Thursday, February 19, 2004
Time it took to drive from Oak Creek to Denver? More than three hours.
Amount of time spent at Thursday's weigh-ins? More than one hour.
Duration of Soroco junior Whit Gates' opening round match? Seventy-five seconds.
"It's a lot easier road if you win the first one," Gates said.
Gates (32-3) pinned Simla's Jeff Markle 1 minute, 15 seconds into the first period of their opening round match Thursday at the Pepsi Center to stay alive in the championship bracket.
Gates took Markle down in the first two seconds of the match and locked a cradle but couldn't pin Markle. Markle got his legs loose, and Gates came back with a reverse arm bar that put Simla's 152-pounder flush to the mat's surface.
"I knew I had him when I got him on his back, but I'm not that good at the cradle," Gates said. "I was trying to figure out something."
Gates dominated the entire match, shooting quick and fast at the opening whistle. Last year, Gates placed sixth. This year, the junior appears focused on standing a few steps higher on the podium
"He is serious," Soroco coach Doug Gates said.
Whit Gates and junior Matt Iacovetto (140 pounds) are the Rams' lone state qualifiers, but Gates is the only one with title hopes still alive.
Iacovetto, however, can wrestle back to place as high as third, and despite his 7-6 loss to Antonito's Alfonso Casias, Iacovetto is more than capable of accomplishing that, Doug Gates said, especially if he wrestles as he did in winning last weekend's regional tournament.
"I'm not worried," Gates said. "Matt just needs to get focused."
Iacovetto got off to a good start in Thursday's first match, fighting with Casias for wrist control. Iacovetto scored the first takedown with 39 seconds left in the first period, but he was too loose when trying to pull a half nelson and Casias rolled out from under Iacovetto for the late reversal.
Iacovetto nearly had Casias on his back again in the second period, but he was flipped for a reversal and three back points, giving Casias a 7-4 advantage. Iacovetto switched positions with Casias late in the second to pull to within one point.
Neither wrestler scored in the third.
The price for Iacovetto's one-point defeat is this morning's match with Swink's Rob Marshall, last year's champion at 140 pounds. Swink was mildly upset by Wiggins' Craig Potthoff on Thursday. The loser of the Iacovetto and Marshall match is done.
Gates, meanwhile, will meet Antonito's Ryan Trujillo in the quarterfinals. Trujillo pinned Kyle Trautwein of Wiggins. If Gates wins, he is in the semifinals and could race Hilltop Baptist's Andy Nicodin, the defending champion.