FREDERICK — Zach Roach has figured something out.
The Erie 138-pound senior entered last week’s Gary Daum Invitational at Niwot with a losing record, but made it all the way to the finals before taking second.
On Saturday at the Frederick Invitational, Roach climbed up one more notch on the podium with a thrilling pinfall victory in the third period over Class 4A’s No. 7 ranked Cody Donovan of Loveland.
It was his first wrestling tournament title of his career.
“It’s just been practice and working on my conditioning, that’s what I’ve taken the most interest in,” said Roach, who attends Cornerstone Christian Academy in Westminster. “And the third period is all heart, and when it comes down to it, it’s a matter of who wants it more.”
Donovan led the match going to the final two minutes by a score of 4-2. But Roach’s persistence paid off in the third when he won an arm battle with Donovan and was able to put him on his back and score the eventual pin at 4:30.
Did he surprise himself a little bit?
“No, not really. I put in all the work during the week and I come into every match mentally winning it,” said Roach, who has intentions of joining the Naval Academy and has received his letter of recommendation from Senator Michael Bennett. “I go out there and execute my plan and give it my all.”
Said first year Erie coach Josh DeSherlia: “He just started putting it all together. He lacked a little confidence in the beginning and he wouldn’t move a guy around or get on the head or push the pace. Once he figured he could outlast any of these guys the way that we trained he started to gain that confidence.”
Roach was one of nine BoCo area wrestlers to make the finals on Saturday, but only one of two to post victories.
The only other champion was Silver Creek’s Jacob Williams at 285 pounds. Williams, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A in the latest On The Mat rankings put out by Tim Yount, had his work cut out for him against No. 3 Michael True of Mesa Ridge.
True led 1-0 after two periods, using a second period escape to go to the third with the lead. But Williams started in the down position in the third and was quickly awarded a penalty point when True was grabbing on to his singlet.
Williams, now tied 1-1, would eventually escape to take a 2-1 lead and then held off the aggressive True for the win.
“It feels really good, and it was hard at first because he landed on my knee, but I found a good spot and fought through,” Williams said. “Stuff like that might get called and it might not, its really a what-if kind of deal. But if I work as hard as I can and do my best, the results will work out.”
The best match on paper was at 152 pounds where Mesa Ridge’s 4A top-ranked Elijah Valdez squared off against Holy Family’s No. 3 in 3A Hunter Branson. Valdez, a senior, had his way with Branson and was up 11-0 after two periods before pinning the sophomore at 5:02 in the third.
The host Warriors sent two wrestlers to the finals. Cruz Jimenez lost to Mountain Range’s Hunter Carr 11-3 in the 113 pound final and Robert Saldi was pinned by Thomas Jefferson’s Sam Cole in the 170 pound final.
Boulder’s Soren Sovndal reached his second straight tournament final, but was once again upended in the championship match, this time by Golden’s Drake Troyer, 6-0.
Team scores — Mesa Ridge 233, Valor Christian 160.5, Loveland 152.5, Ralston Valley 130, Frederick 122, Thomas Jefferson 119, Skyline 110.5, Mountain Range 97.5, Erie 97, Holy Family 80, Fairview 58, Boulder 52, Strasburg 37, Golden 34, Northridge 33, Standley Lake 33, Silver Creek 32, Holyoke 26.5, Niwot 22.
106 — Bobby Macias, Thomas Jefferson pinned Rudy Lopez, Erie, :41 .
113 — Hunter Carr, Mountain Range major dec. Cruz Jimenez, Frederick, 11-3.
120 — Devin Lueck, Mesa Ridge pinned Trevor Harris, Erie, 3:36.
126 — Isaias Estrada, Thomas Jefferson pinned Collen Baurenschmidt, Ralston Valley, 3:56.
132 — Drake Troyer, Golden dec. Soren Sovndal, Boulder, 6-0.
138 — Zach Roach, Erie pinned Cody Donovan, Loveland, 4:30.
145 — Colton Frost-Bryant, Ralston Valley pinned Joe Szymanski, Holy Family, 2:26.
152 — Elijah Valdez, Mesa Ridge pinned Hunter Branson, Holy Family, 5:03.
160 — Payton Polson, Valor Christian dec. Cort Cunningham, Northridge, 9-6.
170 — Sam Cole, Thomas Jefferson pinned Robert Saldi, Frederick, 1:55.
182 — Kouper McQuigg, Loveland dec. Darius Wayne, Valor Christian, 3-2.
195 — Jared Volcic, Mesa Ridge pinned Adam Church, Valor Christian, 2:30.
220 — Dominick Fini, Mesa Ridge dec. Easton Cecil, Valor Christian, 3-1.
285 — Jacob Williams, Silver Creek dec. Michael True, Mesa Ridge, 2-1.