Fresh off their newly minted State Dual Title, the Cowboys were ready to ride the momentum to more hardware and medals on Thursday as the traditional tournament got underway. Following the last match on Saturday night, they not only crowned another individual state champion but took the third-place team trophy in Class 1A.
Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont (EBF) took top honors with 111 points, followed by Alburnett with 106 and Clarion-Goldfield with 90. Also finishing in the top five were Highland-Riverside with 72 and Wilton with 69.
“I felt going in that, usually, 80 to 90 points can win you a team title,” said head coach Kurt Morgan. “Alburnett was over 100 and still didn’t take the title. There were three dominant teams in 1A, but I knew we had a great chance. I credit both Alburnett and EBF. They wrestled great.”
Josh Portillo (113) took home the gold medal in his weight class, beating Zach Fowler of Alburnett by a 6-1 score to become the 46th state champion in school history (that number also includes both Roxanne Soesbe and Brittany Helgeson, who were champions at the state high school girls tournament in 2004. The most recent boys state champion was Joe Rohrer in 1985). Portillo used two technical falls and a 9-6 decision to reach the finals.
“It feels great to be a state champion,” said Portillo. “When I got my hand raised that night, it was like nothing I had ever felt before. There’s nothing like it.” He said he could never have imagined being a state champ when the season started. “I knew I was good,” said Portillo, who’s been wrestling since he was four years old. “But never thought I would be number one in the state.”
More details on the team results - and a four-page full-color insert on our state tournament victories - are in the Wright County Monitor's Feb 27 issue.