Hotchkiss brought home two silver medals and a bronze and finished in sixth place with 92 points at the 2A state wrestling tournament in Denver. At 113 pounds, Sergio Campos took silver Saturday night on a loss to sophomore Dillon Jaramillo of Rocky Ford. With 13 seconds remaining, Jaramillo scored an escape for the win. "I thought I had him there at the end," said Campos.
A sophomore with a 34-5 record, Campos was the No. 1 seed heading into the tournament. After the loss he said he was "super nervous" stepping onto the mat, but in the end, it was a good learning experience. "I could have done better by shooting a lot more and keeping a lot of pressure on him," he said.
Campos wasn't the top seed by accident. "He deserves to be there," said head coach Richard Flores. "He's definitely put in his time." Since peewees Campos's parents have taken him to tournaments throughout the state and the region.
Campos said he started wrestling in kindergarten and took to it right away. His dad and uncle got their love of wrestling from Coach Flores' dad, Henry Flores, a three-time state champion (1967-71) from Fowler with a 95-1 record. Campos said he would miss out on other sports to wrestle in tournaments. "Just growing up with it was very special to me," said Campos. He plans to continue wrestling this spring and into summer.
Senior Wade Katzdorn was seeded second and brought home the silver at 160 pounds. In his first three matches he spent less than six minutes on the mat. Katzdorn took his final loss in stride. "I did a dumb move that I thought would work and it didn't," said Katzdorn. "It's over and it's done and it's time to move on. You can cry about it, or you can go get some food. I think I'm going to go get some food."
Katzdorn is a four-year state qualifier for the Bulldogs. He ends the season with a 37-6 record and a four-year record of 133-43. Katzdorn, whose dad placed third at state in high school, said he's grateful for the experience, and for all the coaching he received over the years. "I would never have been as successful as I was without Flores," said Katzdorn.
Senior Colton Hall finished with a win. Hall pinned his first opponent in 1:03 and his second in 3:51. In semifinals he had a tough match, said Flores, losing, 5-3, in overtime to No. 2 seeded senior Cody Venem of Rocky Ford. Venem went on to win the title match. Toward the end of the match Hall got taken down at the side of the mat. Anything can happen at state, said Flores. A kid can be the best in state, but a tiny mistake can mean the difference between a win and a loss.
"He's been the most consistent kid on the team all year," said Flores of Hall. "We really wanted to push him through" to the championship round. Hall got what Flores called "the next best thing."
In the third-place match Hall pinned Skyler Score, a 30-6 senior from Highland, in 2:57. "He kind of gave up at the end a little bit," said Hall. He saw that as an opportunity and locked him in a cradle and pinned him.
"It's a good way to end my career, I think," said Hall. "It's not where I want to be, but I can't complain."
Hall ends the season with a 43-6 record. He said it's helped to have so much support from his family, including his dad and coach, Matt Hall. "It's meant the world to me," he said.
Hall also has a younger brother, Tracer, wrestling in middle school.
At 106 pounds, sophomore Landen Mayberry won his first two matches before losing to the No. 1 seed from Rocky Ford. He finished his season strong with a 10-5 win over the No. 2 seed from Highland to place fifth. Junior Devin Curtis also qualified at 195 pounds.
Senior heavyweight Conner Collins was seeded 12th and opened the tournament with an upset, pinning the No. 5 seed to advance to quarterfinals. He dropped into consolations after a loss to the No. 4 seed. On Saturday, Collins pinned his first opponent in 27 seconds before heading into what Flores described as the heartbreak round. "It's what a lot of kids run into," said Flores. Win in that round and wrestlers are guaranteed a medal. Lose and they go out one match away from placing.
Collins lost the heartbreak round to the No. 1 seed from Stratton, who was upset by Western Slope wrestler Tyler Ilgen of Meeker. Collins, a three-time state qualifier, ended the season with an 11-7 record.
Including Collins, Katzdorn and Hall, Hotchkiss will lose six out of nine state qualifiers and a total of 10 seniors, among them 126-pounder Chris Lovato, 138-pounder Colton Deluzio, and 220-pounder Joseph Nault. Not all of the seniors on the team wrestled varsity, "But all of them played a big part" of the team, helping to get the team in shape for state, said Flores. "I'm going to miss them all."