Windsor’s Villa, Lanteri claim state wrestling titles in final seconds
March 6, 2014
DENVER — It hasn’t sunk in yet for the Windsor wrestlers, but it will soon.
Josh Villa, a 113-pound junior, and Kennen Lanteri, a 152-pound senior, are bringing home Class 4A Wrestling Championships titles from the Pepsi Center.
Villa (44-6) came off the mat as a champion Saturday after trailing 5-0 in the first period. And for the second time in as many days, Villa secured the win in the final seconds. Lanteri’s victory, also secured late in the match, came against Broomfield’s Jarod Albo 4-2.
With 34 seconds left in the third period, Villa scored a takedown to go up 6-5 against Pueblo South’s Michael Ramirez (37-8). But he wasn’t done.
After a blood timeout, Villa flipped Ramirez on his back and got the pin with 8 seconds left.
“It was my goal — I set it at the beginning of the year,” Villa said of winning a state title. “I said, ‘I’m gonna be a state champion this year.’ And I knew that everything I did in the wrestling room and everything I did outside of the room, it had to be towards this. It had to be this moment. It was just this only moment that I was working for.”
It was Villa’s first finals appearance after not placing last year. And because he’s a junior, he said winning a title this year just gives him more motivation for next year.
“I got to the finals and my mind was just going 100 miles per hour and then this,” Villa said. “It’s gonna hit me (today).”
Lanteri also couldn’t believe he had won his second straight state title.
“It hasn’t really settled in yet, but I think (today) it’ll be a different story,” Lanteri said. “I’m definitely happy that I was able to follow it up from last year.”
However, the Wizards were expecting to take home more than two titles, and Lanteri said the wins are bittersweet.
“I still think we’re proud of the two — I think we expected a lot more but it’s just the way it goes sometimes,” he said. “Me and Josh, I think, were really happy with that, and I think the other guys that missed out — it motivated them to do better next year.”
For part of Lanteri’s match, it didn’t look like he was going to win. Tied at 2, he was in the down position for most of the third period, which he said was a strategy to burn time. With 40 seconds left, Lanteri score the final two points and won 4-2.
“I kind of felt obligated to hold (onto) the title, so that was a big part of it, too,” Lanteri said. “And I figured it is my last year, so I have to give everything I got and try to get the win.”
Villa said he knew he had the energy and the will to win his first title, and his training this season paid off Saturday.
“I believed in myself and I knew that I could do it,” Villa said. “I knew that I just had so much. Like right now, I could go run 10 miles and not even be tired. I’ve trained to the point where it’s like, I have to literally get the crap beat out of me for me to be tired on the ground. Just no other feeling can explain this.”