A pair of Norwood High School wrestlers climbed onto the podium at the State Wrestling Championships in Denver last weekend.
One wrestler from Nucla joined them at the Class 2A medal ceremonies at the Pepsi Center.
Norwood senior Aidan Dabal placed second in the 160-pound weight division. Bidding for a second consecutive state title, Dabal lost a close match in the championship to highly regarded Diego Reyes of Rocky Ford.
Norwood teammate Austin Overholt, a junior, placed fourth in the 170-pound division.
Nucla junior Will Gabriel won a second-place medal at state at 182 pounds. He lost a tense 2-1 decision in the state championship match to Keegan Bean of Lyons.
“That first takedown … that out-of-bounds call, that changed the game plan,” Norwood head coach Kyle Dinsmore said of Dabal’s state championship match. A controversial boundary ruling that went against Dabal helped Reyes in what became a 7-2 decision.
Reyes (49-4), a lanky wrestler, had competed at 170 pounds for much of the season before dropping down to the 160-pound division.
“That one hurt pretty bad,” Dinsmore said of the loss that denied Dabal a second state championship. “But he took it. He dealt with it. It’s one of those life lessons. But overall, he had a great year.”
Dabal wrapped up his senior season 36-3 with interest from a number of college wrestling programs.
“Aidan’s tough. I wish we had more kids in the wrestling room who could push him,” Dinsmore said.
Dabal scored three consecutive pins to open the state tournament, beating wrestlers from Burlington, Kiowa and Meeker.
The Norwood coach said he was also proud of Overholt’s fourth-place finish at 170 pounds.
Overholt won his first two matches in Denver, topping Seth Damgaard of Fowler 18-6 and then edging Jesse Tapia of Rocky Ford in a marathon ultimate tiebreaker, the equivalent of a fourth overtime.
Overholt lost to eventual state champion Carlos Tarin of Wray in the state semifinals, sending him into the consolation bracket.
There, Overholt scored a 12-4 major decision over Braden Witzen of Burlington to reach the third-place match against Anthony Felice of Paonia. Felice won with a first-period pin for third place; Overholt (29-13) was on the state podium in fourth place.
“That was a really nice finish for him,” Dinsmore said. “He was really happy; so was I.”
He said Overholt was aggressive in his opening matches and he persevered through the ultimate tiebreaker.
“And we have him back next year,” Dinsmore said.
Norwood sophomore Harley Workman opened the state 113-pound division with a 12-4 major decision over Travis Vialpando of John Mall High School (Walsenburg).
Workman (27-12) lost in the second round to Rocky Ford’s Dillon Jaramillo in a first-period pin. His state tournament ended with a pinfall loss to regional rival Rhett Quackenbush of Dove Creek.
“He got a tough seed (at state),” Dinsmore said. “He won his first match and then faced the returning state champion.”
In the consolation bracket, Workman had to go against last year’s state runner-up.
Hunter Wilson, Norwood’s 126-pound qualifier, opened state with a 3-2 decision over Matthew Mendoza of Swink.
Wilson lost 2-0 to Oran Huff of Lyons in the second round.
That sent Wilson into a consolation match against Isiah Wellman of Mountain Valley (Saguache). Wellman, who went on to finish fifth, edged Wilson 2-1. Wilson finished the season 25-14.
“Hunter won his first match, and he just had to win his second match … to place,” the Norwood coach said, adding that Hunter Wilson battled and battled in a tough weight class.
At 145 pounds, brother Riley Wilson went 1-2 at the state championships, closing his senior season at 22-17. He first lost by pin to Jared Bauer of Crowley County (Ordway).
He won his first consolation match with a second-period pin of Mario Chavez of Center.
Luis Chafino of Holyoke closed Riley Wilson’s state run with a pin late in the first period.
“He had a tough go of it,” Dinsmore said. “But that’s what happens when you’re a fourth seed from regionals; you face a No. 1 (seed) right off the bat.”
State tournament seedings place top regional seeds against the fourth seeds from other regions.
“Riley finally got to state … he really wanted it,” Dinsmore said.
“We had a good season … it ended pretty well,” the Norwood coach said, looking forward to the upcoming middle school and youth wrestling seasons.