Denver Joel Wixson brought the diesel to the mat Friday at the 2001 Colorado State Wrestling Championships.
Wixson, a senior 171-pound wrestler from Hayden High School, used his chiseled frame and past state experience to overwhelm his opponents in the Class 2A quarterfinals and semifinals.
He went 2-0 on the day and is 3-0 overall at the state tourney. One match now remains for Wixson: the 171-pound state title match between him and Daniel Neal of Wiggins High School.
Wiggins High School is the No. 1 team at the state tournament as of Friday.
Akron is second and Hayden is eighth.
Senior Hayden Tiger Anton Fredrickson was defeated in a 135-pound quarterfinal match Friday but rebounded by winning in the second round of consolations. Fredrickson has a shot today to finish No. 3 in the state.
Hayden's Clayton Neumiller and Kelly Bruchez also have an opportunity to walk away from the Pepsi Center with a No. 3 state finish.
Soroco's Josh Iacovetto was a quarterfinal winner but lost in the semifinals. He, too, has a crack at finishing third in the state.
Wixson advanced to the state finals by overpowering Josh Vialpanda of John Mall and Jason Schoonveld of Strasburg.
He beat Schoonveld in the semifinals by jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the opening period. He was on top 7-2 as the two wrestlers entered the final period and came away with a 9-4 victory.
"I feel great," said Wixson, who placed fifth in the state in 2000 in the 171-pound division. "It just feels awesome, words can not explain it. Everything clicked today."
Earlier, during his quarterfinal match Friday, Wixson compiled five points in the opening period to take a 5-0 lead against Vialpanda. He earned those points on a takedown and a near fall.
The only points scored during the next period came on a takedown by Wixson.
In the final period, Wixson received points for an escape, a takedown and two near falls. He almost pinned Vialpanda in the final seconds with a half-nelson.
Wixson won on a technical fall, 16-1.
The state finals start today at 6:30 p.m.
Iacovetto, who is a sophomore 103-pound wrestler, beat Josef Sisneros of Antonito in the quarterfinals, 8-2.
Against Danny Burchfield of Strasburg in the semifinals, Iacovetto was handed an 8-2 loss. He kept it close through the first two periods, but Burchfield poured on three points in the final period to seal the win.
The loss sent Iacovetto to the semifinal consolations that begin today after the third-round consolations that start at 11 a.m.
Iacovetto was disappointed that he lost, but was optimistic following the bout.
"I'm pretty stoked to be as far as I am," Iacovetto said. "I just got to do the best I can and take third place back to my school."
Neumiller, who wrestles in the 189-pound class, won two matches Friday after dropping a preliminary bout Thursday. He used a far-side cradle in the final period to pin Tye Stencel of Wiggins at the 3:55-mark of their second-round consolation bout.
In the first round of consolations, Neumiller beat Chad Malcolm of Limon on a technical fall, 16-1.
Bruchez lost to Trever Kerr of Del Norte in a 145-pound quarterfinal match.
Kerr got on the board first with a takedown that put him up 2-0 and then went on to grab an early 4-0 lead. But Bruchez retaliated, scoring two points on a reversal and then three on a near fall to take a 5-4 lead.
It was tied 6-6 with 19 seconds remaining, but Kerr received four points on a takedown and a near fall to squeak out a 10-6 victory.
Bruchez won his second-round consolation match against James Reynolds of Sargent, 8-6.
Fredrickson, a 135-pound wrestler, lost a close decision to Dustin Uhland of Eads High School in the quarterfinals. He fell behind 8-4 in the final period but closed the margin to 8-6 on a reverse.
Time then expired on the 125-pound defending state champion, who ended up falling 8-6.
In the second-round of consolations, Fredrickson went on top 14-5 against Trevor Chappell of Holyoke before pinning him with a cradle move with 20 seconds remaining.
"I just basically told myself I need to wrestle and come back for third and do the best I can," Fredrickson said. "I was really disappointed with my loss today. I was really hoping I would repeat again. But it just didn't go that way for me."
First-round consolation winners were Hayden's Troy Kochenower (112), Jimmy Rossi (125), Josh Giessinger (140), Kevin Miller (152), Neumiller, (189) and Tanner Copeland (215).
Soroco's Brandon Ager (119), Cody Denning (130), Brandon Gilleland (152) and Tyler Knott (160) were eliminated from the tourney after the first round of consolations. Riley Whiteman, a 160-pound wrestler from Hayden, was eliminated also after the first round of consolations.
Rossi, Giessinger, Kochenower, Miller and Copeland were eliminated after the second round of consolations.