Isaac DeLoa can be a high-wire act at times.
On Saturday, the Millard South freshman tightroped his way to a state title.
DeLoa, ranked second at 113, scored a late takedown and rode it out for a 7-5 victory over No. 1 Aaron Fletcher of Omaha Burke at the state wrestling championships at the CenturyLink Center.
He evened his season series with the defending Class A champion at 2-2 in the biggest match of the four.
“It’s so exciting,” DeLoa said. “It means everything to me.”
The two went scoreless through the first period and exchanged reversals and escapes for a 5-5 tie in the third. That’s when DeLoa hit the match-winner.
A double-leg takedown near the edge of the circle put DeLoa ahead, and he ran out the last 43 seconds for the crown.
“He’s got a gas tank that just won’t quit,” Millard South coach Doug Denson said. “He can go and go and go. And he’s probably the most acrobatic and athletic guy I’ve ever coached. He gets in scramble situations and he somehow comes out on top of them.
“We don’t coach any of that.”
DeLoa is the first freshman state champion in Denson’s 20 years with the Patriots.
All four of his matchups with Fletcher this season were close. DeLoa won the first meeting — in the semifinals at the Metro Conference tournament in January — after falling behind early. It opened his eyes and provided confidence the rest of the season, Denson said.
“It was the first high-level guy he had really seen,” Denson said. “He just came storming back in that match.”
Fletcher won the next two meetings, including a 6-4 decision in the district final a week ago. They are DeLoa’s only losses of the season.
The difference Saturday?
“I just kept pushing,” he said. “I wanted to keep the pressure on him and break him.”
Denson said DeLoa’s potential is unlimited.
“He’s a guy that takes some risks and walks that line,” Denson said. “But he seems to always come out on top.”
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