By Michael Hicks
Special to the Recorder Online
DENVER — It was eerily similar. Earlier Friday, Alex Sadlo, nearly pinned in the first period, overcame a five-point deficit to pin Fort Lupton’s Matt Ornelas to advance to the semifinals of the 4A state wrestling championships at the Pepsi Center. Unfortunately that’s where the similarities ended.
Sadlo, needing a late move against Falcon’s Richie Bailey to reach his first state final the Berthoud junior almost had it. Then Bailey rolled through and took Sadlo’s championship hopes with him. The Falcon senior’s 6-3 win in Friday night’s state semifinals sent the last of five Spartan wresters into the consolation bracket.
Sadlo (32-5) wondered what he could’ve done better, but, ultimately, concluded that Bailey’s strength may have been his undoing.
“If I did better on my feet I think I could’ve had that one, but he’s just tough on his feet,” Sadlo said. “I could hardly do anything with him. That last takedown I almost had I’ve been practicing that move for so long for this situation. I had him on his back and then he just rolled through it.”
Despite the disappointment Sadlo, who won a regional title last week, was content with his performance, guaranteeing him two matches today and at least a top six finish.
“I’m happy to at least get into the semifinals, but I really wanted to be in the finals. I thought I had it when I hit that move in the end,” Sadlo said.
Sadlo’s quarterfinal victory was the only thing Berthoud had to celebrate early Friday. That’s because fate wasn’t on the side of his teammates — Robbie Workman (130), Marcus Lucero (140), Casey Couch (189) and J.T. Pickert (215). Each were sent packing to the consolation bracket, but not without a fight. That’s especially true for Workman and Couch.
Workman (44-3), a junior who has placed sixth at state the past two years, battled back from a 7-3 deficit with a point for stalling, an escape and a late takedown in the third period to force overtime against Wheat Ridge’s Nick Swanson. But Workman, who was trying to avenge a consolation-round defeat to Swanson last year, was taken down early in the extra session and was eliminated from the championship draw in the quarterfinals for a third straight year. He came back to beat Windsor’s Josh Donkle in the consolation bracket and will face Rifle’s Larry Shmueser today for a chance to place for a third straight year.
Meanwhile, Couch, who didn’t wrestle last year due to a broken femur, scored three back points early in the third period to lead undefeated Jordan Passehl of Montrose. But Passehl scored a quick reversal and added five late points to down Couch (26-2) by a 7-3 decision. Couch came back to beat Mountain View’s Julian Kota, 6-1, and will wrestle Justin Salazar of Alamosa today.
Marcus Lucero, at 140 pounds, and J.T. Pickert, at 215, also suffered quarterfinal defeats. Lucero dropped a 13-4 major decision to Alamosa’s Dakoda Curtis, while Pickert dropped a 7-1 decision to Montrose’s Braxten Franz. But both, like Workman and Couch, have worked their way into the third round of consolation with a chance to place with a victory early Saturday.
TODAY’S FIRST MATCHES
130 pounds — Robby Workman, Berthoud vs. Larry Schmueser, Rifle
135 pounds — Alex Sadlo, Berthoud vs. Pablo Ortiz, Alamosa or Joey Costanza, Pueblo County
140 pounds — Marcus Lucero, Berthoud vs. Zach Legino, Roosevelt
189 pounds — Casey Couch, Berthoud vs. Justin Salazar, Alamosa
215 pounds — J.T. Pickert, Berthoud vs. Ben Bechard, Silver Creek