DENVER - Close. So close.
But not quite.
Durango High School wrestlers lost a pair of heartbreaking matches in the opening round of the Class 5A State Wrestling
Championships on a lively Thursday night at the Pepsi Center.
DHS junior Rudy Peterson (103 pounds) lost his match when he was pinned by Pomona freshman Austin Marvel with eight
seconds left in their match.
DHS senior C.J. Hamby (112 pounds) lost in even more agonizing fashion when he gave up two stalling points late in his
match against Cherokee Trail junior Chris Buccieri - points that gave Buccieri a dramatic 4-3 victory over Hamby.
They didn't wrestle like they needed to wrestle to win," said a frustrated Doug Cuddie, the DHS head coach.
Both of those were winnable matches," Cuddie said. We should have won both of those matches."
Hamby, in his second appearance at the state tournament, had an opportunity to pull off an upset of the No. 2-seeded
wrestler from Aurora's Cherokee Trail when he came from behind with a third-period takedown to go ahead 3-2.
Buccieri, who entered as the No. 2 seed with a 38-2 season record, led after one period 2-0 on a takedown.
The two 112-pounders rolled through a scoreless second period, and Buccieri still led 2-0.
In the opening seconds of the third period, Hamby escaped from the down position to score one point and cut the lead to
Then, with 1:31 to go in the contest, Hamby latched onto one leg of Buccieri, and he took the Cherokee Trail wrestler
to the mat.
The takedown netted two points and gave Hamby a 3-2 lead.
Battling to keep control of Buccieri, Hamby was whistled for a stalling penalty with 16 seconds remaining. The one
stalling point for Buccieri tied the score 3-3. Just seconds later, Hamby was whistled for anther stalling penalty as
he held onto Buccieri's ankle.
Hamby was in the up position at the time, and the whistle indicated his hold on the ankle was not an offensive move,which is required from the wrestler in control.
The final point, with six seconds left, held up, and Buccieri - argyle socks and all - won 4-3 to improve to
39-2 on the season.
The referee absolutely made the right call," Cuddie said. You can hold the ankle to stop (the opponent's first move).
But you can't just keep holding that ankle."
Peterson was locked in a scoreless duel with the Pomona freshman when Marvel turned Peterson over and collected three
near-fall points at the end of the second period.
Peterson collected one point on a stall penalty against Marvel, cutting Marvel's lead to 3-1.
But with one minute remaining in the third period, Marvel picked up two points for a takedown to lead 5-1.
After working for a pin combination, the Pomona wrestler finished the deal with less than 10 seconds left.
Peterson was making his second consecutive appearance in the state tournament.
Rudy did not get off the bottom," Cuddie said. Our philosophy is you have to get up off the bottom. He didn't for
Cuddie said he had hoped the Demons would wrestle like the state-tournament veterans that they are.
But we wrestled like we were here for the first time," Cuddie said.
I've given these guys a lot of slack this year," Cuddie said. But not (Thursday); not after this."
The two Demons, the only DHS state qualifiers this year, will compete in the Class 5A consolation bracket this
Hamby is 23-10 this season; Peterson is 29-6.