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What’s It Like to Be a State Champion? Tripp Knows


By John Contreras

February 23, 2024

After two tough years on the wrestling mat, it all paid off for Holly’s Tripp DuVall on Saturday, February 17th.

The third time was a charm as Tripp finally achieved his goal of winning a coveted state wrestling championship.

In his third appearance at state, he claimed the 150-pound state title in convincing fashion.

He registered a first period pin in 1:33 over junior Kevin Cisneros (36-4) of Monte Vista in the Class 2A classification of the 2024 Colorado State Wrestling Championships that concluded on Saturday. Feb. 17.

After his title match was over, Tripp embraced the moment as he pointed to the crowd with a smile of relief on his face before a packed house on Championship Saturday Night in Denver’s Ball Arena.

 

“Winning my first state title was an awesome feeling, knowing all the work that has been put in since I was young,” Tripp stated. “All the long trips to tournaments, clubs, and camps finally paid off. Winning this year gave me peace because it is something I have worked for so long after I came up short for two years.”

His coach Mikey Lozano said Tripp was all business.

“Tripp finally got that state title!” praised Lozano, who himself won a state championship for the Holly program in 2009. “He’s worked hard on and off the mat to get to this spot. We couldn’t be more proud of him and we look forward to next year.”

On the road to his coveted title, the Holly junior was impressive as he posted three pins all in the first period and one major decision.

In the first round, Tripp made quick work of Dean McMahen (34-11) of Platte Canyon in 26 seconds on the opening day of the tournament on Thursday, Feb. 15.

“Tripp’s first match was against a kid we had not seen and the only senior in the bracket,” said Coach Lozano. “But he went out there and got the quick fall in 26 seconds.”

On the second day, he stuck Caden Ruggles (26-16) of Center in 53 seconds.

“Tripp went out there and took care of business with another quick pin,” cited Lozano.

In the champion semifinals, Tripp won by13-4 major decision over Lincoln Dekay (40-3) of Ignacio on Friday night.

“The kid that we wrestled in the semifinals had been ranked all year and only had one loss,” Coach Lozano explained. “We didn’t know a whole lot about him but went out and handled the match really well. Tripp almost had him pinned but ended up beating him 14-4.”

Now, Tripp was back where he wanted to be with another shot at winning a state title.

His championship match against Cisneros was a rematch.

The two faced each in the Valley Classic in Center where DuVall had pinned him in 1:02 in the finals.

“We had seen Cisneros before so we knew that we couldn’t overlook him,” Coach Lozano said. “Again, the match ended with another pin but was the biggest one of Tripp’s career.”

Lozano said that Tripp was a man on a mission all season.

“Tripp walked into Ball Arena remembering how the past two years had felt and he wasn’t going to walk out of that place without anything but a state title.”

“He walked out of the tunnel every time, laser focused and never lost sight of the goal. He never overlooked anyone and always took it one match at a time.”

Tripp capped his sterling season with glittering 48-4 record which featured a total of 36 pins.

Lozano felt that a challenging schedule prepared his team this season, “We had a tough schedule this year. We wrestled in a lot of Kansas tournaments which have tough competition.”

That was more than evident.

Two of his losses were against Wyatt Gardner from Leoti-Wichita County Ks. Who is ranked No. 1 in the state.

Garner (44-2) recently won a regional championship in the KSHS 3A-2A-1A Region C Tournament on Feb. 17.

Another loss for Tripp came at the hands of Class 4A No. 1 state-ranked wrestler Blake Winsor from Pratt High School in Pratt Ks.

Winsor also recently won a regional title in the West Andale Region tournament on the17th.

Tripp’s fourth loss came in the championship match in the Crowley County Invitational to Tony Macaluso from Class 4A Pueblo County who placed fourth in this year’s 4A state tournament.

During the award presentation on Saturday night, Tripp was decked out in a velvet red jacket while his coaches donned sunglasses.

“We wore the sunglasses his freshman year and that was just our thing… so we decided to bring it back this year,” his coach explained. “They helped cover up the happy tears we had!”

“With the red jacket… Tripp was just feeling himself and wanted to go out in style! I think it will be a new tradition!”

Monica Uhland, one of the Independent’s wrestling photographers who grew up in Holly said of DuVall’s stylish appearance on the podium, “I’m not sure what it was all about but the wrestlers loved it!”

Looking back at his career over the first two years, Tripp faced some adversity.

As a freshman, he lost his bid for the 106-pound state championship to Fowler’s Traven Sharon by a 9-5 decision.

Tripp had beaten Sharon twice during the regular season including in the regional championship. So, it was a hard pill to swallow.

Of note, Sharon won his third state title over the weekend at Ball Arena.

In 2023, Tripp was back at the state tournament the next year competing at 126-pounds.

He lost his first match by a 6-2 decision to drop him into the consolation bracket.

He recovered to win his next two matches and was one match away from the medal round.

Tripp, however, had to forfeit his third-round consolation match due to unfortunate circumstances during the weigh-in.

This season, Coach Lozano said that Tripp’s work ethic was undeniable, and he kept his eye on the prize.

“Tripp walked into Ball Arena remembering how the past two years had felt and he wasn’t going to walk out of that place without anything but a state title,” said Lozano.

Tripp said he appreciated all the support he had along the way especially this season.

“I want to thank my parents for believing in me and allowed me to pursue the sport I love. They have helped and invested in me so much.”

“My coaches and training partners have played a big role in this year’s success. I was pushed so hard in the practice room everyday keeping up with my teammates. This year, we had really intense practices.”

“I also would like to thank Jake Holdren for always being one of my biggest supporters. He was always making sure I was well taken care of, healthy, and ready to compete.

“Overall, I had a great year of wrestling with a great support team, and I can’t wait to compete again next year!”

For the record, Tripp became the first state champion for Holly since 2015 and the 52nd state champ in the program’s tradition-rich history.

His name will now be added to the wall—on the list of the wrestling greats that competed for the Wildcats through the years.

Congratulations to Tripp for an outstanding season. You did it right, truly deserved it, and you went out and made it happen!”

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