Individual Moffat County High School varsity wrestling team results from Saturday’s 4A regional tournament:
(Name — weight — record — result)
• Cody Nelson — 125 — 2-3 — 6th
• Garrett Stewart — 135 — 4-2 — 4th*
• Charlie Griffiths — 152 — 4-0 — 1st*
• Cody Adams — 189 — 2-2 — 4th*
• Ben Winslow — 215 — 1-2 — 6th
After his final match in the 4A western regional tournament Saturday, Charlie Griffiths faced the crowd and pointed both hands toward the top of the bleachers at Mesa State College.
Griffiths said he wasn’t taunting or celebrating with the gesture, the Moffat County High School senior was thanking his parents, sister and teammates.
“I wanted to thank them for helping me throughout the years,” he said. “They helped me keep pushing and working hard.”
Griffiths won the 152-pound weight class in convincing fashion, going 4-0 with two pins and two wins by seven or more points, including an 11-4 victory in the finals.
“I wrestled really strong, partly because I am a senior and I have the experience,” Griffiths said. “It is my last regional meet and I am wrestling my best in all my four years.”
The MCHS varsity wrestling team will send three wrestlers to the 4A state meet Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Denver — Griffiths, senior Cody Adams and sophomore Garrett Stewart.
Griffiths won the regional tournament last year as well, and finished third at state.
This year, he wants it all.
“State is going to be really tough with really good wrestlers,” he said. “This is my last chance to win it and that was my goal coming into this season.”
Griffiths said he wrestled the guy who won the state tournament last year and lost by just one point. However, he said he feels he is in better shape this year.
“I am in good shape and am moving in the right direction as state approaches,” he said. “I am going to keep running in the next three or four days and then take a day off before state.”
Unlike Griffiths, fellow senior Adams said he wasn’t happy with his performance, despite taking fourth and qualifying for the state tournament.
“I wrestled like crap and not as good as I usually do,” he said. “It feels good to make state in my last year, but I think I could have beat the guys in my (189-pound) weight class that took first and second.”
Adams said nerves got the best of him during the two-day regional tournament.
“Heading into state, I need to stop being nervous and go out and have fun,” he said. “I just want to place in state, that is my goal.”
While the majority of wrestlers were done after they earned their first- through sixth-place ribbon, Stewart wasn’t so lucky.
According to Colorado High School Athletic Association rules, because Stewart took fourth in the 135-pound weight class and hadn’t faced the wrestler who finished fifth, the fifth-place finisher had the right to challenge Stewart for his spot at the state meet.
After all the places had been decided, Stewart headed onto the mat for one final match.
With less than 30 seconds left and the match tied at 2-2, Stewart nailed a reversal and went on to win the match 6-2 to keep his postseason trip.
“I feel like I’m at the top of the world,” Stewart said. “Hard work and determination is all it takes.”
In the beginning of the season, Stewart said he never thought he would be going to state as a sophomore, but with help from his teammates and coaches, he is able to do just that.
“I think I just had confidence in myself and in my team and coaches,” he said. “All it takes is three seconds to get up, and I was able to do that.”
The three Bulldogs will begin the first round at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at the Pepsi Center.
While winning state may be the ultimate goal for Griffiths, winning the regional tournament was not lost on him.
“It is the best feeling in the world to win,” Griffiths said.