Platte Canyon wrestling traveled to Walsenburg for the 2A region 2 wrestling meet. There were 16 teams. They were Cedaredge, Centauri, Colorado Deaf and Blind, Custer County, Del Norte, Dolores Huerta, Hanover, John Mall, Monte Vista, Mountain Valley, Platte Canyon, Sanford, Sargent, Rye, Center and Sierra Grande/Centennial.
At 138 pounds, Noah Hartman faced Gavyn Smith of Sanford. This match went back and forth. Hartman led four-to-three after the first period. Smith came back and took a five-to-four lead after the second period. They battled back and forth in the third. Smith won nine-to-eight.
In Hartman’s next match, he pinned Chad Lewis of Custer County at 2:45. Hartman then faced Damian Cassanova of Monte Vista. Hartman led two-to-nothing after the first period. He led five-to-one after the second period and went on to win 14-5.
He then faced AJ Robidoux of Cedaredge. He lost but was still in for a chance at fourth against Isaias Minchaca of Sierra Grande/Centennial. Hartman won seven-to-nothing. There is a rule for going for fourth place: If the two wrestlers have faced each other, then the wrestler that won the first match takes fourth and goes to state. Hartman finished fifth. Robidoux finished fourth and is going to state.
At 152 pounds, Matthew Creel came in as the number one seed. He faced CJ Nix of Sierra Grand/Centennial and won by pin at 3:25. In his second match, Creel faced Brady Kuhns of Sanford. Creel lost by pin. Creel lost to Keegan Medina of Del Norte. He was still in the tournament.
Creel then faced Jason Ross of Monte Vista. Creel trailed nine-to-five after the first two periods. Creel outscored Ross 10-to-one in the third period and won 15-10. Creel also finished fifth because he lost to Medina of Del Norte, and Medina is going to state.
At 160 pounds, David Johnson lost to Zach Sandoval of Centauri. Sandoval won by pin. Johnson then faced Tim De La Cruz of Dolores Huenta. Johnson was pinned and was done for the tournament.
At 170 pounds, Jakob Ebbs lost by pin to Byron Shawcroft of Centauri. Ebbs then faced Johnny Feldman of Custer County. Ebbs lost by pin. There were only five wrestlers at the 170-pound weight class, Ebbs finished fifth.
“We came in with the intention of having Matthew a regional champion and Noah in the top four, but it just didn’t work out that way,” Coach Gary Rhoads Sr. said.
“They both made some big mistakes and finally wrestled well at the end, but it was too late and weren’t able to wrestle back for fourth place. Noah has two more years, but Matthew doesn’t. Matthew finished the best he ever has, but fifth place is not good enough for state. Very sad, but it is part of the sport of wrestling.
“Work hard every day and one mistake and it’s all gone. That’s one reason wrestling is by far the hardest sport out there. Very similar to life, you can lose everything, but you must never give up and must keep fighting and give it all you got each and every day.”