Soroco’s Whaley takes sixth, earns third consecutive state wrestling medal |

Soroco’s Whaley takes sixth, earns third consecutive state wrestling medal

Soroco junior Larhae Whaley becomes the sixth best girls wrestler in Colorado at the 105-pound weight class during the state wrestling championships at Ball Arena on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023.
Tom Skulski/Steamboat Pilot & Today

It was never going to be easy, but Soroco junior Larhae Whaley earned her third straight medal at the Colorado High School Activities Association State Wrestling Championships on Saturday, Feb. 18, at Ball Arena in Denver. 

Larhae wrestles in the 105-pound weight class, and though she dropped each of her last three bouts at state, she earned a sixth-place finish Saturday night. 

Despite the expectation of winning it all this year, Larhae recognized the challenge it is to be crowned state champion and was still happy with her results this season. 

“I think girls wrestling has grown a lot this year, and it is always an accomplishment to bring a state medal home,” Larhae said. 

Soroco wrestling coach Jay Whaley highlighted what made Larhae’s run in state so special, explaining that she was up against wrestlers from much bigger schools with more resources. 

In high school girls wrestling, there are no divisions and every girl in the state competes against each other. It’s something Jay wishes would change because while some girls are getting coached by former Olympians, Larhae has to worry about just having a practice partner. 

Despite all the obstacles, Larhae has cemented herself as a legend in Soroco wrestling.

“I think we’ve only ever had three people in the history of Soroco high school get three medals, and she just got her third tonight,” Jay said. “We’ve got one more year left, so that’s pretty impressive.”

Soroco junior Larhae Whaley establishes control atop her opponent at the state wrestling championships in Denver on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023.
Tom Skulski/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Larhae said taking sixth was not satisfying enough, and it only heightens her desire to get stronger for next season where she plans to stand atop the podium as a state champion. 

She remains in high school competition during the wrestling offseason as a member of the track and cross country teams. 

“Even though track is starting, all the other sports build up to wrestling in the end for me,” Larhae said. “Especially thinking about cross country, I think of it as conditioning for wrestling. Every sport I do is really just for wrestling.”

Soroco junior Larhae Whaley pushes her opponent out of the circle during the fifth-place match of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships at Ball Arena on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023.
Tom Skulski/Steamboat Pilot & Today

As her father, Jay has seen the dedication Larhae has put into wrestling over the years. He said she puts her full effort into everything she does and has been successful because she is a student of her craft.  He has confidence that Larhae will come back in a big way next season and make a run in Denver for her fourth state medal. 

As a father, Jay had a hard time explaining what it meant to watch his daughter compete this year. 

“I can’t really describe it,” Jay said. “I’m very proud of her, and there’s very few people that work as hard as she does. She has learned that hard work usually pays off.”

Larhae Whaley 2023 State Wrestling Championships

Round 1: Larhae Whaley, Soroco, maj. dec. Adrianna Price, Moffat County, 10-2.
Quarterfinals: Larhae Whaley, Soroco, dec. Velma Bailey, North Fork, 4-1.
Semifinals: Alexsys Jacquez, Fort Carson, fall Larhae Whaley, Soroco, 3:13.
Consolation semifinal: Alora Martinez, Pomona, dec. Larhae Whaley, Soroco, 1-0.
5th: Katelyn Faczak, Bennett, dec. Larhae Whaley, Soroco, 6-5.

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