The mats smelled of fresh disinfectant when Soroco freshman Justin Iacovetto stepped into the center circle for his opening match at the 2006 Colorado State Wrestling Championships.
As one of the first wrestlers to compete in Thursday's first round, Iacovetto had little time to calm his nerves between warm-ups and competition. The freshman looked every bit like an upperclassman, defeating Fowler junior Bryant McCustion, 6-1, to advance to today's quarterfinals at 103 pounds.
"It went probably better than I thought," Iacovetto said. "Last time I wrestled him, it was 4-1. This time I was more in control."
Iacovetto (34-5) started things off strong for the Rams. Junior Joel Schlegel, as expected, looked tough in his opening-round match at 112 pounds, defeating sophomore Eddie Urban of Wiggins, 11-3. Schlegel (34-5) also had wrestled and defeated Urban earlier this season.
Sophomore Dennis Morgan was pinned by Center's Floyd Chavez in the third period.
The three points Urban scored were more a result of Schlegel's aggressivenes than Urban's ability to escape Schlegel's grasp. Schlegel didn't think he wrestled his best, saying he wasn't feeling good Thursday.
"I just kind of got tired," Schlegel said. "I just didn't get anything tight on him."
Schlegel controlled the match from the outset, scoring the first two points on a takedown 17 seconds into the first period. He got two back points with 53 seconds left in the first. Urban scored two points on a reversal with 22 seconds remaining in the period, but it was the only time Urban had a chance to score points.
Schlegel scored seven total points in the second and third periods in the major decision, including a reversal early in the third.
Iacovetto also started his match strong, taking good shots at the much taller and lankier McCustion. Iacovetto got the first takedown with 31 seconds left in the opening period, pulling his head out from under McCustion to gain control.
McCustion escaped from Iacovetto's grasp midway through the second period, but Iacovetto scored another two points on a great takedown with 24 seconds left. The Soroco freshman kept rotating with McCustion, who couldn't keep up with the quicker Iacovetto, until Iacovetto found himself behind the Fowler wrestler for the points. McCustion started the third period on top, where he was a better wrestler, but Iacovetto worked hard underneath for the reversal with 32 seconds left.
"You just have to adjust," Iacovetto said about wrestling someone more than a half-foot taller. "It's harder to get him down, but it's easier to defend."
Morgan (27-10) wrestled even with Chavez until the third period, when Morgan came out hard on the whistle to start the third period, scoring four points on a reversal, and he scored two more back points to take a 9-5 lead. Chavez reversed back but still trailed Soroco's 215-pounder by two points with 1:24 left.
Near the edge of the mat, Morgan sat up to try to escape but relaxed a bit, and Chavez snapped Morgan's back down flat on the mat for the pin.
The Class 2A and 3A session begins at 10 a.m. today with the championship quarterfinals and first-round consolations. Iacovetto will wrestle Del Norte's Edwin Cruz. Iacovetto defeated Cruz once this season.
Schlegel will wrestle senior Julio Prieto of Sargent. Both are in the championship quarterfinals. Morgan will wrestle Akron's Brandon Gobel in the first-round consolations at 215 pounds.