NIWOT — As minuscule as the stoppage was, it was agonizingly long for Drake Greeott. And it almost cost him Thursday night.
The 160-pound Longmont wrestler got a chance to catch his breath with two seconds left in the third period against Niwot’s Jessie Slepicka with an official’s timeout, up just a single point at 9-8 with Slepicka positioned down for the restart.
Not only did Greeott know Slepicka was getting the same reprieve, he knew the Niwot senior gained the chance to rethink a possible escape.
“I knew I was getting some energy, but he was getting some, too,” Greeott said. “I knew what was coming, I knew he was going to throw a switch … it was close, real close.”
Slepicka did get up and out of the hold, eventually. But it was too late, and the decision stood for Greeott, ranked No. 9 in last week’s On the Mat Class 4A standings.
With his and four other wins in contested matches for Longmont, the Trojans won the meet 48-30. Jared Wells, Nathan Morris, Lane Olsen and Fernando Ramos Vega also claimed victories for LHS.
Tied at 7-7 late in a rematch between the two ranked wrestlers, Greeott and coach Adam Keiswetter decided to give Slepicka (ranked 10th) a free point with an escape, gambling that with 30 seconds left Greeott could score another takedown.
It worked to perfection, sort of. He got the two points he needed to pull ahead as time ran out, but both wrestlers also ended up out of bounds as the horn sounded. The referee then put time back on the clock.
Despite Slepicka’s best efforts, Greeott savored the tight victory and is now turning his focus on the final two weeks of regular-season wrestling.
“At that point, sometimes it’s just hard but all you try and think about is getting that win,” Greeott said. “Personally, now I just have to keep focused on the goals I’ve made and the achievements I want. You just have to grind it out at this point.”
“We know Drake is awesome on his feet, so we let him up,” said Keiswetter. “A little too close for comfort. Drake should have won the match, and he did, but he made a few mistakes in there that kept (Slepicka) in it.
“Tonight wasn’t an overall great performance. The guys that should win did, but I was hoping to be a little more dominant.”
Niwot head coach Scott Sanchez knows Slepicka will respond. As for his team, the Cougars were hampered Thursday by giving up two more open weights than Longmont, thus 12 points on the scoreboard.
The Cougars’ Tommy Stager (113 pounds) and Austin Ivan (120) scored wins, as did Joey Lambert at 138 pounds.
“For Jessie to get in there and almost win the match, I think he is on his way toward regionals and state,” Sanchez said after the team celebrated Senior Night. “This will be a learning experience for him.
“Lambert came off a disappointing weekend, and this is the match to turn him around and get him headed in the right direction again.”
Lambert, ranked No. 13 in his weight class, took a big lead against Ben Ahern into the second period and looked hungry for the pin. He got it just 25 seconds into the middle stanza.
“I knew it was going to be a close dual tonight, and six points is better than five (for a tech fall),” Lambert said. “I just wanted to work for that pin, because it’s always good for the team.”
After Slepicka’s match, Lambert was quick to go over and console his teammate.
“Last time they wrestled, he lost by two points and this time it was just one point. He’s drawing him closer, and I think Jessie’s got him next time,” Lambert said. “I just told him to keep your head up.”
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LONGMONT 48, NIWOT 30
At Niwot HS
106 — Matthew Toles, Niwot, won by forfeit; 113 — Tommy Stager, N, p. Gus Cropp, Longmont, 2:26; 120 — Austin Ivan, N, p. Anthony Rubalcabra, L, 2:26; 126 — Jared Wells, L, p. Joey Wahl, N, :42; 132 — Nathan Morris, L, d. Aaron Nicoll, N, 9-4; 138 — Joey Lambert, N, p. Ben Ahern, L, 2:35; 145 — Lane Olsen, L, p. Angel Perez, N, 1:19; 152 — Ivan Wolf, L, won by forfeit; 160 — Drake Greeott, L, d. Jessie Slepicka, N, 9-8; 170 — Fernando Ramos Vega, L, p. Damien O’Hare, N, 4:18; 182 — Tom Nichols, L, won by forfeit; 195 — Jaime Ramos Vega, L, won by forfeit; 285 — Brandon Slepicka, N, won by forfeit.