Paonia’s team title hopes alive in Denver
DENVER — Going into the final day of competition, Paonia finds itself in contention for 2A wrestling supremacy.
Three wrestlers from Paonia are moving on to the championship matches of the Class 2A State Wrestling Championships after wins Friday night in the semifinals.
Justin Iacovetto at 119 pounds, Justin Smith at 145 and Lukas Wiggins at 152 all advanced.
Smith was able to avenge a loss in regionals to Rangley’s Ryan Cramer by pinning him in 1 minute, 45 seconds. However, he wasn’t entirely confident.
“I was a little nervous,” Smith said. “(Ryan) Cramer had me in a headlock at regionals.”
Smith said although his individual accomplishment of making the championship is great, winning as a team would better since his brother has one and he doesn’t.
“If we do win the team title, it would be the first since my brother won it (2006),” he said.
But Smith went on to say it is a great accomplishment just to make the finals, regardless of the outcome. He faces defending state champion Colten Huskey from Dove Creek.
Wiggins earned a 5-3 decision over Hayden’s Jake Magee, a wrestler he had to beat for the third time. Wiggins knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
“The kid I beat had been to the finals before,” Wiggins said. “I beat him twice this year, but it is hard to beat someone three times. It was going to be a really good match.”
Like Smith, Wiggins is happy to be in the finals, but wants to help the team win the overall title.
“It feels great (to be in contention). My freshman year I won it, and it would be great (to win it) as a senior,” he said. “There is nothing better than winning.”
Iacovetto continued his dominance, improving to 22-0 with a pin over Rocky Ford’s Ricky Long in 4 minutes, 57 seconds. Iacovetto looks to win his first title after finishing second last year.
In addition to the three left in the championship brackets, Paonia has five wrestlers remaining in
the consolation round, making them the team to beat on the final day.
Nucla’s Ty Sickels won at 135 pounds over Clayton Archuleta of John Mall, 6-2. The defending champion wrestles for a title today.
Norwood is sending two to the finals with Hugh Hardman at 140 pounds and Stryker Lane at 215. Both wrestlers are undefeated this season. What makes Lane’s run impressive is he hasn’t been scored on all year.
Matches begin today at 11:00 a.m. with 3rd round consolation matches. The 2A fifth-place matches begin at 2:30 p.m., then is immediately followed by the third-place matches.
Championship matches for all four classes begin at 6:30 p.m. with the Parade of Champions.