By Michael Hicks
Special to the Recorder Online
DENVER — Maybe it wasn’t the medal that they wanted, but for Robbie Workman, Alex Sadlo, Casey Couch and J.T. Pickert it’s a building block for next season.
The four Berthoud underclassmen placed in the top six of their respective weight classes — Sadlo and Couch finished fifth while Workman and Pickert took sixth — Saturday in the 4A state wrestling championships at the Pepsi Center. The end result wasn’t the championship medal that all wrestlers dream about when they qualify for state, but it’s proof of the hard work they put in to get this far.
Never is that more true than in the case of Couch, the junior 189-pounder who came back from a broken femur to finish third at regionals and fifth in the state. He capped off the season with a 6-4 decision over Pueblo West’s Justin Burns-LaBorde. The victory, the fourth in his first state appearance and 28th in 30 matches this year was a nice ending considering how far back he had to come.
The ailing knee acted up on him against Burns-LaBorde, but it wasn’t enough to keep from scoring a takedown and three back points in the third period, just enough to hold on to victory.
“I just got lucky he was rushing at me. I kept my head up to get the three count and from there I was just holding him off. I was not trying to go too hard so he could get me on my back,” Couch said.
It worked and now he has a medal to show for his efforts.
“It’s really important. I wish I could’ve done better but for my first time wrestling in a year and a half, the experience of the first time at state I loved it. I hope I come back next year,” Couch said.
The same is probably true for the other three juniors.
Sadlo, the only Berthoud wrestler to reach the semifinals, came back after back-to-back losses to pin Jacob Flores of Arvada in 35 seconds to capture fifth place at 135 pounds. Workman (130 pounds) and Pickert (215) opened Saturday with third-round consolation victories, but then lost consecutive matches to finish sixth — the third time that Workman has placed sixth at state. Nevertheless, they both won three matches this weekend — only Couch had more among Berthoud wrestlers — and will be part of a veteran group coming back in 2010-11 when the Spartans drop down to 3A.
“We’ve got a real strong crew coming back next year. We’ve got to push a little more and work on some things. It’s a good stepping stone for us to have four place for us and all four returning next year,” Berthoud head coach Scott Pickert said.
The only wrestler who didn’t place was 140-pounder Marcus Lucero, who Coach Pickert called a “good senior leader.” Even though he didn’t place it would be hard to consider Lucero’s 2-2 state mark anything short of a success. For the fact, it was a successful trip all-around for Berthoud.
Following are the individual results for all five Berthoud wrestlers at this year’s 4A state wrestling tournament at the Pepsi Center:
Robbie Workman (45-5), Jr., 130 pounds
— B. Clinton Husband, Mesa Ridge, technical fall 15-0
— L. Nick Swanson, Wheat Ridge, 9-7 OT decision
— B. Josh Donkle, Windsor, 10-3 decision
— B. Larry Schmueser, Rifle, 1-0 decision
— L. Jaime Granillo, Pueblo Central, 3:28
— L. Presley Papachek, Roosevelt, 12-1 major decision
Alex Sadlo (33-6), Jr., 135 pounds
— B. Nick Grooms, Canon City, 1:27
— B. Matt Ornelas, Fort Lupton, 3:08
— L. Richie Bailey, Falcon, 6-3 decision
— L. Joey Costanza, Pueblo County, 12-3 major decision
— B. Jacob Flores, Arvada, 0:35
Marcus Lucero (38-10), Sr., 140 pounds
— B. Terry Williams, Palisade, 10-4 decision
— L. Dakoda Curtis, Alamosa, 13-4 major decision
— B. Nolan Kessler, Canon City, 5-0 decision
— L. Zach Legino, Rooseveltm 8-1 decision
Casey Couch (28-3), Jr., 189 pounds
— B. Gus Marker, Caste View, 7-5 OT decision
— L. Jordan Passehl, Montrose, 7-3 decision
— B. Julian Kota, Mountain View, 6-1 decision
— B. Justin Salazar, Alamosa, 3-2 decision
— L. Dalton Lynch, Thompson Valley, 6-2 decision
— B. Justin Burns-LaBorde, Pueblo West, 6-4 decision
J.T. Pickert (33-15), Jr., 215 pounds
— B. Gary Davis, Rock Canyon, 2:56
— L. Braxten Franz, Montrose, 7-1 decision
— B. Dushawn Williams, Mesa Ridge, 4:41
— B. Ben Bechard, Silver Creek, 6-0 decision
— L. Jacob Arellano, Niwot, 9-4 decision
— L. Michael Miller, Pueblo Central, 6-1 decision
Photos by James Schump