Reed’s 113-pound victory caps Paonia’s team title
Reed's 113-pound victory caps Paonia's team title
DENVER — Jesse Reed’s first high school state wrestling tournament couldn’t have been any better.
The Paonia High School freshman won his first state wrestling title, the Eagles won their third team title (in seven years), his dad was on the mat coaching and his four sisters made the trip to see it.
“This moment is unreal right now,” Reed said. “Being a freshman coming to the state tournament and winning it is just unreal.
“I’m just so happy I’m on this team. We work hard every day. Hard work pays off.”
Paonia easily won the team title, with 179 points. Baca County took second with 115.5. Meeker was 21st with 28 points.
“We’ll have practice tomorrow at two o’clock and get started for next year,” Paonia coach Andy Pipher quipped. “Someone said, ‘You can’t practice on Sunday, that’s a CHSAA violation. I said ‘Season’s over, we can practice any day we want,’ … joking of course.”
The Eagles began working on this year’s state title in June at their annual summer camp. Paonia hosts 34 teams and guarantees each team 12 duals. It takes place in the high school and middle school gym.
“The kids that are winning state titles, the coaches are putting in a lot of time,” Pipher said. “You don’t do it anymore by coming out for the season. They’re traveling all summer with these kids. We’re just fortunate to have a lot of kids and great community support.”
Paonia had nine wrestlers place, led by Reed’s victory in the 113-pound final.
Reed pinned Burlington’s Miguel Torres in 2:38 with … the patented Paonia cradle.
Reed couldn’t contain his excitement, jumping up, pointing to his sisters in the stands and bear-hugging his father, Bobby Reed, who was a two-time state champion for Paonia (1978-79).
“The kids are so fortunate to have a coach like Coach Pipher,” said Bobby Reed, who picked up his son after the match. “It doesn’t just happen during the season. Andy spends a lot of time in the summers, his own time, money, hours and hours with these boys. The big secret is of course the coach and the community is huge. You have support from the administration.”
Bobby Reed came back to help coach wrestling four years ago. He coached Andy Pipher at Hotchkiss High School. Pipher was Reed’s first individual state champion, Reed said.
Paonia junior Morgan Rieder had an opportunity to win an individual state title, but made a mistake and paid for it.
Yuma’s Tyler Korf pinned Rieder in 32 seconds in the 182-pound final.
“I got in really bad position and he caught me,” Rieder said. “It shows you can’t get out of position when you’re wrestling.
“I think I was too hyped up. I could’ve gone three rounds easy if I would’ve kept in good position.”
Seven Paonia wrestlers came back through the consolation bracket to place. Four of them were seniors, including Adrian Lopez, who was on the 2009 team that won Paonia’s second state team title.
Lopez came back to take third place at 138 pounds after losing a 2-0 decision in the quarterfinals. The three-time state placer won four matches in the consolation bracket, pinning three opponents and winning a 15-0 technical fall over Hayden’s Nick Williams in the third-place match.
“I’m not going to lie, when I lost that I was crushed,” Lopez said. “It’s so hard to come back (in the consolation bracket) your senior year. It definitely hurts, but I knew I had to do it for the team to bring home that team title.”
Freshman Josh Altman placed sixth at 106, senior Dustin Braslin placed fourth at 145, junior Jorge Quinonez was fifth at 152, senior KC Christian was fifth at 170, senior Myles Cumpston placed fifth at 220 and sophomore Tony Darling was third at heavyweight.
Meeker’s Justin Hardy came back and took third place at 170 pounds. The senior won four matches after losing in the quarterfinals. He pinned three of those opponents and defeated Rocky Ford’s Bo Soden 13-0 in the third-place match.
“It feels great, a lot of hard work pays off,” Hardy said. “I wanted to go out and dominate. I wanted to run my moves and take over. Being my last match my senior year, I was ready to go out and wrestle.”
Hardy qualified as a sophomore, but didn’t place.
“I’m proud of him. It’s tough to come back in the consolation when your goal is to win the state championship,” Meeker coach J.C. Watt said.