Constantine wrestling coach Steve Wilson’s job guiding Andres Montoya didn’t end when Andres Montoya rushed off the mat Saturday after placing third at the individual state finals.
Wilson had to make sure he pulled Montoya away from an Auburn Hills pizzeria in time to make it back for the awards ceremony.
In his third trip to the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Falcons senior finally chased down all-state status, winning the 140-pound consolation championship with a 10-4 decision against Norway’s Cole Gonzalez.
Montoya, who beat Kent City’s Brendon Rodenburg 8-7 in a semifinal bout earlier in the day, having executed an escape with 10 seconds remaining, finished his final season with a 52-1 record.
And plate after plate of food.
It began Friday night with two burgers and a visit to Taco Bell, said Montoya, who gained eight pounds from his culinary tour around Auburn Hills after a final weigh-in.
Earning all-state status in Division 4 Saturday was dessert. His third-place performance also is the highest of any youngster in Wilson’s 12-year head coaching career (eight at Constantine).
Sophomore Daniel Waterman also is bringing home hardware after taking eighth at 160 pounds.
“If somebody told me I would have had that at the beginning of the year I wouldn’t have believed them,” Montoya said. “I haven’t placed the last two times I’ve been here. I didn’t expect much; I just wanted to place somewhere. It never really crossed my mind that I’d get a chance to wrestle for third place.
“This year has been a lot harder than the last couple years. Coach has been pushing me. I’ve been wrestling a lot heavier teammates to make it tougher on me. Cutting the weight was definitely a lot harder this year. It made me run more and push myself more.”
Montoya’s natural weight is around 158. He shed roughly six pounds during each practice session and meticulously counted calories, carbs and grams of fat at every meal. It was a constant test of willpower the first six weeks of the season.
Wilson gave Montoya the option of wrestling at 145 in the postseason, but they both agreed the road at 140 was the straightest to the medal podium. They were right.
“He has smiled since he was done wrestling,” Wilson said. “This is a great victory. He had just a great year. He has worked his butt off for four years now, this has been a long time coming.”
Still, the competition in his weight class over the weekend was extremely fierce. Montoya’s first loss of the season was to Hudson Area’s Cole Weaver in Friday’s championship semifinals. Weaver, a two-time state champion on top of a runner-up finish, advanced to the championship match again this year (championship matches had not been completed at the time of publication).
“He hasn’t lost since his freshman year,” Montoya said. “I knew if I was going to pull it off it was going to be really, really difficult — really impossible. When I lost to him, I just smiled. I knew I lost to someone who was better than me. There was no shame. You hate to lose, but if it’s to someone better than you, there’s no shame in that.”
An 8-7 victory over Kent City’s Brendon Rodenburg in the consolation semis earlier Saturday was the result of an escape with 10 second remaining in the third period. That set up a rematch with Norway’s Cole Gonzalez, whom Montoya beat Friday in the championship quarterfinals.
Montoya again prevailed with a 10-4 decision.
“At first I kind of used a different strategy and coach was giving me that look like, ‘Don’t wrestle like that; wrestle your match. You beat him before.’ When I started wrestling like myself, I started getting more points.”
Scoreless after the first period, Montoya collected back points as he had in the first match between the two.
“I kind of knew that he was going to start to get tired,” Montoya said. I had back points on him the previous match. It made me want to go at him harder.”
After losing his first match Thursday, Waterman fought his way back through the consolation rounds and landed in the seventh-place match. He lost a 6-1 decision to Hudson Area’s Brian Sumber and for the last podium spot.
“Daniel is just so stinking steady,” Wilson said. “His style of wrestling just frustrates people. He had a great tournament, wrestled well and did what he needed to do.
Junior Andy Waterman was a point away in the blood round from medaling at 152 pounds.
“Honestly, I thought the kids wrestled as good or better collectively than what we’ve had here in a long time.”