I just have to believe," Diecidue said. "Wins like this give me more belief in myself that I can do this now, I really can."
Diecidue's victory cam on the heels of Madril's 106-pound victory that went to the final whistle against Rocky's Evan Shell. Madril was up 9-5 in the waning moments and Shell got him on his back and three late nearfall points made it a 9-8 match before time ran out.
At 120 pounds, Eagles freshman Darren Green (ranked No. 6) was having his way with No. 5 Alex Alvarez of Poudre, up 6-1, until one wrong move had costly consequences. Alvarez eventually stuck Green at 4:55.
"That kid beat us last week and we lost that match today because we didn't stay in good position," said DeCamillis, who also had freshman Bryant Walker in the 195 pound finals. "But I was pleased with overall as a team, how we competed."
Watt, who sat out the Top of the Rockies last week as a precaution to heel an ailing ankle, looked good in rolling to the title at 285 pounds.
After giving up a few points to Legacy's Lee Biersner in the semifinals, Watt (ranked No. 3) would eventually pin his crosstown rival and he did the same to No. 7 Jonathan Engle of Fort Collins in the title match.
"That was not a great performance (in the semis) and I know I can do better, I just had to fight off my back and pin him," said Watt, who lost a lot of football weight (320 pounds) to gain wrestling (275 pounds) speed. "I feel great and I am ready for state, for regionals and ready to win it all."
Monarch's Xander Rens claimed the 145-pound title with a 6-5 victory over Fossil Ridge's Kyle Smart. The only other local in the championship finals was Fairview's Duncan Heath at 220 pounds. He lost to Poudre's Weston Mayer 8-2.
FRONT RANGE LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Fossil Ridge
Team scores — Poudre 222, Rocky Mountain 168, Broomfield 159, Fort Collins 90.5, Legacy 90, Monarch 78.5, Greeley West 77, Fossil Ridge 73, Loveland 61.5, Mountain Range 37.5, Fairview 32, Horizon 27.5, Boulder 14.0
106 — Presley Madril, Broomfield dec. Evan Shell, Rocky Mountain, 9-8.
113 — Levi Diecidue, Broomfield pinned Curtis Federico, Greeley West, 3:14.
120 — Alex Alvarez, Poudre pinned Darren Green, Broomfield, 4:56.
126 — Job Greenwood, Poudre pinned Will Henrickson, Fossil Ridge, :24.
132 — Brody Lamb, Poudre pinned Zachary Leal, Poudre, 1:31.
138 — Jacob Greenwood, Poudre pinned Josh Boulton, Fort Collins, 1:22.
145 — Xander Rens, Monarch dec. Kyle Smart, Fossil Ridge, 6-5.
152 — Josh Betts, Rocky Mountain major dec. Cedric Culhane, Rocky Mountain, 18-7.
160 — Peter Knott, Poudre dec. Matt Maguire, Rocky Mountain, 8-4.
170 — James Campbell, Poudre dec. Oscar Espinoza-Diaz, Loveland, 5-4.
182 — Xavier Vasquez, Greeley West dec. Nathen Meyer, Fossil Ridge, 6-4.
195 — Cole Yung, Poudre dec. Bryant Walker, Broomfield, 8-2.
220 — Weston Mayer, Poudre dec. Duncan Heath, Fairview, 8-2.
285 — Mason Watt, Broomfield pinned Jonathan Engle, Fort Collins, 1:45.
113 — Christian DeHerrera, Rocky Mountain won by forfeit over Aidan Quinn, Monarch (5-match rule).
126 — Joey Joiner, Legacy dec. Johnny Murphy, Rocky Mountain, 4-2.
132 — Mitch Mueller, Legacy won by forfeit over Cameron Turman, Fort Collins (5-match rule).
138 — Parker McQuade, Monarch pinned Ryan McVicker, Poudre, 4:04.
145 — Christian Lofton, Broomfield won by forfeit over Hunter Pape, Monarch (5-match rule).
152 — Preston Renner, Broomfield dec. Tristan Perez, Monarch, 10-5.
160 — Alan Studt, Fort Collins dec. Drew Worthley, Broomfield, 8-1.
182 — Drian Hays, Legacy pinned Alec Hargreaves, Rocky Mountain, :36.
195 — Jake Bennett, Rocky Mountain dec. Joshua Beaver, legacy, 5-3.
285 — Michael DeCamillis, Broomfield pinned Maclean Graves, Rocky Mountain, 1:49.