Matt Iacovetto got his revenge.
The Soroco junior faced Hayden's Jake Doolin earlier this year in the Steamboat Springs High School Tournament, and Doolin won, 5-3. Doolin scored all five points with a throw in the first 30 seconds of the match. In the Class 2A Region 1 Tournament in Grand Junction on Saturday, Iacovetto avoided Doolin's signature throw and defeated Doolin, 5-4, for the 140-pound region championship and a No. 1 seed in the state tournament next weekend.
"I just wanted to stay away from his throws," Iacovetto said. "He's pretty good at them."
Doolin said he expected Iacovetto to anticipate his throws coming and tried to win with a different strategy. Iacovetto did not change his strategy, Doolin said. "He did what he's always done," Doolin said. "If I would have kept him from riding my legs, I think I would have won."
This is Iacovetto's first region championship and his second trip to the state tournament.
Routt County will be well represented in the 2A State Championships with five wrestlers. Hayden will be sending three, and Soroco will be sending two. Soroco, however, is the only school that is bringing home region champions.
Soroco junior Whit Gates also won a region championship for the 152-pound weight class, defeating Wade Garvey of Nucla, 5-3. Gates said Garvey was the toughest opponent he faced all weekend. "(Gates) didn't make any mistakes," Gates' father and Soroco coach Doug Gates said. "And you can't make any mistakes with a guy like that. Whit waited to capitalize, wrestled strong and had a good reverse to get the points he needed."
Hayden got the points it needed to send three wrestlers to the state tournament. Doolin and Jason Rolando will be seeded No. 3 by placing second in the region. Randy Muhme will have a No. 4 seed after placing third in the region.
Rolando faced what he called a "strong and quick" opponent in Derek Smuin in the 189-pound finals. Rolando could not get the upper hand in the match and lost 8-1.
"He knows how to execute his moves," Rolando said. "If I would have used the moves I've learned better, I could have won."
Muhme, in the heavyweight division, lost his first match Friday, meaning the best he could place Saturday was third. In his first match Saturday, he pinned Rangely's Josh Meriwether in the second period, but the referee waived off the pin because of an expired clock. Muhme eventually won with points, and had to face 6-foot-9, 275-pound Chris Kennedy for third and a chance at a state championship.
Muhme faced and pinned Kennedy three times earlier this year, but Kennedy was "more determined this time," the 247-pound Muhme said. Kennedy was close to pinning Muhme Saturday -- very close. Muhme was on his back, and Muhme's family members were on the edge of their seats. "I was thinking I had to have third," Muhme said. "I knew it was too easy to give up, and I didn't want to give up because my whole family was watching." Muhme kicked out from under Kennedy's massive body, and held on to him, the victory, and a trip to the state championships. "We thought we had three that could go to state, and three are going," Hayden coach John Svoboda said. "I'm pleased with the way today went -- with the way the season went. The kids wrestled hard, and I'm proud of them."
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