Piatt adds to family legacy by winning first state title
DENVER — Trenton Piatt finished his final season perfect Saturday night and became the latest in a long line of wrestlers in his family to bring a state title back to Olathe.
The four-time state qualifier won a convincing 5-0 decision over Conrad Cole of Brush, a returning state champion, in their 120-pound final at the Class 3A state wrestling tournament.
Piatt (35-0) got a takedown and a near fall midway through the first period and maintained that lead throughout.
“It gave me a cushion,” he said, but that didn’t mean he let up. “You’ve got to always stay aggressive. You can’t sit on a lead.”
The victory makes up for a second-place finish at state two years ago and a fourth-place finish at last year’s state meet, which he entered undefeated.
Piatt hopes the state title will help him earn a college wrestling scholarship.
“Hopefully I can win a national title,” he said.
ESPINOZA ONE STEP SHORT
Palisade junior Randen Espinoza came up just short in his attempt to stand atop the podium in Class 4A. Espinoza was pinned Pueblo County freshman Grant Willits with only eight seconds remaining in the 106-pound final.
He fell behind 2-0 in the first period after nearly getting the takedown moments earlier. Trailing 4-0 midway through the third, Espinoza tried a flip move to get out of the bottom position, but it allowed Willits to put Espinoza on his back.
“It was a desperation move, and he just caught me,” Espinoza said.
Crediting his opponent, one of three Willits brothers to wrestle for a state title Saturday, Espinoza, who lost by major decision to Willits in the previous week’s regional tournament, said, “He keeps going, he’s strong, (and) he’s quick.”
Espinoza wants to take that final step and win the title his senior season.
“I’m just going to work different moves (and) get stronger,” Espinoza said of his offseason plan. “I’m going to give it everything I’ve got, plus 110 percent.”
Goss feted for 50 years
Bernie Goss of Grand Junction was honored Saturday by CHSAA for his 50 years of working at the state tournament.
His capacities at the state tournament have included working as an official, an officials liaison and on the tournament committee.
“When I put on a striped shirt in (19)64, I never dreamed I would serve in those capacities,” he said.
This year’s tournament will be Goss’s last in a working capacity, he said, and he retires in good conscience.
“I feel good, and it’s time to move on,” he said. “It’s time to find my recliner.”
What will he miss the most about the state tournament?
“I’ve worked with many fine people in a number of capacities,” he said.
Not satisfied with third
Fruita Monument junior Jacob Seely (46-1) wrestled back Saturday to claim third place at 195 pounds in Class 5A, which was a matter of pride, he said. But he wasn’t happy.
His 5-3 quarterfinal loss in which he surrendered all five points in the final 10 seconds Friday still stung Saturday.
“The way I finished was unacceptable,” he said of his only loss of the season. “I wrestled 15 bad seconds all season, and that was it, right there. That was a beginner’s mistake. I can’t make those at this level. That was silly. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
Saturday, Seely won his third-place match by pin in 37 seconds, a final exclamation point after also winning by pin, technical fall and major decision in the consolation rounds.
“I didn’t want to be that guy who comes in undefeated and loses,” he said. “I know a lot of people would have been happy with third, but me, I can’t stand it.”
Third place is acceptable
On the other end of the spectrum for Fruita was junior Ty Taylor, who won four decisions in the consolation rounds, including a wild 11-9 victory for third place.
He said third place as a junior “feels pretty good,” because he could accept there were two other 182-pounders who were better than him this year.
“I feel like that is truly the best I can do,” said Taylor, who lost his quarterfinal Friday by first-period pin to Ponderosa senior Dylan Gabel, a returning state champion. “When I lost, I just had to get past it. I realized what the situation was.”
Other area wrestlers placing third through sixth were:
■ In 5A, Grand Junction juniors Isaac Rider (138) and Tyler Zook (220) placed fourth and junior Kohlby Wells (120) was sixth.
■ In 4A, Palisade senior Dalton Hannigan (132) was fifth; Rifle senior Dallas Rohrig (132) was fourth and junior Jose Prado (285) was fifth; Montrose sophomore Terrell Banuelos (106) was fourth and senior Jesus Casillas (285) was sixth; and Delta junior Marcus Garcia (285) was fourth and senior Cordell Stroud (182) was fifth.
■ In 3A, Olathe’s Austin Shank rebounded from his semifinal loss to claim third place and Tayson Harris finished sixth at 152 for the Pirates.
Hotchkiss senior Garrett Toothaker (113) was the Bulldogs’ lone placer, taking fourth, and sophomore Austin Todd (120) was Cedaredge’s lone placer, finishing sixth.
Grand Valley had two fourth-place finishers; William Hinkle (160) and Bryan Hegwood (182).
■ In 2A, Paonia junior Josh Altman, who had a heartbreaking loss in the final few seconds of the Class 2A 120-pound semifinals, lost 2-1 in the third-place match to finish fourth. At 170 pounds, Logan Schopp also placed fourth for the Eagles.