The Las Vegas tournament is always a big one for the Moffat County High School wrestling team.
Among other things it is, as coach Roman Gutierrez said, "like bringing the ranch kids to the big city."
For senior Trevor Sloan the meet had more significance as his family from California made the trip to see him and, as for all seniors, it was his last time to enjoy the unique experience with his high school teammates.
This is how the final day of the Bulldog Grappler at Centennial High School in Las Vegas unfolded for the MCHS heavyweight.
7:55 a.m. While a majority of his teammates are waiting for the team vans to arrive at the hotel lobby, Sloan is lying in bed waiting for the final five minutes until his deadline to be downstairs.
"Trevor likes to wait for the last minute to get ready," said Bill Yoast, Sloan's stepfather later at the tournament, after finding out he was the last one on the team van. "You should see him get ready for school. He'll wait 'till the very last minute and then speed to school or into ditches."
"I was not driving very fast at all that day," Sloan said, in defense of an accident he had earlier in the school year. "My car was literally going this fast (moves his hand at a slow pace, imitating it going downward into a ditch)."
8:02 Sloan greets his Uncle Justin, Aunt Melissa and two nephews, Dillon and Cody, who are from California, in the lobby of the hotel.
"This is a pretty big tournament for me because my family from California has made the trip and this is the only time they'll get to see me," he said. "It makes me a little more nervous and at the same time more excited because I love to wrestle in front of a big crowd."
As he walks away from his family, three-year-old Dillon asks his mother, "Is that who we're going to cheer for mommy?" His mother nods and Sloan gains a fan for the day.
8:30 The first competition in the morning for the Bulldogs is a dual against Esperanza, a high school from California. As a heavyweight, he will be the last one to wrestle and gets to watch his team. To some surprise, fellow senior Ty Grandbouche loses only his second match of the season and Ty Weber came back in the final second to escape his first lost since the state finals last year.
"After we went through the first three duals pretty easily on Friday, it was really surprising to see two of our best wrestlers challenged, and even more to see Grandbouche get beat," he said. "But they'll come back and wrestle well in the finals and expect to see Grandbouche avenge his loss."
9:52 Esperanza doesn't have a heavyweight so Sloan faces the junior varsity heavyweight from Centennial, a much heavier and a little shorter wrestler than Sloan. The Moffat County wrestler pins the first opponent of the day in the first period with much fanfare from the crowd, particularly his personal cheering section.
Sloan finished fifth at state at the 215 weight class as a junior, and, while he can still wrestle at that weight, he has moved up to heavyweight to test the waters in the middle of the season.
"It will be a dog fight either class that I go to at the end of the season," he said. "It will be a big decision to make toward the end of the season, but I'll do either way as long as I can get to the finals."
10:25 Sloan lays out on the stands with his family waiting for the mini-tournament to start. With a 4-0 record, he is the top seed from his pool and will face the last-place finisher in other pool.
"I just wish things could get started," he said. "It is a lot easier to get ready for a tournament though, because you know eventually there will be some competition."
11:35 Sloan makes quick work of his first opponent in the tournament with a pin in the first period. The first-round win is followed by more watching and resting.
"Watching us wrestle here really shows how aggressive we've been taught to wrestle," he said. "We've had several penalties for being too aggressive, which is mostly because the referees from here haven't seen such an attacking style. We are really dominating and it is fun to watch between matches."
2:33 p.m. His road to the finals goes through the hometown favorite wrestler from Centennial, who tries to lighten things up during the match.
"He kept joking with me and saying, 'Oh no not that move, I hate that move,'" Sloan said. "At least he can make light of the fact that he's getting beat."
Sloan finished the comedian off in the second round with a pin to set up a trip to the championship.
3:15 The 6-0 MCHS wrestler gets the down low on his next opponent. "My next guy looks pretty strong and tough," Sloan said. "He's undefeated this year." His opponent, Mike White, from Bonanza had gone through the bracket just as easily and, from the looks of things, Sloans' final match will be his toughest.
"Watching (Scott) Garoutte (MCHS' wrestler at 215) go through his bracket so easily, I was sort of glad that I was at heavyweight so I could be challenged a little more."
4:10 As Sloan prepares for his match, he watches seven teammates win their championship match.
"It is a confidence booster to watch your teammates go through and do well," he said. "By the time it came to my match, I was anxious to do just as well as they did."
4:15.04 Sloan and White shake hands. "As we shook hands, I was thinking, 'Let's get this thing started,' but at the same time I was thinking that I hadn't ever wrestled this guy so I should sit back a little and see what he's going to do."
4:15.45 White takes down Sloan for a 4-2 lead and the first period ends with that score.
4:17.04 At the start of the second period, Sloan chooses the top position at the advice of his coach. "Roman said I hadn't been able to take him down so I should try to see what I could do from the top position."
4:17.32 Sloan takes his first lead with near fall points
from the "Mills" move.
"You can tell almost right away if you want to use the Mills because they either see it coming or they don't."
4:17.52 Another Mills puts Sloan in control.
4:18.36 As the towel gets ready to come out to stop the second period, Sloan gets another Mills in and rolls White onto his back with a tight full nelson and gets the pin. After the referee pounds the mat, the MCHS senior gives a two-fisted pump toward the crowd.
"I usually don't get too excited unless it's a big win," he said. "But with all of my family there, I was
4:24 Trevor gets a phone call from his grandfather back in Colorado to congratulate him.
"It makes me proud to do something that makes my family proud and the call from my grandpa finished off the day well."
4:45 As he received his medal, Sloan said he had two main thoughts going through his head. "I was thinking, 'Good job' and, 'Let's go make this trip worth the drive.'
5:00-7:00 The Bulldogs travel back to their hotel and get ready for a night on the town in Vegas.
7:30-???? Sloan and his teammates enjoy themselves on the Las Vegas strip.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com.