Conrardy wills way to win

Samora loses in finals for second straight year

James Conrardy of Rifle winning the 4A 140 Championship over Shea Bogardus of Mesa Ridge

DENVER — While warming up before the most important match of his career at the Colorado Class 4A state championship Saturday, Rifle’s 140-pounder, James Conrardy, tweaked his knee.

The tweak was one that wouldn’t have affected him, had he not torn his meniscus Friday in the quarterfinals.

Conrardy reinjured his knee moments before his match with Greeley West’s Nathaniel Garcia.

As he was walking over to the mat, his limp was noticeable. The moment the whistle blew, his knee didn’t falter, and Conrardy captured his first state title with a 10-4 victory.

“I ended up tearing it more, it feels like,” Conrardy said. “It’s hard to control the range of motion in my knee … going out there, I guess the adrenaline kicked in and the pain went away from the knee.”

Garcia came into the tournament at 39-1 and had a finals berth in last year’s state tournament under his belt. The sophomore drew first blood on the wounded senior, scoring the first takedown. Conrardy reversed his younger opponent, and the score was tied into the second period.

Garcia’s takedown was the last time he had control of the match, however. Conrardy came close to finishing the match in the second,  the period ending with Garcia on his back and the ref coming very close to dropping his hand on the mat.

Conrardy controlled the third period as well, scoring three points and holding Garcia scoreless.

“His will and his drive to win is incredible,” Rifle coach John Wisniewski said. “It’s been an honor and privilege of mine to be able to coach him for four years. It’s been a fantastic journey.”

Rifle had a second-place finish from Tad Davis (285) and two third-place finishes from James Martinez (135 pounds) and Brian Key (215).

Davis came into his match undefeated but was still an underdog against top-seeded Justin Williams from Englewood. The match went in typical heavyweight fashion: no scoring in the first period, an escape by Williams in the second and an escape by Davis in the third.

The final 30 seconds, however, changed the course of the state title. With both wrestlers in neutral and Davis already having been warned with a stalling call, Williams started engaging Davis with half-hearted shot attempts.

With six seconds left in the match, instead of swallowing his whistle, the ref hit Davis with a stalling call to decide the title.

Martinez (135) was also the victim of a controversial call when he was knocked out of the winners’ bracket Friday. A caution was called on him in sudden death overtime against eventual champion Jordan Guitierrez from Broomfield.

Martinez fought back to win his next three matches and wrestle against top-seeded Jeremy Aguero from Pueblo South in the third-place match. The match went to overtime, but Martinez left no room for a referee’s judgment and scored a takedown for the sudden-death victory.

Key didn’t wait for overtime, sticking Fort Lupton’s Fabian Guerrero 1:37 into his match.

Broomfield won the team title, scoring 164.5 points with one champion and five runners-up.

Rifle finished in fourth place with 83 points and four wrestlers placing in the top four.
Montezuma-Cortez’s Justin Samora lost in the finals for the second straight year, falling 3-2 to undefeated Justin Gonzales from Northridge at 152 pounds.

The wrestlers sparred back and forth in the first round, with neither wrestler taking an advantage.

Gonzales scored two points in the second period and another in the third and won 3-2.

This is the third year Samora has placed at the tournament, and the fourth year he has qualified.

After being knocked out of the semis with a 6-4 loss to Dalton Kelley from Alamosa, Samora’s teammate, Casey Lynn, recovered to beat Broomfield’s Jerry Huff 5-2. Lynn faced off against Travis Himmelman of Conifer for third place. Lynn and Himmelman came into the tournament as the top two seeds, with Himmelman entering the state tournament undefeated.

They finished regulation tied 3-3, but Lynn took down Himmelman quickly in overtime to get the two-point victory.

Palisade freshman Daniel Salazar lost 6-2 against Todd Bushman of Castle View in the battle for fifth place at 103 pounds. Junior Kelly Davis took sixth place at 130, losing 9-3 to Sean Mahaney of Alamosa. Davis was competing in a tough weight class that had two-time state champion Dale Shull from Fort Lupton defeating fellow two-time state champion Dan Frank from Roosevelt in the finals.

Montrose had two wrestlers finishing strong in the medal rounds. Sophomore 112-pounder Drew Schumann finished fifth with a 10-7 win over Robby Workman of Berthoud.

Clancy Garoutte finished his high school career with a third-place finish, pinning Broomfield’s Josiah Graham with seven seconds left in the second period. Garoutte’s only loss in the tournament came against undefeated and top-seeded Brice Wolf from Greeley Central.


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