Saturday, February 23, 2002
Denver It was a big roar to come out of a 103-pounder. From the side of the mat, Josh Iacovetto's cry of victory could just be heard over the thousands of cheering fans in the Pepsi Center as he ripped off his leg band, pumped his arms and then jumped into the air for a bear hug from coach Doug Gates.
After taking third at last year's state tournament, after an injury kept him off the mat until January, after holding off Calhan's Austin Blount in the final two minutes of the final round, Iacovetto was finally state champion.
"It's the greatest thing in the world," Iacovetto said about a season that began with double hernia surgery and ended with a state championship.
The 103-pound Soroco junior entered the third period of the championship match ahead 3-1. In the bottom position, Iacovetto gained an escape when he rolled out from under Blount and tried to gain control for a reversal. With a three-point lead and both wrestlers on their feet, Iacovetto locked arms and kept Blount from going underneath him for a takedown.
In the final seconds of the match, Iacovetto grabbed onto Blount's legs and was going for a takedown as the whistle blew to end the match at 4-1.
"I just knew I couldn't get turned to my back and then I would win it," Iacovetto said. "He was tough. He really wanted to duck under."
After neither wrestler scored in the first period, Blount struck first when he escaped from the bottom position. Iacovetto earned his first point when
Blount was called for stalling and then tacked on the deciding two points with a takedown.
After beating Wiggins' Jacob Beydler 10-8 in the quarterfinals Friday,
Iacovetto earned a berth in the championship match. Despite the hernia injury that had him starting his season in January, Iacovettto said it was his goal to finish the season as state champion.
Iacovetto is the first wrestler in more than five years to bring a state title home for the Rams.