With his high school wrestling career coming to a close one way or another, Jesse DeMoor made his final day one to remember.
The Moffat County High School senior won three matches in just more than three hours Saturday to take third place at 182 pounds in the 3A state wrestling tournament in Denver. After losing in the quarterfinals to No. 1 seed Donaciano Vurciaga, DeMoor won four straight matches to claim the highest podium position available to him.
“Third place is almost as good because you have to battle back,” DeMoor said after finishing off Grand Valley’s Bryan Hegwood in the third-place match. “But I did it.”
DeMoor started off with a third-round consolation match Saturday morning and beat Isaac Medina, of Monte Vista, 9-0.
DeMoor won the match easily but was forced to wrestle for a full six minutes, so wrestling an hour later in the consolation semifinals became a question of endurance.
Taking on Faith Christian’s Seth Von Rentzell, DeMoor fell behind 4-1 after giving up two takedowns. But he got a second escape and then forced Von Rentzell to his back with a headlock. He scored six points in the final 20 seconds of the period to take a 7-4 lead and held on to that margin in the third.
“I had been fishing for that headlock the whole period,” he said. “I finally got him with it.”
Hegwood won around the same time as DeMoor, setting up a fourth contest between the two Western Slope wrestlers this year. DeMoor felt confident entering the match having won the previous three, but he figured he would need to do something different to beat Hegwood this time.
“That roll I do, coach (Tanner Linsacum) calls it gator bacon, I told him I wasn’t going to do that because I’ve beaten (Hegwood) with it so many times before,” he said. “But Coach said, ‘If it’s there, run it.’ It was just there, and I caught him with it again.”
Hegwood got the first takedown but DeMoor pinned him 52 seconds into the match to take third. He was all smiles afterward.
“I really wanted that state championship really bad,” DeMoor said. “But I was telling Coach beforehand that it’s harder to battle back. Now that I did it, I feel great.”
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or email@example.com.