DENVER — Joel Salomon pulled a fast one Saturday night.
Salomon, Windsor’s senior 113-pound wrestler, used a go-behind move for a takedown with 13 seconds left in his Class 4A state title match against heavily-favored Broomfield standout Drew Romero to record a 4-2 victory.
Salomon’s 152-pound teammate Kennen Lanteri (42-5) won in similar fashion — a 5-3 decision over Falcon’s Cody Soulka — but minus the drama.
The Wizards, in a quest for a three-peat of their Class 4A team title came up short, finishing third with 129 points, less than point behind runner-up Discovery Canyon and well behind winner Broomfield.
The sly Salomon (48-2) capitalized on a failed strategy by Romero (39-3) in the final seconds, then threw his hands in the air as he faced the Windsor faithful.
Simultaneously, Windsor assistant coach Dick Thomas fell to his knees and grabbed his head, saying to nobody in particular “My friend. My little friend. I’m going to miss my little friend.”
Thomas and Salomon are workout partners with Thomas displaying a scrape on his ear to prove his pupil’s toughness.
Sitting mat-side, Windsor head coach Monte Trusty turned to his father/assistant coach Milo and shouted “he did it. He did it.”
What Salomon did was avenge an 11-0 loss to Romero a little more than a month ago. Salomon changed his own strategy, not letting the more physical Romero get in on his legs as much and keeping him from circling on the edge for takedowns.
In fact, Romero conceded an escape point to Salomon between the second and third period, knotting the score at 2-2 and figuratively challenging Salomon to beat him on his feet.
“I said to myself ‘all right, I’ll take that,’ “ Salomon said. “Then I stayed in good position on my feet.”
After two more legitimate shots by Romero, Salomon was a bit surprised to see Romero stay on the mat instead of coming up for a reshot.
He then went into a front headlock mode and scooted for the go-behind and the winning points.
“I saw him twist a little bit, and all I had to do was go behind him and keep him down,” an elated Salomon explained. “After four years, this feels really good.”
Lanteri (46-7) won in similar fashion, recording a reversal with 59 seconds left in the match.
He had previously scored a reversal with just 3 seconds left in the second period after hearing Trusty holler at him “get his face, no hook up the leg. Hook it.”
Lanteri followed the instructions perfectly, and actually battled off of his back, nearly giving up near fall points, to record the convincing reversal.
“I saw the referee start to count, and knew I couldn’t give up points,” Lanteri said.
In the final 20 seconds of the match Lanteri wasn’t about to give an inch, holding off Soulka’s final chance at scoring.
“I didn’t need a scramble,” Lanteri said. “I was definitely in a defensive position.”
Windsor heavyweight Robert Bishop-Cotner was hardly a match for Golden’s Dakota Gulley (34-2), falling behind early 5-0 before finally succumbing to a pin in 1:27 in the 4A heavyweight match.
Trusty shuns the credit, instead giving it to his wrestlers.
“Salomon’s win was big for us and Keenen wrestled tough,” Trusty said.
Lanteri explained how his endurance also played a role in the victory, remembering Trusty preach about being able to outlast competitors.
“You’d say to yourself ‘yeah, well everybody is going to be in good condition, but in the end it paid off. Monte was right.”