Denver Soroco wrestling coach Doug Gates was pleased to see his team work toward its best practices of the year heading into the first day of the Colorado High School Activities Association 2A State Wrestling Tournament in Denver.
Not that the Rams needed the motivation.
"They're pretty well psyched," Gates said. "I always tell my guys, 'When you go in there, you don't mess around, you get your chance and you put 'em away.'"
In the first set of matches of the afternoon, Soroco 103-pounder Justin Iacovetto took Gates' mantra to mind, putting away Kiowa's Tyler Pelley in 56 seconds.
"I felt how he was and took him down easy with some simple moves," said Iacovetto, fully aware that with the only undefeated record in his class, he doesn't want to show too many of his moves too early. Iacovetto faces Center's Steven DeHerrera in today's quarterfinals.
Soroco's Dennis Morgan went into his first match in the 189-pound class hoping to quickly put his opponent, Swink's Chris Reynolds, away in the first period. Morgan couldn't set the tempo as he hoped, struggling to a 2-1 stalemate after the first period. But Morgan upped the intensity throughout the second period, taking down Reynolds and pinning him in 4:09. Morgan faces Wray's Paul Campfield in today's quarterfinal match.
Soroco 130-pound wrestler Joel Schlegel had a tough opening match with Akron's Levi Scheopner that was much "closer than (he) would've liked."
Unable to keep Scheopner contained, Schlegel headed into the third period up by only one point.
"I could hardly keep him down," Schlegel said. "But I got that two-count on a tilt and held out long enough for some back points."
The match ended 6-5 in Schlegel's favor to place him against Luis Salazar, a 23-6 wrestler from Center that Schlegel pinned in a previous meeting this season.
Soroco's only loss on the day was Levi Gonzales' bout in the 125-pound class. Gonzales went up two points on Burlington's Cameron Penny before giving up seven consecutive points. He faces Stephen Aragon from Dolores Huerta in today's consolation rounds.
The three wins put Soroco at 15th place out of the 60 2A teams represented. Rocky Ford led all teams, followed by Dove Creek in second and Paonia in third.