DENVER- Beginning last Thurs. Feb. 21, the day the state wrestling tournament began, the Huerfano Journal began uploading up-to-the-minute stories and images about the progress of the 12 area wrestlers. To my knowledge, the Journal was the only weekly paper to do such a thing. We gave it to you as it happened. Thanks to technology and WiFi, you got it first. You will also get the results of the Redskins’ district basketball action tonight.
The three days of the tournament were organized chaos. The competition included 14 weight classes, with 16 grapplers vying for top honors. Multiplied by four classes of schools, the tournament included 896 wrestlers from 208 schools, plus their coaches, administrators and athletic directors. The place was hopping. The consolation rounds on Thursday and Friday went like lightning. The 2A bouts went fast and furious. As they called one wrestler to the mat, another was pinning his opponent or scoring a takedown. At one point, Jon Ortiz at (171 ) was wrestling as Nick Northup (189) came to the mat. Jon Aguirre and Ron Ortivez were each on opposite mats, hoping to win and meet in the finals, but it never happened.
By the time the parade of champions began at 6:30 Saturday, 16,500 fans filled the arena to the rafters, and as the wrestlers made their entrance on the floor, the place erupted in thunderous applause. What a sense of pride these young men must have felt when they marched in and were introduced to the crowd. Bryan Crespin’s pride was evident, yet he was cool and ready for it to begin. He was in the last group of grapplers to battle as all the heavyweights wrestled in the last bouts of the evening, around 10 pm. By 10:15, he was champion.
For those who made the journey, you know what I mean. For those who missed out, all I can say is see you next year.