Beautiful Rose: Olathe senior survives wrestlebacks to qualify for Class 3A state tournament
PARACHUTE - T.J. Rose, Olathe head coach and father of Olathe 145-pound wrestler Troy Rose, hopped off his seat. His son had scored a takedown for a one-point lead with 40 seconds remaining. A senior, and coach’s son, was wrestling for his season in the state-qualifying wrestleback.
The final 30 seconds of the Class 3A Region 1 wrestling tournament at Grand Valley High School ended with son making dad proud, fighting off a takedown and finishing with an air-jabbing celebration that later had dad sniffing back proud tears.
“I’m happy for him,” T.J. Rose said, “especially for his senior year.”
Buena Vista won the regional with 186.5 points, and Olathe finished second with 173. The Pirates sent six wrestlers to next weekend’s state wrestling championships at Denver’s Pepsi Center. Hotchkiss placed fourth (143), Grand Valley fifth (130) and Cedaredge sixth (116.5) out of 12 teams.
The top four individuals in each weight class qualified for state.
Olathe’s champions were Austin Shank at 113 pounds, Trenton Piatt at 120 and Jacob Solseth at 132.
Solseth had plenty of motivation. He lost last season’s regional final in the final minute, and he also had lost to his championship opponent Saturday, Adam Visconti of Middle Park, in triple overtime this season.
“I was more ready to go this time,” Solseth said, “because I knew this is where it counts.”
Piatt, the No. 1-ranked wrestler in his weight class, improved to 40-0 with his pin in four minutes, 49 seconds of Hector Chagoya of Buena Vista. After the match, Piatt grabbed a cell phone from his dad. It was Piatt’s brother, Kyle Piatt, a varsity wrestler at Western State Colorado University. He’d been listening on the radio.
Kyle Piatt was a three-time regional champion for Olathe. Trenton Piatt, a junior, is on the same pace, having notched his second.
“He just told me, ‘Good job, and keep at it,’ ” Trenton Piatt said.
Shank, in his 113-pound final, also pinned his opponent, Garrett Toothaker of Hotchkiss, in 1:33. Shank also is a two-time regional champion.
“This is like the intro to state,” Shank said. “Just getting ready.”
For Austin Todd, it was much more. The Cedaredge 106-pounder scored a major-decision victory over Grand Valley’s Cody Pfau in the championship. Essentially, it was a $900 win. Todd said his father agreed if he became a regional champion, he would to give Todd half of the $1,800 needed to attend a wrestling camp this summer at the University of Wyoming.
The other half?
“I have to place in the top six at state,” Todd said.
But not all of the matches came with monetary rewards. In the 145-pound championship, Hotchkiss’s Joe Boyle won a 17-5 decision over Ruben Chagoya of Buena Vista. Boyle said he is a talker on the mat — with all of his opponents. He said Chagoya already was a friend.
“When I was wrestling him I was trying not to laugh,” said Boyle, who said he plans to enlist in the Army. “When I’d take him down he’d look at me and smile.”
Zack Taylor made it two Hotchkiss champions, winning the 285-pound division with a 2-0 decision over Olathe’s Tommy Brew.
Host Grand Valley didn’t leave without its own champion. Michael Salazar won a 10-5 decision over Buena Vista’s Michael Wilcoxson of Buena Vista in the 160-pound final.
“Last year I had my heart broken and took second place here,” Salazar said. “But I’ve had some good role models to see, and they put in hard work every day.”