Hayden’s Letlow takes 2nd state title
Senior wrestler walks away with 71 straight wins
Saturday state wrestling results
140 pounds: Taylor Weirich, Eads, dec. Josh Baker, Soroco, 6-2.
171: Tyler Korf, Yuma, pinned Ryan Domson, Hayden, 5:37.
215: Treyben Letlow, Hayden, pinned Tuff Gibson, Merino, 5:36
Steamboat Springs — The state championship match took 5 minutes, 36 seconds and ended as they so often have, with Hayden’s Treyben Letlow pinning his opponent.
The celebration — Letlow climbed from the mat, looked to the crowd, fired off a barrage from pretend six-shooters, calmly blew the smoke away and returned the weapons to their holsters — took a few seconds to execute and a day to plan.
The match wasn’t about seconds, minutes or days, however. This was one for the ages.
Letlow won his second consecutive state championship with a dominating performance Saturday, capping a streak of 71 straight wins and bringing to a close one of the most dominant wrestling careers in Hayden’s history with a third-round pin of Merino’s Tuff Gibson at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
“I had a great run,” Letlow said. “That’s all I could really ask for.”
Letlow was technical, precise, intelligent and powerful in the win.
He picked up a first-period takedown for a 2-0 lead, made it 3-0 with an escape and 6-0 with a second-period near-fall.
Gibson grew aggressive as the match ticked away, pushing to execute a throw that would have landed the Hayden star on his back. It was Letlow who had the big and final move, however, wrapping Gibson up in a giant bear hug, plowing him to the ground like a linebacker nailing a quarterback and, several seconds later, earning the pin.
“It was a power move. It takes some real guts to throw that move late in a championship match,” Hayden coach Ty Camilletti said about the coup de grâce. “He could have been cautious with a lead in the state championship match.
That aggression, that go-for-it attitude, that’s why he’s won 71 in a row. He thinks, uses his head, but he goes for it.”
It was the final match of Letlow’s career. He’s headed to Colorado State-Pueblo to play football.
“I’m glad it’s over,” he said. “I enjoyed wrestling, but now it’s on to football.”
It was Letlow’s fourth pin in as many matches at this year’s state tournament and his 10th in his three years at the event. He finished with a state-tourney record of 12-1, two firsts and a third, all at 215 pounds, and he became Hayden’s first two-time wrestling state champion since Camilletti accomplished the feat in 1997.
“This is the end of a seven-year relationship, since we got him in sixth grade,” Camilletti said. “We’re all a part of this. We’re all going to miss him.
“I was the last two-timer in Hayden. I keep telling my kids I want them up there on the wall, too. Now, Treyben will be right there with me. We’re together for life now.”
Terry 6th after injury
Hayden’s Chad Terry’s sixth-place finish at 130 pounds earned him his third state medal. He was second as a freshman and fourth as a sophomore. It was hardly the day or the tournament he had in mind, however.
The Hayden junior said his shoulder popped out of socket at least four times in his Friday night semifinal loss, and that injury kept him from wrestling at all Saturday. He forfeited twice and fell to sixth.
“I left it up to my coaches and my parents,” Terry said. “If it had been up to me, I’d have kept wrestling. I didn’t want to hurt my shoulder any more, though. Next year is going to be a big one.”
Two local wrestlers just missed out on chances to medal, each falling one win short. Hayden’s Ryan Domson, at 171 pounds, was pinned late in the third round of his consolation quarterfinal match. Soroco’s Josh Baker lost, 6-2, to Taylor Weirich, of Eads.
“I was disappointed,” Baker said, “but I’ll be back next year.”
— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com
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