Paonia’s Drinkhouse, Smith win 2A state titles
DENVER — James Drinkhouse and Justin Smith weren’t going to be denied this time.
The Paonia High School seniors, who were state runners-up last year, capped their high school wrestling careers Saturday night with state titles.
Drinkhouse, who was a state runner-up last year for Grand Valley, won his first state title.
“I’ve accomplished all my dreams,” Drinkhouse said. “I’ve been wrestling 15 years. It’s sweet to win it my senior year.”
The senior pinned Merino’s Wyatt Barber in 5:28 to win the Class 2A 140-pound title.
Drinkhouse (19-2) fell behind 2-0 in the match, but knew he could win after pinning Barber in a tournament earlier this season.
“I was ready to go out and finish,” Drinkhouse said. “I knew had I a whole three periods to get it.”
Smith, who was a runner-up last year and a state champion two years ago, won his second state title.
“This means everything in the world,” Smith said. “You want to give up at times, cutting weight and all the pressure, but you battle through all of it.”
Smith (38-4) defeated Holly’s Mike Lozano 4-2 in the 160-pound final.
“He was a brute,” Smith said. “I knew I had to catch him when he made a mistake and he made a mistake. Everybody knows I like the cradle and I put him in it.”
Smith and Drinkhouse led the Eagles to a third-place finish with 117 points.
Paonia’s Michael Brown took fourth place. The 152-pound senior lost a 10-8 overtime decision to Holyoke’s Cade Garrison, formerly of Montrose.
Another Paonia senior, Preston Bonine, took fifth place with a 5-0 victory over Nathan Schroeder of Wiggins at 125 pounds.
Burlington won the Class 2A team title by a seven points over Wiggins, 167-160.
Rangely’s Travis Witherell won the 152-pound state title with a 3-1 decision over Aaron Erker of Wiggins in overtime.
Hayden’s Treyben Letlow defeated Burlington’s Mike Satterly 5-1 in the 215-pound final.
Dove Creek’s Justin Guynes and Rangely’s Devon Rose took second.
Guynes lost to Tyler Davis of Wiggins in the 189-pound final.
Rose lost a 10-6 decision to Buddy Watson of Wiggins in the 130-pound final.