Hard work, dedication and a season full of blood, sweat and tears ended in a state title for Stetson Davis on Saturday night — winning the state title at 220 pounds and finishing the season …
Hard work, dedication and a season full of blood, sweat and tears ended in a state title for Stetson Davis on Saturday night — winning the state title at 220 pounds and finishing the season undefeated against Wyoming opponents.
Kicking off the tournament on Friday in Casper, Davis (41-2) finished his first two matches quickly with pins of Wyatt Barton (1-4) from Cody in 28 seconds and Gabe Lopez (12-34) from Douglas in 1:30.
In the semifinals Davis matched up with Barak Bertoch (30-14) from Wheatland.
Davis earned a takedown in the first period and held that 2-0 lead heading into the second.
After Bertoch made the decision to be bottom, Davis opted to give him the free escape point and start neutral.
Davis got a takedown but eventually went out of bounds. He opted for another neutral start, earning another takedown from the position alongside a two point nearfall to extend his advantage.
That theme continued throughout the match, until Davis earned a three point nearfall in the third period to finish with a 21-6 tech fall.
In the championship bout, Davis came up against a familiar opponent in Jace Grant (42-8) from Cody for the fourth time this season.
“Wrestling somebody four times in a season sucks, they are like your practice partner, they already know everything you are going to do,” Davis said.
Neither athlete was able to score in the first period, setting up a key second period.
Davis deferred and Grant chose bottom, with Davis attempting to keep the score deadlocked in the period.
Stoppages flowed in due to a cut in Davis’ nose, bringing the match to a halt multiple times throughout.
Grant finally got the escape with 1:14 left in the period, but neither athlete scored the remainder of the period and Davis trailed 1-0 heading into the third.
Davis chose bottom, and scored his first points with 1:29 left after Grant was called for multiple illegal hand grabs — giving Davis a 2-1 lead.
Just over 20 seconds later in the match Davis earned a reversal, and Grant was awarded a late point due to stalling, but it was too late as Davis earned the state title in his senior year with a 4-2 victory.
“I just thought I had to win no matter what,” Davis said. “That’s something that is big in our wrestling room, that never quit attitude to always keep working, keep driving … Beating somebody that many times in a row is a big accomplishment, especially somebody as good as him.”
The victory capped a strong season for Davis whose only losses came in Montana competitions.
“Earning a state championship is something that I have wanted since I was 10 years old, it’s everything I have ever worked for,” Davis said.
It also marks the first time that a state champion has been crowned under coach Nick Fulton since he took over as the head coach for the Panthers in the 2020-2021 season. Last season, Stetson fell just short of placing at 170 pounds.
“Extremely happy for Stetson,” Fulton said. “He is the picture of hard work pays off. His growth in the last four years as an athlete and as a young man has been incredible to watch.”
Davis said he plans to continue his wrestling career at the next level, but has not yet decided on where he will continue.