The road to state

Regional championship just part of the story

It took Trenton Duarte four years to earn a trip to state.

Still, he wasn't exactly elated after finally qualifying.

"I wanted to win the regional," the 171-pound Moffat County senior said. "I guess at least I'm going to state after missing by one win the last two years."

Duarte was one of nine Bulldogs to qualify for the state tournament Thursday through Saturday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

The following is a recap of how those wrestlers qualified for the tournament."

Cory Vigil

112-pound junior

Regional champion

Vigil came into the tournament with a No. 2 ranking, but his lone goal was to make it back to the state tournament.

"I hadn't been wrestling real well," he said. "My goal was to be consistent and make the top four."

Vigil's semifinal match against Montrose's Clint Richardson was the turning point for the Moffat County wrestler. He dominated Richardson and had a 10-3 lead before getting reversed and giving up near-fall points at the end of the match.

"That match brought my confidence back up," he said.

In the finals match against Ralston Valley's Rithie Mata, Vigil led throughout to finish with a 5-2 win.

"Everybody I talked to said (Mata) was strong but not real skilled," Vigil said. "I wanted to take outside shots and not tie up with him. That worked, and I was able to win."

Brice Boling

119-pound senior

Regional runner up

Until the regional championship, Boling and James Conrardy of Rifle hadn't met this year.

But the top two ranked 119-pound wrestlers in Class 4A -- Conrardy ranked first -- were familiar with each other. They met up three times last year, with Conrardy winning all three.

The regional championship resulted in similar results, with Conrardy dominating throughout with a 10-6 win.

"I haven't figured him out yet," a dejected Boling said, who lost just his second match of the season.

The is one way the two could meet up again: Late in the state tournament, possibly the championship.

"I would much rather get a win against him in the state championship," Boling said. "I'll look at the film and see what I can do better next time."

Jake Breslin

125-pound senior

Regional champion

Breslin's most important match at the regional was the semifinal against Montezuma-Cortez's Andrew Wright. Breslin lost to Wright at the state tournament last year to keep him from placing at the tournament.

"I didn't wrestle well at state last year, and Wright benefited from that," he said. "I wanted to change things around this time."

Breslin took care of Wright with a 5-1 win. Shortly after his win, he learned that Palisade's Lucas Harvey, who gave him one of his five losses this year, had lost in his semifinal.

Elizabeth's Cody Goldschmidt defeated Harvey to move into the final.

"I teched Goldschmidt this summer," Breslin said.

Goldschmidt stayed away from Breslin as much as he could in the final. Goldschmidt's tactics made the match close, but he was never on the offensive.

Breslin controlled the match for a 3-2 win.

"My head's on right this year, and I'm looking to do a lot better at state," the Bulldog veteran said. "I'm a lot better on my feet this year, which is what cost me last year."

Matt Kincheloe

130-pound junior

Third-place regional finisher

Kincheloe didn't start wrestling until middle school, so he's had to catch up with the rest of his opponents who wrestled since Pee Wees. He caught up at the regional tournament.

After a second-round loss, Kincheloe won four matches on Saturday to earn third place.

"The team was behind this weekend, and it helped me tremendously," he said. "I like to listen to their advice because they know a lot more than me, and I could hear them helping me."

Matt had one of the fastest pins in the regional tournament when he wrapped around Elizabeth's Mikael Lorimer to put him in the Sanders and earn a pin 36 seconds into the match on Saturday morning.

Levi Weber

140-pound senior

Third-place regional finisher

Weber's return to the state tournament was bittersweet. Forced to end his season early because of injuries the past two years, a healthy Weber had his eyes set on a regional title. In the semifinal match against Ralston Valley's JJ Winkler, Weber made a mistake and got caught in a headlock. Winkler pinned him to send him into the consolation bracket.

"I was too aggressive," Weber said. "I think I would have beat that kid because he got worked in the final."

Winkler lost big to Rifle's Brandon Bulhman in the final. Two weeks before the regional, Weber lost to Bulhman in the final seconds of the match.

"I wanted a rematch against the Rifle kid," he said. "I guess I'll have to hope for it at state."

Weber went to state as a 103-pound freshman.

Trenton Duarte

171-pound senior

He finished one win away from state his sophomore and junior years. He has endured some of the toughest regional brackets every year.

Rifle's Tyler Thompson controlled the championship match with a 14-4 win.

"I thought I could wrestle him closer," Duarte said. "I'm going to state with the attitude that it's my last tournament and that I have nothing to lose."

Nick Navratil

189-pound senior

Regional champion

Navratil and Eagle Valley's Brendan Best had the marquee match-up of the regional tournament. The two wrestlers combined for a 67-1 record.

The match proved to be a showdown worthy of their records.

Each wrestler earned an escape in regulation to send it into overtime at 1-1. Neither wrestler scored in overtime, so the match went into double overtime.

In double overtime wrestlers start in referee's position, with two, 30-second periods allowing each wrestler to start on the top and bottom.

In the first OT period, Navratil held on to Best and didn't allow him to escape. In the second period, Navratil escaped with 10 seconds remaining to earn a 2-1 win.

"He's tough," Navratil said of Best. "But the Navratil standup is tough to stop."

Josh Satterwhite

215 pounds

Satterwhite got an unexpected, if not bittersweet, surprise Tuesday.

The junior had thought his chance to wrestle at the state tournament was gone, after he was disqualified at the regional tournament.

Satterwhite led 5-0 in the second period of a regional match, when he threw Montrose's Brandon Franklin to the mat, resulting in an injury to the Montrose wrestler. Franklin was unable to continue and won the match by an injury default. On Tuesday, doctors said Franklin could not go to state.

"Heading into state, I have mixed emotions," Satterwhite said. "I'm really excited to go, but I did slam someone to go there."

David Hickson

285-pound junior

Third-place regional finisher

Hickson was tired of getting thrown around by the big boys last year so he hit the weight room. His work turned into a state berth.

"I'm actually halfway decent with my strength now," he said. "It makes a difference."

Hickson's one mistake at the regional came against eventual champion Wes Owens, who pinned him in the second period.

"I made a dumb move against him," Hickson said. "Other than that, I'm excited about my tournament, and I reached my goal of going to state."

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