Gappmaier leads Mavs in Colorado Mesa Open
A wrestler can take an early lead in a match, but it doesn’t matter unless he finishes strong.
Jon Gappmaier struggled with that last season, likely costing him a chance to qualify for the NCAA Division II nationals.
It became a point of emphasis for him in the offseason.
“Jon made a total commitment, stayed here all summer, worked camps and it’s paying off,” Colorado Mesa University coach Chuck Pipher said. “He’s got to keep working hard like he has and plug away.”
Gappmaier (12-3) won two overtime matches to win the first Colorado Mesa Open on Saturday at Brownson Arena. He was one of 14 Maverick wrestlers to place in the tournament. Team scores are not kept in open tournaments.
“I’d rather win by a lot more, but I got it in the end,” Gappmaier said. “The semis was definitely the lucky one at the end.
“I gave up a takedown late in the third, then got a reversal to stay in it (and force overtime). I fought tough to score a takedown to take it.”
The Colorado Mesa junior 157-pounder defeated Grand Canyon’s Ryan Miller 7-5 in the first overtime.
Gappmaier went double overtime in the championship match before scoring a reverse and holding on as time ran out against Jake Falk, an unattached wrestler from Utah Valley University.
“With 15 seconds left, I knew I had to go for something,” Gappmaier said. “I ended up throwing him off and he opened up so I was able to shoot behind. He was definitely worn out. I was able to outlast him.
“Last year, with 15 seconds left I probably would’ve sat there and let it end.”
Redshirt Tyler Juby pinned his way to the 165-pound finals before losing a 15-5 major decision to Western State’s Jorge Benitez.
“That’s what happens when you live and die by the throw,” Pipher said.
Mesa’s Dylan Granard, ranked fourth at 165, didn’t wrestle.
Trevor Donarski (149), Justin Schumacher (157), Caleb Wyatt (165) and Nick Petersen (184) took third place.
“I was hoping for sure to get first,” Donarski said. “I’m a little disappointed to get third.”
Donarski lost 7-1 to the eventual champion, Bobby Ward of Grand Canyon (Ariz.) University, in the semifinals.
Ward is a Division I national qualifier and transfer from North Carolina State.
“He started off with two takedowns right away in the first period,” Donarski said. “After that, I wrestled solid.”
Donarski defeated teammate James Martinez 10-2 in the third-place match. Donarski defeated Martinez in the UNC Open final three weeks ago.
Martinez (149), Jordan Passehl (197) and Paco Retana-Quinones (285) placed fourth. Josh Christopher (125) and Zak Slotten (174) took fifth. Tyler Nelson (133), Brayden Humphreys (141) and Garrett Stowall (174) placed sixth.