Jaramillo is the best in 4A
DENVER – B.J. Jaramillo stood in the middle of the mat next to Pueblo South’s Victor Sanchez, his opponent in the 4A state wrestling 103-pound final Saturday night, and waited through an unbearable half minute.The thousands on hand at the Pepsi Center waited, too.The outcome of the match – and a state title – hung on a simple question: Had Sanchez scored a takedown before the final whistle, or was it too late?It initially appeared that Jaramillo, who was leading Sanchez, 4-3, had withstood a frenzied push from his opponent in the final seconds of the third period, and that the fall wouldn’t count. There was indecision, though.The head referee who made the initial call decided to confer with the assistant referee and officials at the scorer’s table while both wrestlers lingered anxiously on the mat.When Jaramillo learned he had won – finally – he hugged Sanchez and told the sophomore to come back and win the state title next year. He then embraced coach Rob Beard before being engulfed by a hug from his father.”Whatever way it went, it was supposed to be that way,” Jaramillo said about the tense half minute. “It feels good (to be state champion), but it’s just another match.”At least, to the focused, stoic Jaramillo it was. Beard, sporting a black suit and his trademark cowboy hat, was brimming with excitement after learning he had produced his first state champion as a head coach.
“It’s so exciting,” he said. “I’m just so thrilled for him because he deserves that. He’s worked so hard for so long.”The coach said he knew Jaramillo had won when both wrestlers tumbled to the mat at the end of the match, but was concerned that the ref might change his mind in the heat of the moment.”I was watching the clock, counting it down, and I knew that he had won it,” Beard said. “Just with the explosion of the feet, and the crowd noise, though, I was worried during those 30 seconds. If that’s changed, we lose. I was sick to my stomach. I know that ref, though, and he’s a solid ref. He made the right call. B.J. was the better wrestler in the match.”Jaramillo took an early lead in the first frame when he caught Sanchez in a bad position at the end of a risky move and slammed him into the mat for a two-point takedown.Both wrestlers were fighting for leverage when Sanchez, facing Jaramillo, kicked his leg in front of Jaramillo’s face and spun 180 degrees in an attempt to get into a better hold but Jaramillo countered with the quick move to turn the tables.Sanchez earned an escape for one point to close the first period, then took the lead in the second with a reversal. Jaramillo then slipped out from underneath Sanchez with 24 seconds remaining in the period to tie the score at 3-3. With the title hanging in the balance, both wrestlers picked up the pace in the final period. There were a few tense seconds where it seemed either Jaramillo or Sanchez might each earn near-falls while both fought for dominant positioning on the mat. Then, Jaramillo, who started the period down, earned an escape to take the 4-3 lead with 47 seconds remaining.Sanchez, desperate, tried furiously to take down Jaramillo as the clock wound down but the fall came too late. There were some boos from the crowd when Jaramillo’s arm was raised, announcing him as the winner. At the medal ceremony a bit later, there were only cheers and clapping hands when Jaramillo took his spot atop the winner’s podium.”It’s the state tournament,” Jaramillo said, shrugging his shoulders. “There are no easy matches.”
Overall, the senior finished his final season with a record of 36-4.Harvey second at 160Chris Harvey was the other Devils’ wrestler to earn a final appearance Saturday, earning a silver medal after losing in the 160-pound final to Widefield’s Vinny Vigil, 7-2.The match started out uneventfully – there were no points scored until the end of the second period – but then Vigil took control with two near falls in the third to take a 7-0 lead.Harvey earned a reversal, but then was unable to do much else as the Widefield senior waited out the clock for the win. Harvey, whose upset of defending state champion Nick Padilla of Pueblo South Friday was one of the biggest surprises of this year’s tournament, said he wasn’t as revved up Saturday night.”He beat me fair and square,” Harvey said. “I think I’d give him a better match if we wrestled again. I was more psyched up to wrestle last night and I was also pretty nervous tonight. I really wasn’t that tired, but it was pretty shocking to be out there. It’s good, though, because at least I have next year.Harvey’s final record for the season was 31-7.
Huskies’ Frausto fifthBattle Mountain senior Rudy Frausto earned a spot next to the winner’s podium Saturday night after he pinned Canon City’s Mike Giles with 41 seconds remaining in the135-pound fifth-place match.The victory was bittersweet for Frausto, who lost a frustrating 7-4 decision to Rifle’s Timmy Long in the previous match and missed out on a podium finish. “I’m happy,” Frausto said. “I should have done better. I kind of lost hope because after I lost I knew I couldn’t get first or second. But, I’ll take fifth place.”Best brothers fifthDevils’ captain Chris Best walked to the corner of the mat, bent over to put his hands on his knees, and then broke down in tears. The senior had just won a 7-3 decision over Widefield’s Matt Rebeck to finish his prep grappling career with a fifth-place finish at state.It was the previous match – a 3-2 loss to Thompson Valley’s Johnny Ortega – that brought the tears to the eyes.Best had taken a 2-0 lead against Ortega late in the second period with a reversal and looked on his way to a win and a spot in the third-place match. With 42 seconds remaining in the third, the lead was cut to one point when Best was penalized for stalling – a call questioned by Beard.
Then the lead, the victory, and the dream of being on the podium at state evaporated with 17 seconds remaining in the match.Beard, already incensed that the match was so close because he felt the referee had failed to award his wrestler obvious points, stood and cringed as Ortega reversed Best and then withstood a furious effort from the senior to hold on for a 3-2 win.The quick two-point swing and the subsequent end of the match left Best with a dazed look in his eyes.”The ref infuriated me,” Beard said. “His attitude was completely disrespectful. It’s a misinterpretation of the rule. The one call that upset me the most was when (Ortega) was on his back, and it looked like Chris was going to pin him and he didn’t get any points. I was like, ‘You know the rule. It’s in the rule book.’ “I don’t know,” added Beard. “You get one chance to argue a call, then the second time you get a warning, then you can start losing team points and can possibly get thrown out. When the ref says, ‘I’m through talking with you,’ there’s nothing you can really do. I didn’t want to miss the finals for arguing a call.”Best’s younger, bigger brother Brendan took fifth also at 171 pounds with a 4-2 decision over Niwot’s David Tedrow. “I was pretty tired, but you’ve just gotta bear down and get ‘er done,” Brendan Best said. “I beat the kid that beat me in the second round earlier in the tournament. I’ve got two more years. I can definitely beat most of these kids that are placing higher than me. I just need to work harder in practice.”Sports writer Nate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at email@example.comVail, Colorado