With his weight shifting down onto his opponent, Seth Burrer stretched out his left arm, hoping to hook the head. He saw Cheyenne East’s Josiah Aragon’s head there and knew he could turn around the match. First came the hook, then the reversal and then came the pin.
The Kelly Walsh senior, in his first season of wrestling, and on senior night at Kelly Walsh High School, secured the pin at 2 minutes, 55 seconds in the 195-pound bout. That sealed the team victory for the No. 1 Trojans in a back-and-forth 38-24 dual against the defending state champions on Tuesday night.
“I was hyping myself up all day, I was ready for this,” Burrer said afterwards. “Getting that last pin to put us ahead felt really good. Even if they pinned us twice they couldn’t get us.”
It was a landmark victory for the Trojans, who are the favorites to win the program’s first state championship this season. A victory over the defending champions added another layer of belief that the Trojans belong at this level.
“I feel like it really does add confidence, honestly,” Burrer said.
Coinciding with history, East led going into the interval. Landon Trujillo scored a pinfall to start the dual before David Stice secured an 11-7 decision. Stice had led 11-4 until Lane Jackson’s late comeback tightened the gap and ensured only 3 points to East.
The top-ranked team in the state was then able to take its first lead on three consecutive victories. First came Devyn Mosteller’s pin in just 47 seconds. The senior continued momentum he gained from an undefeated Trojan Border War over the weekend and scored the victory over 4A No. 1 at 120 pounds, Amos Solano.
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Kelly Walsh freshman Noah Hone came out the aggressor against Noah Gallegos. Hone’s first-period takedown put him ahead and Gallegos couldn’t overcome the deficit. Gallegos, the No. 2-ranked wrestler at 126 pounds, nearly had Hone rolled over onto his back but the Trojans’ No. 3-ranked prodigy held off the awkward position and secured the 3-1 decision. Junior standout Jace Palmer put the Trojans ahead with a tough decision over East’s Shawn Smith.
Smith came out conservative, sprawling Palmer’s shots and praying off the counter. It wasn’t until a third-period takedown leading into a two-point nearfall that Palmer gained the advantage. The horn saved Smith from a pin, preserving a precious three points for his team. Regardless, the No. 2 wrestler at 132 gave the Trojans a 12-9 lead.
East’s Keaton Anderson then scored a pin at 1:26 to regain the lead. That would be the last time the defending champions were in front.
The Trojans then rattled off four consecutive victories to put them ahead for good. Defending state champion Analu Benabise came out aggressive and gained a massive lead on points before scoring a pin at 5:01. Josh Kraus’ 5-3 decision victory, a 4-0 decision win by Kevin Anderson and Kole Kraus’ 7-1 decision put Kelly Walsh ahead 26-15.
A 5-2 decision win from Bradley Whitright disrupted Kelly walsh’s momentum and ignited East’s comeback hopes. Aragon shot aggressively in the 195-pound bout that followed, building a 5-3 lead. Then came Burrer’s reversal and pin. And the rest was history.
The two sides split pins in the final two bouts with Jerrod Warden winning for Kelly Walsh.