Top Dogs: Moffat County wrestler Miki Klimper secures spot in state finals
DENVER — It’s a position he’s been in before, and this time he looks to go one step further.
Moffat County High School grappler Miki Klimper took a domineering win Friday night at Pepsi Center to advance past the semifinals in the 3A 170-pound bracket of the CHSAA State Championships for the second consecutive year.
Klimper made it to the championship round with a one-sided match against Berthoud’s Wyatt Larson.
Larson may have been sporting the Spartan name, but it was Klimper who embraced the fearless, persistent way of the ancient Greek city-state with three takedowns and a near-pin racked up against him in the first period alone.
The Bulldog led by as much as 14-0 before he put Larsen out of his misery with the fall midway through the second period.
With the win, Klimper moved to 40-3 for the season and will face Weld Central’s Quentin Jiner, 31-5, with a state title at stake.
Also battling through the semis for Moffat County was Elias Peroulis, the last MCHS match of the day at 182.
Squaring off with The Classical Academy’s Nathan Johns, Peroulis sought to join Klimper in the Parade of Champions with goal of receiving dual gold medals.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t work out that way.
While neither wrestler was poised to run away with the match, Johns built on a 2-0 first-period lead and kept Peroulis lunging. Though Peroulis pulled the Houdini route and continually broke free of Johns’ holds for escape points, he couldn’t gain the momentum he needed to get in gear, losing 9-4.
Had he won, Peroulis would have faced Josh Flanagan of Valley, who defeated Klimper in the finals last season.
In the quest for third place in the consolation brackets, Peroulis, 38-6 on the year, will meet the winner of a match between Platte Valley’s Ernesto Rios (33-11) and Lamar’s Lucas Tinnes (36-11), the latter of whom he pinned for the 3A Region 3 title.
Moffat County wrestling saw four defeats in the consolation rounds as Dagan White (106), Chris Moschetti (126), Daniel Caddy (138) and Toryn Hume (220) each took some tough losses in their pursuit of the bronze.
White and Moschetti had each gotten as far as the quarterfinals before going into the consolations, while Hume and Caddy came back from first-day losses and picked up wins before their second defeat.
Hume took a second-period pin of Trinidad’s Caleb Armijo, one which he said he knew he needed as a personal recovery, though he couldn’t avoid the following challenge of Centarui’s Bennie Chacon, going down 2-1.
Caddy received a win by forfeit from Jefferson’s Nick Gallegos before a 6-4 loss to Montezuma Cortez’s Matthew Broughton, whom he said had nowhere near the intensity and speed of day one opponent Oswaldo Nunez of Brush.
“I could have won both those matches,” he said. “What it come down to (with Broughton) was we both wanted it, both needed it, but he came out with it.”
White fought to keep going against Buena Vista’s Isaac Hutchings, his first time at state coming to a close with a narrow 3-2 loss by decision.
“That’s where the best of the best are so there are a lot of good kids,” he said. “I fell short of placing and I was hoping to place because that would’ve been an accomplishment as a sophomore. But state is really fun and was an experience, that’s for sure.”
Moschetti’s final round of his high school career was likewise a close struggle, ending it 4-3 against Weld Central’s Tanner Baumgartner.
Though disappointed he was unable to place and had to cope with a few health concerns during the season, he wouldn’t trade his time on the team for anything.
“We have all built a brotherhood that is unlike any other,” he said. “Wrestling shaped me into the young man I am today and was a building block for my life. I’d like to send a thank you to everyone who has been there throughout the ups and downs.”
Craig Press will have further coverage of the state championships.