Soroco’s Sky Carlson claims state wrestling title
DENVER — Like a freight train barreling forward toward a destination, one Routt County wrestler mowed down everything that crossed his tracks in the final round of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships Saturday night at Denver’s Pepsi Center.
Soroco grappler Sky Carlson went 4-0 during the tournament, reaching that ultimate goal of a state title.
For Carlson, it was the last stop on a flawless season — his record for his senior year was a staggering 39-0. As the top-ranked athlete in the 2A 220-pound bracket — and one of only nine this year to have no losses going into the tourney — Carlson’s three pins in the earlier rounds only had him warmed up for more when he met Paonia’s Jaden Miller.
Carlson had already beaten Miller during the regional tournament a week before, but a 2-1 decision at state sealed the deal. And, though he was the favorite to win, Carlson refused to coast.
“Definitely didn’t want to take anything for granted,” he said. “At state, everybody wrestles a lot harder. My coaches were just telling me to just stay on my feet, get good position, so that’s what I did.”
In the 170 class, teammate Jace Logan likewise was ready to get to the apex of the championship podium, meeting Wray’s Carlos Tarin in the finals. However, the Ram was pinned by Tarin with 32 seconds remaining in the match to finish as a runner-up for the third consecutive year.
On the other end of the arena, Steamboat’s Hayden Johnson squared off with Weld Central’s Jimmy LaConte for the top spot in 3A 160 pounds. Johnson ran into trouble early against the Rebel, as LaConte took two takedowns in the first two periods, though the clock had to be stopped twice for his bloody lip.
A burst of energy in the final round by Johnson had him trailing only 7-6, and with two seconds remaining in regulation, he had a shot at overtime with a quick escape, but he couldn’t bust loose quick enough.
The final day at state held both pros and cons for Routt County wrestlers, with the consolation rounds a difficult ride for Steamboat’s Lance Bryant, who found himself eliminated at 2-2 in the 145 weight due to a heartbreakingly close match with Platte Valley’s Josh Yancey, which ended with a 6-5 defeat for the senior Sailor.
Hayden’s Hunter Planansky also saw his time cut short as he fell behind in points against Rocky Ford’s Jesse Tapia with a 5-0 loss.
However, with four in attendance at the tournament, the Tigers had one wrestler elevated with podium placement.
Saturday was a busy day for Keenan Hayes, who tore through matches with Holly’s Ethan Burns and Akron’s Justin Traxler, pinning both in rapid succession to get into the consolation finals for the chance at third place.
Hayes’ momentum was halted by Sackett Chesnik of Paonia, who gave few opportunities to the Tiger in a 12-2 major decision.
Still, the Hayden freshman was glad to claim fourth place at state, and coach Chad Jones was even more pleased with the outcome.
“I thought Keenan wrestled hard and thought all four of our boys wrestled hard,” he said. “The future looks bright. We will be returning all of our state qualifiers next year.”
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