Ponderosa senior Cohlton Schultz wrapped up an extraordinary high school wrestling career by capturing his fourth state title — but he had a second goal heading into the finals of the Class 5A state tournament on Feb. 23 at the Pepsi Center.
There was little doubt Schultz was focused on his final high school match against Legend's Colin Lavell in the 285-pound title match, but that wasn't the first thought out of his mouth after the match.
“My main goal was to get us into the team race and get a team trophy,” said Schultz, who will wrestler at Arizona State next season. “We finished second. That was one of the major things that made this year really good is how good we did as a team, not just individually. How we came together was really special.”
Ponderosa, with Schultz and 126-pounder Mosha Schwartz winning state titles, finished second behind state champion Pomona and Schultz became the 24th wrestler in Colorado history to be a four-time state champion.
Schultz pinned Lavell in 52 seconds and no opponent lasted longer than a minute in the state tournament. His other tourney pins were by 52, 26 and 35 seconds. He never lost a point all season, had a 46-0 record and wrapped up his high school career with a 188-2 record.
“It (four state titles) is something as a little kid that I wanted to do,” said Schultz. “To make it come true is incredible. Since I was a little guy to watch those guys win four, I wanted to be a part of it. It feels special to be up there with them.”
In four state tournaments, Schultz won by pin in 15 of 16 matches. Only two wrestlers lasted past the first period and he has been regarded as one of the best-ever Colorado high school wrestlers.
Ponderosa coach Tito Rinaldis realizes how fortunate he has been to watch Schultz wrestle for the Mustangs the past two seasons.
“As a second-year head coach, I'm probably one of the luckiest guys on the planet to experience that right off the bat,” said Rinaldis. “People say he's one in a million but I don't think that does him justice — he's one in a trillion.”
Schultz was one of four Ponderosa wrestlers to place and the school has now produced 42 individual state champions in 25 seasons.
Schwartz said words couldn't describe his feeling after he scored an 11-5 win over Pomona's Wyatt Yapoujian to capture the state title and finish the campaign with a 43-6 record.
Sophomore Jaron Mahler was the 120-pound runner-up. He lost 8-5 to Daniel Cardenas of Pomona in the championship match. Sophomore Traevin Osborn was third at 132 pounds for Ponderosa and he downed Miguel Mendoza of Overland, 8-4 in the title match. Osborn was 39-9 this season.
Ponderosa has a history of wrestling success with 10 state championships but the last team title came in 2010. This year marked the fourth time the school has finished second and the first since 2013.
“It's been six or seven years since we've taken home some hardware and finally see all the hard work pay off,” said Rinaldis. “It's nice to finally take a trophy back to Pondo.
“It's going to be hard to lose guys like Mosha and Cohl, who were such consistent winners. We have a lot of guys waiting in the wings who are going to step up. We had some underclassmen who really stepped up this year.”
Legend had two wrestlers place. Lavell was the runner-up to Schultz at 285 pounds and junior Kade Syddal was fourth at 138 pounds after losing to Alex Alvarez of Poudre in the third-place match.
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