Mighty Moffat County: Miki Klimper finishes runner-up at state wrestling
10th place Bulldogs prepare to apply lessons learned for future
Emotions ran high for Yampa Valley wrestlers and their fans Saturday night in Denver, perhaps even more so right at the end as the evening came to a close differently than they wanted.
In his third straight season at state, MCHS junior Miki Klimper came close to a title in the 170-pound weight class, but a hard-fought match with Valley’s Josh Flanagan ended with a 5-4 decision against the Bulldog.
The two had faced each other twice in the season, with Klimper defeating Flanagan to win Florence’s Mel Smith Husky Invitational, while Flanagan had taken the victory in points at his home meet hosted by the Vikings.
The third face-off was hardly antagonistic from a coach’s perspective — Moffat County coach Tanner Linsacum was on the other side of the mat from his cousin, Ryan Linsacum, coach of 3A tournament champion Valley, who also dominated the sport in his time competing for MCHS.
Coaching against family is just like any other competitor, Ryan said.
“We grew up with it, we know what it’s all about,” Ryan said of himself and Tanner.
Klimper’s maneuvers in the match didn’t make it easy for Flanagan, though the Moffat County athlete’s efforts to get the takedown he needed didn’t happen.
“We were right there in the match, and we’re proud of him,” assistant coach Daniel Cramblett said of Klimper. “He had an awesome tournament.”
Even if they didn’t finish the State Championships with a title, MCHS wrestlers end their time at the Pepsi Center with a wealth of knowledge for next season.
With eight Moffat County grapplers attending the final event of the schedule, Saturday afternoon saw seven Bulldogs done for the year as the consolation brackets concluded for 3A teams.
Elias Peroulis placed fourth in his third match of the day and sixth of the weekend, 4-2 overall in the tournament.
Peroulis met Livan Santander first thing Saturday, promptly pinning the familiar Delta foe, and was promptly back on the mat less than an hour later to face off with Casey Hand of Trinidad, earning an 8-0 win.
With more MDs than some surgeons — two victories by major decision during state — the Bulldog junior was prepped for the consolation finals and a potential third place, with only Lamar’s Colton Eberhardt standing between him and his goal.
Eberhardt gained an early takedown as he flipped Peroulis around and earned an escape in the second period followed by a takedown from Peroulis. A reversal put Eberhardt ahead, and while Peroulis was able to earn his own escape late in the bout, he had too little time to make up the deficit, losing 5-3.
Still, Peroulis was happy with the overall finish.
“I didn’t expect to make it this far, but hopefully next year I’ll be in the finals,” he said.
With three other Moffat County athletes still in the running to place, each had difficulties in the final morning.
At 106, Karson Cox was faced with Owen Berry, whom he’d first encountered at regionals, the Buena Vista opponent taking a pin against Cox for the second time in as many weeks.
“He’s got a good cradle, and he knows how to work it from standing up,” Cox said of Berry’s skills.
Chris Moschetti’s 120 match with Platte Valley’s Varrion Ciddio looked to be going well, but points didn’t go to Moschetti just when he needed them most.
“I was kind of upset, I thought I had a takedown, but they said it was out of bounds,” he said.
Ciddio took the win by fall in overtime, though Moschetti said his second consecutive year at state won’t be his last.
Hugo Hernandez also took a loss at the hands of a Platte Valley competitor, pinned by Jeremiah Land to finish Hernandez’s time in the 195 bracket, as well as the MCHS senior’s final high match altogether.
All Moffat County state qualifiers won at least one match at state, and most are lowerclassmen already thinking about next season.
“The experience has been great, and I’ve learned a lot about what I can work on for next year,” Drake Zimmerman said.
Moffat County High School 3A State Championship results
Wrestler, weight, season record, state tournament record; place at state
• Karson Cox, 106 — 13-4, 2-2
• Daniel Caddy, 113 — 31-13, 1-2
• Chris Moschetti, 120 — 28-17, 2-2
• Drake Zimmerman, 152 — 31-18, 1-2
• Miki Klimper, 170 — 40-7, 3-1, 2nd
• Elias Peroulis, 182 — 24-10, 4-2; 4th
• Hugo Hernandez, 195 — 11-5, 2-2
• Toryn Hume, 220 — 15-15, 1-2