Paonia captures 2A state wrestling title
DENVER — Paonia senior Justin Iacovetto finished off his perfect season with a perfect ending — a team and individual state championship.
Iacovetto won the 119-pound Class 2A title Saturday night when he pinned Andrew Scherrer of Simla in 5 minutes, 39 seconds.
Along with his top finish, Paonia placed six others in the top six to win the Class 2A team championship with 139.5 points. Paonia beat second-place Wiggins by 19.5 points after trailing Friday night by one-half point.
Paonia coach Andy Pipher couldn’t have been more excited about how his team performed during the tournament.
“Just awesome, the kids wrestling great as a team, and couldn’t ask for any more,” Pipher said. “We sent 12 kids (to the tournament) and all of them won a match and scored points.”
After last year’s second-place finish while a student at Soroco, Iacovetto had no problem being ready for the match, but he was glad to have finally won the title.
“I felt 100 percent, I was ready for it, and felt pretty good about it,” Iacovetto said. “I am glad I finally got it done.”
His win improved his record to 24-0, but when asked about his perfect record at the end of the season, Iacovetto said he doesn’t really care.
“The only record that matters is 4-0 at state, and that is great,” he said.
His victory clinched the team title for Paonia, which he said was the biggest of all the accomplishments.
Paonia’s other state champion came at 152 pounds, where Lukas Wiggins defeated Rangely’s Christian Holcomb 5-2.
After tearing a knee ligament during the season, Wiggins decided not to have surgery because he didn’t want to miss out on his senior year.
“My senior year I had to finish, I had to finish out the year,” Wiggins said. “I made a pact once I got this brace on, I wasn’t going to lose.”
Wiggins also wanted to be a part of a team that he knew was going to be great.
Ty Sickels of Nucla was able to defend his title successfully with a 9-4 win at 135 pounds over
Ryan Talmich of Rocky Ford. Sickels was proud of the win after a hard season.
“It feels great, feels like all that hard work we put in paid off,” the senior said.
Sickels said this championship means more than last year.
“Yeah, I am way excited about this one,” he said. “To continue the tradition at Nucla for being a multiple state champion.”
Norwood had a great night with two champions. Both Hugh Hardman and Stryker Lane became three-time champions and finished their seasons undefeated.
Hardman won his match at 140 pounds over Layne Crumley of Akron with a 10-2 decision.
Lane won the match at 215 pounds with a pin in 3:06.
Hardman dedicated his win to his family and coaches, saying he won his first two titles for himself, but felt he also needed to win for Norwood. What makes Lane’s championship so impressive is the fact he wasn’t scored on all year, and only twice since the beginning of the 2007-08 season.
In addition to two state champions, Norwood was able to place two more in third and fifth. Ty Spangler was third at 160 pounds, and Ethan Alexander placed fifth at 171. With their performances, Norwood finished fifth in Class 2A with 90.5 points.
Rangely had a good performance at state, with five in the top six.
Christian Holcomb was the top finisher, losing to Wiggins in the final at 152. Ryan Cramer finished third at 145 pounds with a win over Cody Rober of Sedgwick.