Pirates make waves: Seven Olathe wrestlers advance to Class 3A quarterfinals
DENVER — If the Olathe High School wrestling team goes on to capture the Class 3A state championship, the Pirates can point to matches like Kyle Piatt’s first-round contest as difference-makers.
The Olathe junior was one of seven Pirates to post a victory on the first day of the state tournament Thursday afternoon at the Pepsi Center. Piatt was leading 14-0 in the 152-pound match and had a technical fall if he wanted it, but kept battling until he was able to pin Discovery Canyon’s Collin Bennett midway through the third period, earning his team the extra points.
“It was there the entire time pretty much,” Piatt said. “It didn’t feel like I could get it, and then right there at the end it just kind of slipped into the move.”
Olathe is in fourth place in the team standings after day one with 20 points. Lamar is first with 28 points, followed by Valley (23) and Centauri (22). Hotchkiss won five of its seven matches and is 10th overall with 12 points.
Grand Valley sent four wrestlers into the second round and is 13th with 11.5 points. Cedaredge and Coal Ridge each advanced one individual.
Piatt, Ben Pridy (103), Zach Shank (119), Brenton Martinez (130), Kris Nieto (145), Zach Stansberry (160) and Colby Cory (215) also won first-round bouts. Shank was the only other Pirate to win by pin.
“Even the guys who lost today, they still have chances to score us points,” Piatt said. “It’s always big for us, no matter what.”
Grand Valley’s Jerrod Busch (135), Jared Tonder (140), Ryan Gallegos (145) and Tyler Miles (152) also won. Gallegos, who has been a state runner-up three years in a row, won by pin in the first period over Ellicott’s Justin Ellison. Tonder nearly had a pin of his own but had to settle for a 17-0 technical fall over Weld Central’s Devin Spalding. Tonder notched four near-falls in the match.
“I think we’re just a bunch of pinners,” Tonder said. “Whatever we do, we’re always shooting for a pin. We could be 10 points behind and still be gunning for that pin.”
Leading the way for Hotchkiss were Tyler Hanson (130), Ryan Spor (135), Caleb Wyatt (160), Conner Beard (189) and Kyle Douglas (215), each of whom earned victories. Martin Peterson was the only first-day winner for Cedaredge with a decision at 119. Coal Ridge’s Trevor Larson also won by decision at 119.
Eagles second after first day
After advancing eight wrestlers into the quarterfinals of the Class 2A tournament, Paonia can only hope that 12 truly is a lucky number.
The Eagles qualified an even dozen to state for the second year in a row. Paonia captured the title in 2009, and trails Burlington by only two points after Thursday’s opening round.
“We brought 12 last year and won state,” Eagles senior K.C. Martin said. “Twelve is a good number for us at state.”
Nobody was happier with Thursday’s result than Martin, who came into the tournament one year ago as the top seed but was upset in the first round by Stratton’s Josh Cooper. He made amends this year with a second-period pin against Swink’s Luke Schroeder, using a cradle to earn the fall.
“The week before we went over a lot of cradles,” Martin said. “(Coach Andy Pipher) has just been drilling cradles into our head, getting to the point where we can hit them anywhere and just get quick near-falls if we can’t get a pin.”
Also advancing for Paonia were Preston Bonine (125), Adrian Lopez (130), James Drinkhouse (140), Dustin Braslin (145), Michael Brown (152), Justin Smith (160) and Zach Solaas (285).
Meeker lost each of its three first-round matches. Freshman Cody Pfau was trying to become the first female wrestler to win a match at state but was taken down by a 15-0 technical fall. Soroco sophomore Lauryn Bruggnik, who qualified for the second year in a row, led her match after a quick takedown but eventually lost a 9-2 decision.