Both the Cheyenne Mountain and Falcon wrestling teams had plenty of motivation heading into Thursday’s Pikes Peak Athletic Conference Championship.
For Falcon, it was the possibility of ending an 11-year hiatus since winning its last conference title.
For Cheyenne Mountain, it was the possibility of claiming its fourth-straight, and finding revenge against the Falcons, who defeated the Indians in a dual earlier this season.
But just like its Colorado Springs Metro team championship a week ago, Cheyenne Mountain claimed the PPAC title in dominating fashion, defeating Falcon 52-18.
Falcon, which entered the dual with the best team it has fielded in years, was slightly taken back by the Indians' preparedness.
“We thought this was going to be a very close match. We were out-wrestled and out-coached tonight,” Falcon coach Robert Lovato said. “We knew they would study us and come after us. But we haven’t been at this level in a long time, and these boys are young and they’re learning. I’m very proud of them.”
Cheyenne Mountain coach Tyler Seaney said his team was fired up to travel to Falcon, and prepared to face them again.
At 120 pounds, sophomore Chase Johnson looked back on his CS Metro Championship bout against Falcon’s James Brown, who pinned Johnson in 1:04 for the title, and knew he could do better.
“It was really cool to see him mentally rebound after getting pinned so quick, and wrestle him tough tonight,” Seaney said.
After a tough bout, Brown eventually defeated Johnson 13-7.
“(James) is not scared of anybody, and he knows he can wrestle with anybody and we know it too,” Lovato said of Brown, who is a freshman. “I’m really excited for what we have with this kid. He’s the real deal.”
James’ brother Clint, a sophomore, earned a second-period pin at 138 pounds over Cheyenne Mountain’s Rick Stark.
But Cheyenne Mountain found success in the middle weights and collected six total pins, which doesn’t happen often to Falcon, according to Lovato.
“We have a philosophy, we don’t get pinned — we pin,” Lovato said. “Tonight that didn’t show, but usually we pin almost everybody and we fight.”
Cheyenne Mountain sophomore Colton Bellew, who is typically a 182-pounder, bumped up to 195 to face Falcon’s Jarrod Davis. Davis led most of the way through the match, but Bellew mustered up the energy for a big third-period takedown, dropping to his knees and leveraging Davis over top and onto his back, eventually earning the fall in 4:52.
“That match really wasn’t going our way, so when there was a blood timeout I gave him a green light, which is our code for go and hit a throw, or whatever you see, get it,” Seaney said, “and he got into that over-under position and he hit that throw. He’s good in those positions when he trusts himself to do it.”
At 170, freshman Billy Maddox had the fastest pin of the night, taking down Darien Hobbson in 57 seconds.
“He’s a kid who is trying to sacrifice and cut a lot of weight for his team, and he’s had some ups and downs this year, but he’s a goer,” Seaney said. “It was really cool to see him get that.”
Nicholas Grizales (106, 3:20), Kevin Hooks (145, 1:12), Konrad Ziegler (152, 2:07), and Nico Gagliardi (220, 3:39) also had pins for Cheyenne Mountain.
At 132, Ian Diffendaffter earned a 12-2 major decision over Falcon’s Conner Tarver. While Cheyenne Mountain’s Ivan Miranda earned a 2-1 overtime victory on a stall at 285, and Brian Hooks claimed a 4-0 win at 113.
Falcon’s Caleb Sherrill had a first-period pin over Cheyenne Mountain's Max Stoyer in 1:01, and Michael Bird earned a dramatic 10-9 victory over Jake Boley at 182. Bird scored on a takedown late in third period and hung on for the win.