It took two overtimes, but Soroco's Joel Schlegal, bloody mouth and all, will wrestle another day, and teammate Matt Iacovetto will join him.
Schlegal and Iacovetto lost their quarterfinal matches Friday morning. Facing elimination, however, each came back and won in Friday night's consolations, as both eye a podium finish in the 2005 Colorado State Wrestling Championships.
Iacovetto, who beat Nucla's Adam Smith, 9-4 on Friday night, placed fourth last year.
"To leave without a medal in my senior year would be pretty disappointing," Iacovetto said.
Schlegal, who is wrestling in his first state tournament, beat Meeker's Josh Prescott in double overtime. Schlegal had pinned Prescott in their only previous match this season. Friday, Schlegal spent most of the match with his face and his mouth full of braces pressed to the mat.
Prescott scored the first takedown in the first period and was warned for stalling early in the second. Schlegal got a point on an escape with five seconds left in the second period and tied up the match when Prescott received his second stalling call in the third.
Neither wrestler scored in the sudden-death overtime, sending the match into a second. It was Schlegal's first double-overtime bout of the season.
Prescott won the coin flip and elected to take the down position, meaning he had 30 seconds to escape or lose.
Schlegal held on -- barely.
With Prescott close to getting free, both wrestlers ended up out-of-bounds with eight seconds left, which likely saved Schlegal. The pair returned to the center circle, and Schlegal grasped Prescott with all the strength his 103-pound body could muster until the whistle sounded.
"I knew I could hold him down," Schlegal said. "He slipped, and I didn't have a good hold on him. I knew I needed a better hold."
After watching Smith come from behind to win in overtime Friday morning, Iacovetto knew the Nucla wrestler was going to wrestle hard Friday night. Iacovetto got the first takedown with five seconds left in the first, scored two more on a reversal midway through the second and nearly pinned Smith to build a 7-0 lead.
"I told him you have to put it all on the line and give it all you've got," Rams coach Doug Gates said. "
Leading 9-4 in the final 20 seconds, with his coaches screaming, "Watch the headlock," Iacovetto sidestepped Smith's last-ditch effort to pin him in the 152-pound bout.
"I knew it was coming," Iacovetto said about the headlock. "It's all he could do."
Schlegal lost to Lyons freshman Mikel Munro in Friday morning's quarterfinals, 8-4.
Schlegal led, 4-3, in the third, but Munro got a late takedown and turned Schlegal on his back for three back points to finish with an 8-4 win.
"It was that close," Gates said.
So was Iacovetto's quarterfinal match against Merino senior Ross Brunkhardt, the defending state champion at 135 pounds. Brunkhardt got the first takedown early, but Iacovetto escaped in the second period. Neither wrestler scored in the third, as Brunkhardt went on to win, 2-1.
Soroco freshman Levi Gonzales was eliminated in Friday morning's consolation round at 112 pounds, losing 6-1 to senior Myles Downare of South Park. Gonzales qualified fourth out of Region 1, so he was in a harder state tournament draw than any other Routt County wrestler. This year was valuable experience for the Rams wrestler, who finished 27-10 overall.
Today's third round of consolations begins at 11 a.m. at the Pepsi Center. Schlegal will wrestle John Mall freshman Stewart Maldonado. Iacovetto will wrestle Centennial senior Diego Mondragon.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail email@example.com