Second-place finish is a ‘blessing’ for Jacob Solseth
DENVER — Given where Jacob Solseth was only a few months ago, standing on the podium Saturday evening at the Pepsi Center was a moment to cherish.
The Olathe High School senior was obviously feeling the sting of a one-point loss in the Class 3A 132-pound championship match, but he wasn’t so devastated that he couldn’t appreciate just how far he has come.
“I’m definitely glad to be here. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Solseth said. “I’m glad I could do it and I’m glad I could make it this far.”
Solseth, who sustained a ruptured spleen in a car accident before the season began, was close to bringing home a title before Bennett’s Joshua Miller scored a late takedown for a 6-5 victory.
Although Solseth admitted he wanted to go a little bit further, he was glad just to be in Denver on Saturday.
“They didn’t even know if I would be wrestling at all this year, let alone (doing) anything,” Solseth said. “I healed up quickly, so it’s definitely a blessing from God to be here.”
Olathe placed ninth, scoring 63 points in the tournament, with junior Trenton Piatt (120 pounds) and sophomore Austin Shank (113) finishing fourth.
Hotchkiss was one spot behind the Pirates in 10th place with 60.5 points as seniors Jesse Head (138) and Joe Boyle (145) were runners-up in their respective classes.
Alamosa won the team title with 136.5 points.
Solseth trailed Miller 4-2 going into the second period, but a takedown knotted the score. Miller opted to start the third period from a neutral position, putting Solseth up by one, but the Bennett senior took Solseth down with a little more than a minute remaining.
“Jacob did a great job this whole tournament, knocking off that No. 2 from Alamosa,” Olathe coach Tee Jay Rose said. “He just had a heck of a tournament for his last one.”
Shank fell 5-1 to Holy Family’s Vincent Casados. On an adjacent mat, Piatt was taken down hard late in the second period by Holy Family’s Julian Prieto and appeared to hit his head.
The trainer examined him and ultimately ruled he couldn’t continue the match.
“I feel for every one of them,” Rose said. “It’s not an easy sport. It’s an emotional roller coaster all week over here.”
Hotchkiss had its own roller-coaster ride over the three days of the tournament. Head and Boyle had dominated their competition going into Saturday, but were both pinned in the finals.
Head, who had three victories of his own by pin, was taken down late in the second period by The Classical Academy’s Andrew Register and pinned with one second on the clock.
“I know in the championship they finally caught on and were ready to stop it,” Head said of the move that had led to his three pins. “But I still had to just do what I was doing.”
Boyle came out on the attack against Centauri’s Jason Buhr but was taken down three times in the first period. Buhr scored the pin at 1:40.
“I kind of wasted my time trying to scope him out and tried a move I wasn’t good at,” Boyle said. “I got caught. He’s a good wrestler, though, so hats off to him.”
The seniors shared a hug after Boyle came off the awards stand. Head called the tournament “a great experience” and thanked his coaches, family and friends for their support all season.
Boyle was disappointed but could still smile after it was all over.
“I’m not even sad. I’m a little bummed I lost, but hey,” Boyle said. “I did something that few could do in the first place. I’m happy either way.”
Grand Valley’s George Stagg (145), Michael Salazar (160) and Bryan Hegwood (170) each placed sixth. Stagg and Salazar are both seniors and Hegwood is a junior.
Senior Cody Pfau saw her bid to become the first female to place in the state tournament come to an end Saturday morning with a 13-7 loss to Bennett’s Andrew Clark.