An odd finish: 3 Routt County wrestlers place at state wrestling tournament
DENVER — If you can’t get first, finish odd. That was the goal for every wrestler inside the Pepsi Center Saturday, Feb. 22.
Finishing odd means picking up third or fifth, concluding the season with a win.
After losing their respective consolation semifinals, Steamboat Springs High School seniors Spencer Mader, John Slowey and Soroco High School junior Kody Logan all had that achievement in mind.
Just one of them fulfilled it.
Slowey was the sole Routt County wrestler to end the afternoon with a win, coming out on top 10-3 in the 195-pound fifth-place match.
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The Sailor used the same move on every takedown. As opponent Logan Bean lunged, both he and Slowey fell to the mat. The Sailor sprawled then swiveled around the Eaton wrestler with a few large steps, securing two points. He said it’s one of a few ways he tries to regularly take opponents down.
“Normally when they shoot, I really look for that front head lock, then lock the arm, then go behind,” Slowey explained. “If they get deeper, I go with a tight waist shot.”
His takedowns earned him a five-point advantage going into the third, which he spent wrestling smart, not putting himself in a position to give up points.
After the victory, Slowey drew a cross over his chest and pointed upwards. After shaking all the hands he was supposed to, he then hugged head coach Jordan Bonifas. Then, the Sailor moved to the stands where he exchanged a few hugs with family.
“It’s awesome. He had five wins his freshman year,” said Bonifas. “Now, fifth place, 41 wins on the season. I’m really proud of him.”
Slowey had to work through the consolation bracket to get to fifth after dropping his first match of the tournament.
Saturday began with his third consolation bout, and it was a thriller. He was taken down midway through the second by Gauge Lockhart, out of Delta, but quickly used a reversal to go up 4-2. He didn’t need to worry about points, though. He was going for the pin. Slowey got his arm through Lockhart’s bent elbow, using the leverage to spin him and earn the fall in 2 minutes and 18 seconds.
He relinquished the consolation semifinal to Mitchell Peabody, of La Junta, via fall, a rare result for the Steamboat wrestler, who was happy to end his high school career with a win.
“I’m on top of the world right now,” he said.
Mader, who fell in the semifinals Friday evening, earned a spot in the 132-pound fifth-place match against Berthoud wrestler Colton Williams, who Mader toppled in the quarterfinals.
In their second meeting, Williams was the better wrestler. The first period was scoreless, but a takedown and a near fall gave Williams a 5-2 lead after two. Mader was still in it, but Williams opened the third with a takedown and three more near fall points, building an advantage too big for Mader to make up.
“In semis yesterday, I was so close,” Mader said. “I just let it get to my head.”
Mader lost his earlier match as well, dropping a 3-0 decision to Noah Damian, out of Valley.
“It’s a little disappointing when you beat the kid a couple days ago, maybe because I was in the right mindset,” said Mader. “Once you get a hard loss, it’s tough to come back. It is.”
Considering that Mader had never made it to the state tournament until this year, his coach said sixth is still something to be proud of.
“I’m super proud of how he wrestled last night. Just getting to medal, it’s our first time here, so that’s the goal,” said Bonifas. “We achieved our goal with the medal.”
Logan is pleased with how he finished, even if he lost his fifth-place match to take sixth at 152 pounds.
“I am happy,” he said. “There’s not a lot of kids, only six, out of so many kids in the state place every year. Last year, I made it, but I was one short of placing. This year, I wanted to win, but it’s cool just placing, too.”
He started the third with a takedown over John Mall’s Anthony Aldretti, needing two points with a near fall to tie it. Logan had Aldretti, the reigning 132-pound state champion, on his back for a few seconds, but the grapplers were ruled out of bounds. Whaley walked to the table to argue the lack of points, but he didn’t sway the official.
The pair were brought back to the center and shortly after the match got going again, Aldretti escaped and used a takedown to go up 11-6. With 14 seconds left, Logan escaped, but he didn’t have enough time to attempt to pin Aldretti.
“We needed to score. At the start of the period, my coaches told me we had to hit something big,” said Logan. “We were going for it, I just couldn’t get it connected, or get him stuck on his back. He’s really good about that.”
132: Cons. semi: Noah Damian, Valley, dec. Spencer Mader, SS, 3-0. 5th: Colton Williams, Berthoud, dec. Mader, SS, 13-6.
152: Cons. semi: Hector Flores, Highland, dec. Kody Logan, S, 9-3. 5th: Anthony Aldretti, John Mall, dec. Logan, S, 11-7.
195: Cons. 3: John Slowey, SS, fall Gauge Lockhart, Delta, 2:18. Cons. semi: Mitchell Peadbody, La Junta, fall Slowey, SS, 3:43. 5th: Slowey, SS, dec. Logan Bean, Eaton, 10-3.
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