Denver In the tunnel underneath the stands of the Pepsi Center, Hayden's Tanner Copeland laid down on the cold concrete floor and covered his face with a black T-shirt. But the T-shirt couldn't hide his disappointment of losing in the final seconds of the 215-pound championship match.
Dropping a 3-0 match to Holly's Lyndon Wagner, Copeland's second-place finish was still far better than any ranking the podium underdog was given heading into the state tournament.
"I wanted to be first, but I guess the next best thing is second," Copeland said.
With neither wrestler scoring after two periods, Copeland entered the final period on top. Wagner was able to work his way out for one escape point.
With Wagner in the lead and timing running out, Copeland went for a headlock but got caught by Wagner, who swung around to tack on two reversal points right before the third period ended.
"He was a tough kid. He got that first point and I got
desperate at the end and choked. I tried to throw the headlock and got behind," Copeland said.
When Hayden's Kevin Miller beat Sargent's Chance Parsons in the second round of an overtime match of the semifinal championship round, he said the match could have gone either way. And, on Saturday, it went the other way as Parsons won in overtime to take fifth and send Miller home with a sixth-place showing.
With no points in the first period, Parsons got the first point when he escaped from the bottom position. Miller responded with a single leg takedown to pull ahead 2-1, but Parsons tied it up with another escape. At the start of the third period, Miller gained the lead again when he got out from under Parsons for a one-point escape.
But Miller was then called for stalling to tie the match at 3 and both wrestlers looked for the winning takedown. Still tied at the end of the third period, the match went into overtime. On the bottom, Parsons quickly rolled out from underneath to win the match on a reversal.
"I knew wrestling him before in that match, it was going to be a battle until the very end," Miller said of his last high school wrestling match.
After the eventual state champion, Crowely County's Torben Walters, knocked Miller out of the championship bracket Friday night, Miller was bumped from a top-four finish when he lost to Cheyenne Wells' Blake Bogenhagen in the semifinal consolation round Saturday morning.
Despite a near pin in the last few seconds of the match, Miller could not pull off the win that would advance him to the third- place round.
With less than a minute left and down 13-7, Bogenhagen earned two points for a takedown, which Miller escaped from. Then, Miller earned a takedown and threw Bogenhagen into a headlock to gain three back points. But Bogenhagen was able to roll off his back and reverse Miller to end the match ahead 17-12.
Earlier in the day, Soroco freshmen Matt Iacovetto and Whittier Gates dropped out of the tournament when they lost in the third round of consolations in close matches.
With less than 30 seconds left in the match and trailing by two points, Iacovetto was caught on his back and pinned by Center's Carlos Valencia.
The 112-pounder went into the third period down 4-3 and in the top position. The match stayed close when Valencia got an escape point and then Iacovetto tacked on one point for stalling.
A Valencia takedown put the match at 7-4, but Iacovetto escaped to add on one more point. Both wrestlers earned one more escape point to put the match at 8-6.
In the final minute, the wrestlers were on their feet and Iacovetto was looking for a takedown to tie the match. Going in for the takedown,
Iacovetto was caught with a lateral drop by Valencia, who rolled him over for the pin.
That loss ended Iacovetto's quest for a top-six place in the state.
Gates' place chances also died in the third round of consolations. At 130 pounds, Gates dropped a 13-8 match to Norwood's Wade Henderson. In the first period, Gates trailed close when he lit up the scoreboard first with a takedown, but Henderson then escaped and took down Gates. After a Gates' escape, Henderson took him down again to put the match at 5-3.
With Gates taking top in the second period, Henderson managed to work in a reversal then turn Gates over for three back points. Gates escaped and then went on in the third period to work in two reversals, but could not catch Henderson's lead.