Top Dogs: Moffat County wrestler Elias Peroulis recovers from semifinals loss, places 4th at state | CraigDailyPress.com

Top Dogs: Moffat County wrestler Elias Peroulis recovers from semifinals loss, places 4th at state

Moffat County High School wrestler Elias Peroulis awaits the whistle during the consolation finals at CHSAA State Championships. Peroulis placed fourth in the 3A 182-pound division.

Moffat County High School’s Elias Peroulis may not be able to put state champion on his résumé, but if there’s one thing you can say about the Bulldog wrestler, it’s that he won’t let defeat define him.

With a loss from Friday night hanging over his head, Peroulis powered through Saturday’s consolation rounds at the CHSAA State Championships, ultimately placing fourth.

The previous evening’s 9-4 decision against him when he met Nathan Johns of The Classical Academy in the championship semifinals was a motivator to come back even stronger, and Peroulis competed with tenacity in Saturday morning’s bout against Ernesto Rios of Platte Valley, recording five takedowns in an 11-4 win against a foe he split with in January’s Valley Viking Invitational.

“Those were some great headlock takedowns he had in that match,” assistant coach Mark Voloshin said, noting that Peroulis was full of confidence heading into the rematch with Rios.

Either way, he was already guaranteed placement in the 3A 182-pound brackets, but his drive wouldn’t let him settle for fifth- or sixth-place.

What’s more, he was hoping to improve on his previous year’s showing. In 2017, Peroulis made it as far as the consolation semis in a 4-2 run, losing by 5-3 decision in the third-place match.

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Unfortunately, the same fate befell him this time.

Peroulis was paired in the consolation finals against London Spivey of Faith Christian, whom he had pinned en route to a championship at the 3A Region 3 Tournament a week earlier.

Peroulis gained an early takedown and Spivey an escape in the first minute of competition, and a Spivey takedown and Peroulis escape made it 3-3 as the second period concluded.

Spivey got up by a point and Peroulis continued drilling, the two coming out of the ring with 20 seconds remaining. The Bulldog was ready to make his comeback, but his opponent had different ideas, finding the angle for another takedown to push his lead to 6-4 for the win.

Peroulis finished his senior season 39-7, complete with a regional title and, as head coach Dennis Fredrickson noted, a run at state where he gave up no falls and went the distance each time he was on the mat.

“He had possibly one of the toughest weights in the state,” Fredrickson said. “Once he’s had some time to reflect, I think he’ll realize how much he really accomplished this year.”

Though emotional after completing his final round of high school wrestling, Peroulis later said he was at peace with his finale, feeling like his many successes in the past several months speak for themselves.

“It wasn’t how I wanted it to go, but I’m just happy to be here,” he said.