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Wrestling: Monarch’s Trujillo-Deen heads to finals after dramatic win over Boulder’s Airola

  • DENVER, CO, Feb. 18, 2022: Emilio ...

    Emilio Trujillo-Deen, top, of Monarch, wins his 132 pound match with Joey Airola, of Boulder, during the semifinals of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Denver on February 18, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Emilio Trujillo-Deen, of Monarch, wins his ...

    Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Emilio Trujillo-Deen, of Monarch, wins his 5A 132 pound match during the semifinals of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Denver on Feb. 18, 2022.

  • DENVER, CO, Feb. 18, 2022: Emilio ...

    Emilio Trujillo-Deen, of Monarch, wins his 5A 132 pound match during the semifinals of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Denver on February 18, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • DENVER, CO, Feb. 18, 2022: Ramon ...

    Ramon Salazar, of Erie, right, beats Jason Soto, of Pueblo Centennial at 4A 126 pounds during the semifinals of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Denver on February 18, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • DENVER, CO, Feb. 18, 2022: Ramon ...

    Ramon Salazar, of Erie, beats Jason Soto, of Pueblo Centennial at 4A 126 pounds during the semifinals of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Denver on February 18, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • DENVER, CO, Feb. 18, 2022: Jenna ...

    Jenna Joseph, of Mead, wins at 161 pounds in the girls division during the semifinals of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Denver on February 18, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Jenna Joseph, of Mead, wins at ...

    Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Jenna Joseph, of Mead, wins at 161 pounds in the girls division during the semifinals of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Denver on Feb. 18, 2022.

  • DENVER, CO, Feb. 18, 2022: Brayden ...

    Brayden Bach, of Holy Family, is beaten by Samuel Rosales of Jefferson at 3A 106 pounds during the semifinals of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Denver on February 18, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Ryan Vigil, of Broomfield, advances to ...

    Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Ryan Vigil, of Broomfield, advances to the finals at 4A 152 pounds during the semifinals of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Denver on Feb. 18, 2022.

  • DENVER, CO, Feb. 18, 2022: Dalton ...

    Dalton Berg, of Mead, lets Bryce Garcia, of Pueblo County, escape during the semifinals of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Denver on February 18, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • DENVER, CO, Feb. 18, 2022: Dillon ...

    Dillon Roman, of Monarch, wins at 5A 138 pounds during the semifinals of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Denver on February 18, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Michael Brazeau, of Erie, left, loses ...

    Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Michael Brazeau, of Erie, left, loses to Bronco Harrison, of Roosevelt, during the semifinals of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Denver on Feb. 18, 2022.

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DENVER — Boulder senior Joey Airola thought he’d punched his ticket to his first state final since his freshman year. Monarch’s Emilio Trujillo-Deen believed he’d escaped for a point in the last second of regulation to send Friday’s semifinals match into an extra period.

The wrestling boons went the way of the Coyotes junior after a brief huddle by the officials, and then not long after, they did again for him in overtime. Trujillo-Deen recorded a takedown in the extra period for the 6-4 sudden victory decision to nab his place in Saturday’s Class 5A 132-pound final at Ball Arena.

At match’s end, a rejoiceful Trujillo-Deen, who’d lost to Airola in their previous two meetings this season, pointed to his adoring fans and went hopping away to celebrate a bit more. He was one of three wrestlers from Monarch to reach Saturday’s finals.

Airola, meanwhile, stunned, faded into the arena’s lower tunnels. Up against a wall with his head down, he tried to put into words what had just transpired.

“It was a tough match,” Airola said. “I thought I had it. But I guess he got out at the end. My mind just wasn’t right for that overtime.”

Two of the Front Range League’s best wrestlers had traded points throughout an entertaining, back-and-forth match. Trujillo-Deen had an early two-point takedown in the first period only to be matched by a pair of one-point escapes by Airola to tie things going into the third.

There, Trujillo-Deen took the lead with an escape before Airola jumped ahead with a late takedown to go up 4-3. Then with the match reset to the middle with 3 seconds remaining, Trujillo-Deen gave a thumbs up to his coaches before he pried his way out from under Airola to score a last-second escape to send things into OT.

That’s where some controversy took place. With the clock at zeros, Airola put his hand out to shake Trujillo-Deen’s, thinking the match was over. Officials didn’t immediately make a ruling and instead conferenced for a couple minutes before awarding the point.

“You can’t challenge in high school, so it’s whatever the refs say,” Airola said. “The other ref said I lost control with a second left.”

The Monarch junior recorded an early takedown in the first extra period for the win.

“I told my coach, ‘It’s OK coach, I got this,’” Trujillo-Deen said when asked about his confident thumbs-up with his state title hopes dwindling away. “And then in my head, I was like, I said that, so now I better do it.”

Trujillo-Deen will face Pomona’s Elijah Olguin Saturday night for gold.

As what he can take away from such a dramatic win from Friday is to “wrestle my style,” he said.

Trujillo-Deen will be joined in the finals by teammates Dillon Roman (138s) and Cole Carlucci (182s) as the Coyotes eye a top-three finish.

Airola, who injured his knee in the quarterfinals and wore a brace in the semis, will go into consolations and will podium for a fourth straight season. He’ll wrestle at Nebraska-Kearney next year.

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