Seth Pickett could have done it with a technical fall, but he didn’t have that much patience.
With Mesa Red Mountain needing five points in the final bout to beat Mesa Westwood in Wednesday’s 5A Division I wrestling team tournament quarterfinal, the individual state champion from the 145-pound division took just 40 seconds to pin Mesa Westwood’s Kendall Clark to lead the Mountain Lions to the 29-27 victory.
Red Mountain will meet Mesa in the semifinals at 4:30 p.m. today at Chandler Hamilton High.
“I just knew I had to go out there and get the six, and I got it done,” Pickett said. “That’s all I was thinking about.”
Pickett took down Clark almost immediately, and then locked both of Clark’s legs and waited for the inevitable.
“As soon as I got that lock I knew it was over,” Pickett said. “No longer how long it took.”
Red Mountain trailed 24-12 with five matches left, but won four of them to seal the victory. Red Mountain coach David DiDomenico juggled his lineup to avoid a forfeit at 215, and it paid off. “We’re peaking at the right time,” DiDomenico said. “These kids have no quit in them right now.”
DiDomenico is looking forward to the matchup with the Jackrabbits, the two-time defending state champion. He is a former assistant coach at Mesa. “I love those kids,” DiDomenico said. “It’s like having two sons. I’d love to see Mesa in the semis because you want to compete against the best.”
Each team caught a break in the early going. The match began at the 152-pound weight class, where Red Mountain’s Cody Saul seemingly captured a 5-4 decision. However, a Westwood scorekeeper pointed out a scoring error, giving Jake Dodge the victory and the Warriors a 3-0 lead.
In the 171-pound division, it looked as if Westwood’s Jake Tyra pinned David Leeser while trailing 8-1, but an illegal hold was called. Leeser held on for the 12-7 decision, giving the Mountain Lions a 9-3 lead.
It would expand to 12-3 after a victory by Josh Reta, but Westwood then won five straight matches for 21 points and a 24-12 lead.
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