PRESCOTT VALLEY – The demons have been quieted.
Desert Vista senior Tristan Ezell ultimately ends his career as a Division I state runner-up instead of a champion as he expected, but the growth he has shown will someday resonate more than the disappointment he felt Saturday at Tim’s Toyota Center.
Until then Ezell, who has openly talked about the “demons in my head” holding him back, will feel the sting of the 2-1 loss to Centennial’s Lewis Arendall for the 220-pound state title.
Ezell turned the corner confidence wise and how he lost is a perfect example.
He entered the third period trailing 2-1. The practical decision was to take bottom and try to escape in order to tie it.
Ezell, however, was so confident in his newfound offensive attack, that he chose to go neutral with the thought of getting the winning takedown.
It didn’t come to fruition, but the confidence in the decision said plenty.
“I’ve come far, but I ended up losing,” said Ezell, who finished fifth. “I guess there is accomplishment in making the state finals, but I wanted it all.”
Thunder coach David Gonzalez said the transformation by Ezell, who finished the year 36-7, in recent weeks will remain the telling story.
“He’s always had the ability to reach this level, but he was his own worst enemy,” he said. “Tristan really opened up starting at Flowing Wells (in January) and we’ve seen a different wrestler, a different kid ever since.”
Ezell, who pinned the top seed in the semifinals with a perfect lateral drop, has no regrets in the way he wrestled against Arendall, who won two of the three previous meetings.
“I tried my best, wrestled a good match, but it didn’t happen,” he said.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.