It was a scene that Moffat County High School coach Roman Gutierrez described as intense. It may have been the best finals match at the 2004 Warrior Classic in Grand Junction.
The match was Bulldog junior Korey Kostur and Nucla's Mikael Smith in the 140-pound title. On paper Smith was the favorite. The three-time state champion went 38-0 last year and won the 130-pound title at the Warrior.
Gutierrez didn't count his wrestler out.
"I knew if we could keep it close Korey would have a chance," Gutierrez said. "That's what happened."
Smith was in the lead, 4-2, going into the third period. Smith started on top in the period, and he received his second stalling call to put Kostur within one point. With 35 seconds remaining in the match, Kostur earned a reversal to go up 5-4.
"By that time all the other matches had ended and everybody was watching," Gutierrez said. "I looked at the clock and didn't think there was any way Kory could ride (Smith) the rest of the match. I was pretty sure it was going into overtime."
Gutierrez's prediction looked to be correct when Smith stood up and escaped as the wrestlers went out of bounds. Initially, the referee gave Smith the point, but the assistant referee reversed the call.
There were 18 seconds remaining, and Kostur held on like a bull rider going for eight seconds.
The match ended with Kostur earning his 20th win of the season. It was Smith's first loss since his sophomore year.
"Korey has matured a lot from last year mentally," Gutierrez said. "Last year in a match against a tough kid, he would get frustrated and not wrestle well. That hasn't been the case this year."
Gutierrez also was impressed with how Smith accepted the loss.
"(Smith) showed tremendous class," he said. "He knows that it's not state, and he didn't throw a fit like some guys would."
Kostur was the Bulldogs' lone champion in the Warrior and he also was named the outstanding wrestler for the lower weights. The team finished third behind Uintah High School out of Vernal, Utah, and Pueblo South.
"South is the team to beat and they should win the state title," Gutierrez said. "But I've seen tournaments where the team that was supposed to (win) didn't win. They are stacked, though."
The Colts finished with 176.5 points, Uintah had 158.5 and Moffat County had 146.
Pueblo South's team strength is likely to improve because Nick Padilla will be eligible in January after transferring from Pueblo West last year.
The Colts had two champions, Marcus Hernandez, 119, and Mark Beaudry, 135, and six placers. The Bulldogs had five wrestlers place.
Seniors Scott Garoutte, 215, and Eric Fredrickson, 130, had their chances to move into a title match. Both were up five points in semifinal matches before losing. Garoutte led 9-4 but was pinned in the third period by Chaparral's Andrew Skinner, the eventual champion. Fredrickson led 5-0 in the quarterfinals against Pueblo South's Adam Ureda but lost in overtime, 10-12.
"Those guys lost focus a bit," Gutierrez said. "I hope it's something they'll learn from and improve for the rest of the season."
Garoutte finished third, and Fredrickson was fifth.
Senior Kyle Fredrickson, 275, and junior Daniel Cramblett, 135, were the other Bulldogs on the medal stand. Fredrickson narrowly lost, 7-5, to the No. 1 heavyweight in Class 4A, Pueblo South's David Muckel. Fredrickson placed fourth.
Cramblett dropped down to 135 after going 10-5 at 145 the first two weeks of the season. He finished 5-2 at the Warrior and earned fifth place.
Gutierrez said he had hoped to see seniors Shayne Zimmerman, 160, and Brent Chamberlain, 171, in the medal rounds. He said both had difficult brackets.
Sophomores who impressed the coach were Brice Boling, 103, Jake Breslin, 112, and Trenton Duarte.
Sophomore Nick Navratil did not wrestle because he had his tonsils taken out earlier in the week.
"Some of those young guys are learning that they can wrestle with people," he said. "I think they can build off the weekend."
After winning four consecutive Warriors, the Bulldogs finished seventh last year. Gutierrez was impressed with his team's showing during the weekend.
"I thought we brought a better team here last year," Gutierrez said. "But I'm pleased with the way our guys are wrestling overall right now, and I'm looking forward to January."