Unfortunately for Summit senior wrestler Nick Wittrock, his third trip to state proved not to be the charm Saturday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
“It was a tough weight class, and it just didn’t go my way,” he said.
After placing fifth at the state tournament last year, Wittrock and his coach Pete Baker had their sights set on this year’s 126-pound weight class title. But with a tough first-round seeding and then a rematch against the same opponent he fell short to at regionals — finishing second — it just wasn’t meant to be.
“I wanted to win,” he said. “I feel like my wrestling was good enough. Unfortunately I didn’t have the best tournament.”
Still, Wittrock maintains a positive outlook on his season and his high school career, as he looks ahead to the future.
“I had a great season although I didn’t do as well as I anticipated at states,” he said. “I feel like my wrestling improved. There’s not a lot to be upset about.”
He ended his senior season with a 32-6 record, and voiced a sense of pride in his three consecutive trips to state to close his high school career. But falling short of his goal of bringing home a state title was tough.
“There was a lot of emotions considering it was my last high school match.”
Now just a day removed from his final match, Wittrock is already looking ahead.
“It may be the end of my high school career, but I’m going to wrestle in college so it’s just the beginning.”
As to where that might be he said, “I haven’t decided yet. All I know is that I’m going to wrestle wherever I go.”
His trip to state Friday started with a tough matchup against the eventual sixth-place finisher Peter Hanenberg from the Air Academy. The match remained scoreless through the first period but Hanenberg managed to get the upper hand and pin Wittrock in the second. In the 16-wrestler, double-elimination tournament, Whittrock moved to the third place bracket for his second matched. He managed a 5-4 win over Austin Anaya of Mountain View, keeping his hopes for salvaging a top finish alive. The next round set up a regionals rematch against Justin Davis of Pueblo County. Wittrock narrowly lost in a decision to Davis to finish second at regionals earlier this month.
“I was kind of the underdog,” Wittrock said of heading into the match. “I like being in that place.”
One point down on his opponent, Wittrock was holding his own into the second period when the two wrestlers went for the same move.
“We took a shot at the same time,” he said, adding that Davis was able to go a little lower. “He (accidentally) head-butted me in the nose.”
The force of the impact broke Wittrock’s nose causing him to take an injury time out.
“It definitely hurt a lot. There was a lot of blood,” he said. “I decided to tough it out.”
After Wittrock used his five minutes of injury time, Davis had the advantage of picking his start position, which resulted in him scoring an additional point to go up 6-4.
“I don’t want to make excuses,” Wittrock said of the loss, “but it was definitely harder (wrestling) with the injury.”
With the season now behind him, Wittrock is focusing on his college decision. He’s waiting to hear from a couple schools, plans to talk to a few coaches, and make his decision in April.
“This isn’t the end of my wrestling,” he reiterated.