DENVER The state tournament was an emotional time for coach Roman Gutierrez Saturday night at the Pepsi Center.
Moffat County High School wrestlers successfully defended their state team title by the end of the of the third-and fifth-place rounds with a clean sweep of the consolation rounds.
Three of four wrestlers in title matches were crowned state champions and the 2002 team surpassed the winning mark of the 1994 team, winning 16 of 18 bouts on Saturday.
The twenty-year veteran coach watched his team rally to first place with 197 points, while realizing that he was watching an era of Bulldogs wrestling pass.
Of the nine medal-winning matches, five of them involved a senior five young men who wore Moffat County blue and silver for the last time.
"Every time one of my guys was coming on the mat for his final match, it brought a tear to my eye," Gutierrez said, still a little choked up after the final championship match. "These are such great kids, and I hope we've helped them toward their dreams."
Three of the four Bulldogs who made it to the finals walked away as state champions, with the 2001, 152-pound champion Ty Weber falling by one point in double overtime.
Weber was beaten by Montrose's senior Dusty Vaughn (29-4) in the eighth and final meeting of their high school careers.
The match wrestled out much like it should have close.
Last year, Weber won his state title from Vaughn in a one-point overtime upset, and this year it was Vaughn who was on in OT.
Vaughn was called for stalling, tying the match at 3-3 in the third period. The first overtime had both wrestlers taking the advantage, and nearly scoring a takedown, but all of them fell out-of-bounds. The 30-second second overtime had Weber in the down position, and nearly escaping, but Vaughn successfully rode him out for a 3-3 referee's decision.
"He was ready for me this year," Weber said. "I guess it was just his time to win."
Senior Mark Hastings (125-pounds), Kyle Kostur (130-pounds) and Travis Linsacum (140-pounds) all took control, and battled through the six-minute matches to win state titles against the No. 2 ranked wrestlers in the state.
The three seniors are all ranked No. 1 in their respective weights.
Hastings scored a 12-7 decision over Ft. Morgan's Kyle Kaiser (36-4), taking down the defending state champion three times, and introducing his back to the mat once.
Kostur rolled over the wrestler who edged him out by a point in the regional tournament, scoring a 9-0 decision over Montezuma-Cortez's senior Tyler Gray (30-2).
Kostur took down Gray a total of three times and put him to his back once.
Linsacum met with Alamosa sophomore Shane Gylling for a second time this season, and with the same results.
The Top of the Rockies Tournament was their first meeting, and ended in a 6-2 decision for Linsacum the state championship ended in a 8-5 Linsacum decision.
Never once did Linsacum trail in the match, wracking up seven points in the first period off two takedowns, one nearfall and an escape.
An escape in the final 30-seconds of the second period sealed the match for the Bulldog, who rode out the third period in the up position.
"Words can't describe what I'm feeling right now," Linsacum said. "I understand what he's (Gylling) going through. When you're a sophomore and you come out of the tunnel for finals it's intimidating."
The final may have produced the icing on the cake, but the consolation rounds are what won the team state title.
The five wrestlers who ended up in the third and fifth place matches made a clean sweep, putting Moffat County's team score 20 points above what any team could hope to score.
Seniors Ryan Linsacum and Cody Fredrickson, and juniors Ty Grandbouche, Brandon Duarte and Trevor Sloan all won their final matches, while only four Bulldogs watched from the sidelines having been knocked out completely from the tournament.
Ryan Linsacum wrestled a close match with Montrose's Levi McCarty (22-9), who remained within a point of the Bulldog for most of the match, but fell in a 6-5 decision.
Cody Fredrickson won a 6-5 decision over Kevin Morfitt of Delta, when he escaped in the last second of the third period to break a 5-5 tie.
"It's tough to battle back in the consolations when you're expecting to be in the finals," Fredrickson said. "You try and go out to help the team, if nothing else."
Grandbouche took an early lead in the first with a takedown, and continued to add on to it until he won a 10-3 decision over Lewis-Palmer's Cory Raczkowski (31-7).
Duarte nearly pinned Adams City's Wally Kuenzler (15-3) in the final minute of the third, but had to settle for a third place 7-5 decision.
Sloan, the only fifth-place match of the afternoon, ended in a 5-0 decision over Fort Morgan's Josh Gustafson (28-7). No action was seen in the match until midway through the second, when Sloan escaped from the down position, and added points with a takedown and a reverse.
"The guys who wrestled today to get third and fifth showed a lot of heart, because they're wrestling when their dream has been broken," Gutierrez said. "But our guys are so team oriented that all they cared about was making sure we won the team title."