‘It was tough’: Routt County wrestlers fall short of state goals
PUEBLO — At 9 a.m., with the commencement of the 2021 Colorado High School Activities Association State Wrestling Championships, Hayden High School junior Dylan Zimmerman started his quest to become a state champion. At 138 pounds, he was undefeated, a high seed and wrestling better than ever before.
At 9:30 a.m., that dream died. As he lost his first match of the day, Zimmerman’s goal of standing on top of the podium Friday night was deemed impossible.
“It was tough knowing how I lost in the last few seconds,” Zimmerman said. “I was kind of hoping that kid would go on and lose his next match which would put both of us in for third and fourth and maybe get a redemption shot at him.”
The junior lost his quarterfinal in the final four seconds. He and Highland junior Zach Tittle were tied at 2 points each with 30 seconds left. Their hands and heads were tangled as they both fought for a takedown to earn 2 more points.
As the clock hit 10 seconds, neither had the advantage. Tittle got creative. He leapt sideways and over Zimmerman, but the Tiger countered, shifting his weight to keep Tittle in front of him. The Husky did the move again and this time, landed his weight on top of Zimmerman. With four seconds on the clock, Tittle went ahead, giving him the win and paving the way to the 138-pound title.
Meanwhile, Zimmerman could do no better than third.
“It’s definitely not what I was hoping,” said Hayden head coach Matt Linsacum said. “I just know how tough this tournament is for both of these kids. I think that 138 pound bracket that Dylan is in is one of the tougher ones in the state.”
In the 152-pound bracket, Hayden senior Wyatt Murphy lost his quarterfinal, but won his next bout, guaranteeing the senior a place on the podium in his final season.
“It means a lot,” Murphy said. “I’ve gone through all four years 0-2 except for last year, I won one match. It’s definitely nice to be able to place.”
Any place wasn’t good enough for him though. As he lost his consolation semifinal, he sat alone in a folding chair and put his head in his hands. The loss meant he would be battling for fifth, rather than third.
“It sucks to lose going into the third- and fourth-place match senior year,” Murphy said. “It sucks to not be able to get there.”
Murphy ended his day in sixth place.
Back-to-back consolation wins put Zimmerman in the third-place contest where he faced 2020 nemesis Lain Yapoujian. Last year, the Byers sophomore defeated Zimmerman in the 132-pound quarterfinals. Zimmerman fought for redemption, but Byers got the best of him again.
“It’s a loss right now, but later on it’ll be a win for me because I’ll take stuff I did bad and turn it into good stuff,” Zimmerman said. “I’ll take a loss and turn it into a win.”
Sailor seniors soak up first state experience
In their first state appearances, Steamboat Springs seniors Cole Moon and Ivan Reynolds didn’t get the true state tournament experience. Instead, they saw a lesser version of it: the Sunday morning, just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-has-no plans-to-put-on-real-pants-all-day version.
Nevertheless, they enjoyed their shot at greatness.
Both lost their quarterfinal matches and were bumped to the consolation bracket.
Moon nearly came from behind to win his match against Strasburg’s Blake Coombs. He used a third-round takedown to make the score 4-3, Coombs. Moon couldn’t get his opponent on his back to earn more points before time ran out.
He was done.
Across the room, Reynolds was wrestling to stay in the competition. He was in a competitive match, taking turns earning take downs with University High’s Chad Gomez. In the third period, Reynolds slipped up. Gomez got the Sailor on his back and seconds later, won by fall.
CHSAA state tournament
138: Qfinal: Zach Tittle, Highland, dec. Dylan Zimmerman, H, 4-2. Cons.: Zimmerman, H, fall Tate Krenz, County Line, 0:22. Cons. semi: Zimmerman, H, maj. dec. Richard Atencio, Sierra/Continental, 16-8. 3rd: Lain Yapoujian, Byers, dec. Zimmerman, H, 8-2.
152: Qfinal: Jordan Martin, Centauri, fall Wyatt Murphy, H, 5:49. Cons.: Murphy, H, dec. Aidan Holloran, Crowley County, 5-4. Cons. semi: James Brown, Peyton, fall Murphy, H, 2:29. 5th: Adrian Nieto, Cedaredge, fall Murphy, H, 3:12.
182: Qfinal: Cael Jordan, Eaton, fall Ivan Reynolds, SS, 3:28. Cons.: Chad Gomez, University, fall Reynolds, SS, 4:35.
195: Qfinal: Braden Baumgartner, Weld Central, fall Cole Moon, SS, 1:49. Cons.: Blake Coombs, Strasburg, dec. Moon, SS, 4-3.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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The Steamboat Springs High School wrestling team is days away from kicking off the 2021-22 season, which will have tournaments and more travel, things last year’s season of COVID did not have.