Hayden senior highlights Tigers’ opening rounds at state wrestling; Soroco follows with 2-2 start
DENVER — Believe in yourself.
That’s what Hayden High School’s head coach kept yelling at senior Hunter Hatcher, 195, on the mat at the opening rounds of the CHSAA State Championships in wrestling on Thursday, Feb. 21 at the Pepsi Center.
Hatcher, who took fourth in Class 2A Region 1 to earn his bid to state, was up against Class 2A Region 2 champion, senior Max Mondragon from Sierra Grand/Centennial High School.
“I don’t know if he knew that going into that match,” Tigers’ head coach Nick Planansky said. “When he does believe in himself, he does well. But, he has a tendency to get down on himself, and I was trying to keep him from getting into his head.”
Hatcher quickly took Mondragon down to the mat, but Mondragon stayed the course, staying face-down before ultimately standing up on all fours to flip Hatcher over. As Hatcher lied on the mat, he kept one shoulder underneath Mondragon’s chest, avoiding the mat. He spun around before using that shoulder under Mondragon’s chest to flip him over on the mat.
Hatcher wrapped himself on top of Mondragon, who was now lying on his back.
The official locked eyes on Mondragon’s shoulders, one… two… and slapped his hand.
Hatcher had pinned Mondragon in the third period.
Hatcher, breathless, points a finger to the crowd of parents watching ahead and shakes hands with the official and coaches before trotting off. He was one of three victories for the Tigers in the opening rounds.
Freshman Dylan Zimmerman, 113, and junior Hunter Planansky, 182, were quick to pin their opponents in the opening rounds. As regional champions, both are expected to be top contenders at the tournament. Zimmerman pinned Centauri freshman Andrew Ross in 54 seconds. Planansky pinned Baca County freshman Justin Wright in 1:13. Zimmerman, Planansky and Hatcher stay alive in the winners’ bracket entering tomorrow’s competition.
“They went out there and dictated the pace of the match,” Nick Planansky said. “They took it where they wanted to go.”
But the Tigers also saw tough losses in sophomores Wyatt Murphy, 106, Kyler Campbell, 132, and senior Daylon Frentress, 120. Murphy lost by an 8-3 decision to Yuma sophomore Blaze Brophy. Segwick County sophomore Marco Martinez won by fall over Campbell in 3:26. Frentress was pinned in one minute by Cedaredge sophomore Trey Geyer. All will return tomorrow in the consolation bracket.
“Wyatt had trouble getting off bottom, and the kid was tough on top,” Nick Planansky said. “We did everything we could do. He was just one step ahead of us. We’ll get the next one. I told him to keep his head up; he’s not out yet. Come back tomorrow strong. So, same with Campbell. He had a rough loss too.”
The Rams went 2-2 in their matches. Seniors Jace Logan, 170, and Jesse Amrein, 195, each won their matches handily, while sophomore Kody Logan, 145, and junior Tristan Singer, 220, fell to tough competition.
Holyoke senior Jesus Trejo won by fall over Kody in 4:57. Singer fell in 42 seconds to undefeated senior Jayce Bauer from County Line.
“He [Kody] almost had it,” Rams head coach Jay Whaley said. “He just tried to take advantage of an opportunity and, unfortunately, he didn’t get his hips squared out, and he got stuck.”
Logan, a three-time defending state runner-up and regional champion, pinned County Line junior A.J. Wilk at 2:34. Amrein won by fall over Cedaredge junior Caleb Berardi in 1:01.
Competition resumes tomorrow at 9 a.m. with the quarterfinals of the winners’ bracket. The first round of consolation matches is expected to start after at 11:45 a.m.
“I tell them they’ve got to come back, wrestle like it’s their last,” Whaley said. “And that’s what I tell those first round matches. We watched a returning state champ lose today. There’s a lot that goes on. Even some of the good kids out there struggled.”
Steamboat Springs junior John Slowey withdrew from competition due to injury and did not travel to the state championships.
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