DENVER — WD Arnold took his stellar talents to the State Tournament in Denver this past weekend and dominated his side of the brackets to earn a chance to wrestle in the finals at 138 pounds.
Arnold entered the tournament ranked fourth in the state but was made the third seed when play began by virtue of his regional championship and his head-to-head against common opponents.
Arnold began the tournament in the lower half of the 16-man bracket which ultimately could have paired him up against the number two wrestler in the state in the semifinals.
To get to the finals, the road for Arnold was difficult. His first match was against Bryce McCracken of Crowley County. McCracken, a sophomore with a 20-6 record, was the number 14 seed after a disappointing fourth place at the Regional Tournament. In Denver, he gave Arnold a battle to the end, almost taking the Redskin down in the second period.
Arnold had a comfortable lead, 5-0, but the Crowley County Charger came back to make it a battle. Arnold held on to win this first round bout with a 5-3 decision.
In his quarterfinal match, Arnold got his only pin of the tournament against Tryston Keefe, (25-10, junior) of Wiggins. The pin came at the 2:23 mark, sending him to the semifinals Friday afternoon.
Clay Seemann, who was expected to make the finals, was upset in his own quarterfinal bout by Tyler Ebberts who would instead face Arnold. Ebberts took Seemann to a 9-8 decision, sending Ebberts to the semifinals which would set up the championship match against the number one wrestler in the state.
Ebberts opened the match with a takedown to score two points, but it was Arnold getting an escape with 15 seconds remaining in the first that closed the gap to one. In the second Ebberts scored on a reverse to take a 4-1 lead but it was Arnold with two reverses and a near pinfall who won with an 8-6 decision.
In the finals, Arnold was paired against Kris Trujillo, a senior from Highland with a 46-2 record and a second at state in 2012. This was Trujillo’s fourth trip to state. Trujillo is an aggressive style wrestler who was on the offensive throughout the tournament.
Trujillo opened the bout with a takedown at the 1:18 mark to gain a 2-0 advantage after one. He scored two more takedowns and an escape to win the championship, 8-0. For La Veta, this was the school’s second trip to the finals in as many years. Adam Ortivez won the state championship at 138 pounds in 2012 and Arnold hoped to bring home the school’s second ever title. After Ebberts was defeated by Arnold, he went on to place third.