by David Tesitor
DENVER- Waylon Cordova lost his bid to become the 2A champion when he lost to Alex Pena of Ignacio in overtime, 4-1. It was a deja vu moment: the two gladiators had squared off against one another at the regional championship match which also ended in overtime. This time, Pena was the victor.
The battle was a classic one, pitting the two best grapplers the state had to offer. It was one of the most defensive and strategic battles in the tournament. Both Cordova and Pena sized one another up in the first period, trying to gain the advantage. The second and third were mostly tactical, with neither opponent gaining an advantage.
Overtime is a one-minute round. The wrestler ahead at that time is the winner. As the round began, Pena scored an escape for the point to take a lead, Cordova again gained a hold which resulted in a point for Cordova but Pena reversed the hold, scoring one. After that, Pena scored a takedown for two which is how the battle ended.
Cordova entered the tournament as the number four ranked wrestler in the state; Pena the first. Because of the pairings, the two were on opposite sides of the bracket, setting up the rematch.
To get to the championship round, Cordova defeated Cody Clawson of Paonia with a major decision, 11-1. Cordova was relentless from the opening whistle. He scored an immediate takedown for the quick lead then took control, scoring on a near pin and two takedowns. Cordova dominated the bout from beginning to end, allowing Clawson an escape late in the round.
In Cordova’s quarterfinal match against Dylan Parker of Fowler, he continued his dominance. He scored an immediate takedown then scored off a reversal. By the end of the first, Cordova was well ahead, 10-1. As the second period opened, he scored off a takedown and got the pin at 2:27. By then, he was leading 13-1.
For the semifinals, Cordova’s defeated Nick Hammes of Holly, the number-six wrestler in the state and regional champion himself. Cordova controlled Hammes from the onset, winning with a major decision 15-2.
Cordova finished the season with a 32-8 record. While the championship eluded him, his second-place finish was the highest placement at state in his career. With four tournament championships and a regional title, Cordova, a senior, is going out in fashion.