Fruita’s Voytilla realizes dream with state title win
DENVER — Clayton Voytilla is a state wrestling champion.
It was a long time coming, and even the Fruita Monument senior was in disbelief that it actually happened.
“It was pure excitement,” Voytilla said after winning the Class 5A heavyweight title Saturday night.
Voytilla admitted that when he was a young wrestler, he had his doubts that he would ever stand at the top spot of the podium, but that was his goal.
“Ever since I started wrestling, it’s been my dream to win a state title, and here I am,” he said.
Voytilla earned the title with a 3-1 decision over Forrest Lalaguna of Centaurus, and it came down to the final seconds.
After being patient in the first period, Voytilla was nearly turned in the second, but he used his strength to fend off the larger Lalaguna.
Voytilla, who weights 229 pounds, was smaller than most of his opponents during the regular season, and the title match was no different.
The match was tied at 1-1, and it was decided by a mad scramble where both wrestlers were in vulnerable positions. But Voytilla gained the advantage and scored a takedown with only five seconds left to win the match.
He jumped to his feet with a huge smile and pointed to the hometown fans in the Pepsi Center stands.
“I just knew I had to keep wrestling, and good things happen when I do,” Voytilla said.
After having his right arm raised in victory, he ran over and hugged head coach Dan Van Hoose and assistant coach Justin Seely.
Van Hoose said right before Voytilla took the mat, the senior told him, “I never thought I’d ever be here.”
Van Hoose said it’s been extremely satisfying to watch Voytilla grow from a bad wrestler to a state champ.
“As a freshman, watching him barely winning matches, to his sophomore year not much better, it’s just amazing,” the coach said.
“I was really kind of awkward as a freshman, but as I matured, I got stronger and bigger,” he said.
Van Hoose said it was also about gaining confidence.
“It was so much about confidence with this kid,” Van Hoose said. “He had such low confidence when he started, and to see him build his confidence over the years has been so cool to see.”
Voytilla, who has signed to play football at Colorado Mesa University, said when he was younger he was just a football player who wrestled.
Now that he’s gown into a state champ, he now can say that he’s a wrestler and a football player.
“It’s incredible, very satisfying,” he said.