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Total team effort captures title for Pine Creek
DENVER • Pine Creek held a dinner with wrestlers, coaches, parents and fans Saturday evening prior to the final round of the 2012 State Wrestling Championships. It’s been their tradition to celebrate the season as part of the state experience before returning to the Pepsi Center for everyone to cheer on wrestlers who made the finals.
The Eagles could have decided to blow off the finals and keep celebrating. After all, they had wrapped up the 5A state title before the finals had even been begun.
In the end freshman 106 pounder Trenton Watson was the only individual state champion, but eight wrestlers placed in the top six and three finished as runners-up as the Eagles easily outdistanced Pomona 143.5-109.
Watson (35-6) continued to show poise beyond his years facing Cherry Creek sophomore Mitch Finesilver. Trailing 1-0 after the second period Watson chose to start the third neutral. Watson finally connected on a shot with 15 seconds remaining, and held on for a 2-1 victory.
“I just had to find a way to win,” Watson said. “That’s all there was to it. I did it. I achieved my goals for the year.”
Without thinking about it, Watson was speaking both individually and collectively.
Junior Geordan Martinez took second at 132 for the Eagles, dropping a controversial 5-4 decision to Pomona’s Raymond Robledo (41-3). It was a disappointing first loss for Martinez (35-1), but it didn’t change his perspective on the night.
“I feels real great,” Martinez said. “We’re happy to be the first in school history and the second in the Springs in a long time. We got one for us at least, one for the team.”
Seniors Jerry McGinty (27-3, 138) and Brandon Tribble (31-6, 195) placed second as well. Senior heavyweight Ian Kluckman (23-3) and junior 145 Derrick Ortiz (40-6) both finished third.
Junior Alex Smith (18-3) finished fourth in the 152 bracket for the Eagles and senior Alex Markowski (37-13) took sixth at 160.
The championship rounded out a season in which Pine Creek never had a full roster. The Eagles battled injuries, illness and lost two starters to transfers in the middle of the season. The talent was obvious, but the depth of the team was key.
The Eagles sent 10 wrestlers to state and got points from nine of them. Sophomore 113 Chris Cos, who finished sixth a year ago, was the only Eagle not to score. But Cos contributed in other ways, encouraging his teammates by gutting out two matches on an injured knee.
“Chris is a tough kid,” Martinez said Friday after the semifinals. “He tried. Seeing that was pretty good motivation for the rest of us.”
“These kids, they wrestle with heart,” said coach Billy Gabel, who was named coach of the year after the tournament. “They don’t stop. When you’ve got guys that do that you know you have something special.”