Soroco's Lauryn Bruggink and Hayden's Chad Terry prepare to wrestle last weekend for the regional championship. Terry won the match, but both advanced to this week's Class 2A state tournament. Terry is one of nine Tigers hunting for a state medal. Bruggink, looking for a medal of her own, could become the first girl to win a match at the state tournament.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Soroco's Lauryn Bruggink and Hayden's Chad Terry prepare to wrestle last weekend for the regional championship. Terry won the match, but both advanced to this week's Class 2A state tournament. Terry is one of nine Tigers hunting for a state medal. Bruggink, looking for a medal of her own, could become the first girl to win a match at the state tournament.

Hayden, Soroco wrestlers ready for state tournament

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Hayden wrestling, 2008-09

Soroco wrestling, 2008-09

  • Dec. 6 at Middle Park
  • Dec. 13 at Delta
  • Dec. 19 at Hayden
  • Dec. 20 at West Grand
  • 9 a.m. Jan. 10 at Paonia
  • Jan. 17 at Rangely
  • Jan. 24 at League Tournament at West Grand
  • Feb. 13-14 at Regional at Grand Junction
  • Feb. 19-20 at State Denver

On the 'Net

Check out brackets for the Hayden and Soroco wrestlers online at www.steamboatpilo...

Look for updates on the site this week as the Steamboat Pilot & Today provides coverage from the Pepsi Center in Denver.

— Throw enough darts and you eventually will hit the bulls-eye. By that logic, the Hayden High School wrestling squad has to find at least some success this weekend as it travels to the Class 2A state wrestling tournament in Denver.

The Tigers are hoping for more than just some success, however. Hayden coach Ty Zabel said his nine-member state squad is capable of big things.

"We can make some noise," he said. "We can finish in the top five. We might be setting our standards a little high, but that's because we can rise to the challenge."

Hayden will be fielding its largest state tournament team in years. Nine Tigers qualified for the tournament, which starts today and runs through Saturday night.

Three Hayden wrestlers won their weight divisions at regionals and will lead the way into the state tournament.

Chad Terry at 103 pounds, Mitch Doolin at 160, and Coy Letlow at 189 are among the top seeds in their 16-wrestler brackets.

"There's going to be some pressure," Zabel said. "They are going to have some good draws in the first couple of rounds, but then, they'll be running into other regional champions, and that's going to be tough."

How those wrestlers handle that pressure could decide the team's fate. There will be plenty of nervous butterflies to go around.

The event will take place at the Pepsi Center, more often home to the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche than the nearly 900 high school wrestlers who will storm the arena.

But the burden of a top-five finish doesn't rest solely on the three regional champions.

The Tigers' six other entries, who finished between second and fourth at regionals, could be the difference.

Seniors Mitch VeDepo and Jake Magee enjoyed strong seasons and could be poised for runs through the bracket, especially since VeDepo had a week to rest an injured elbow.

Treyben Letlow was second at 215 pounds at regionals and will wrestle someone who was third at regionals. Koleman Williams at 125 and Nick Williams at 145 could pull upsets in the early rounds.

"I just hope for all of them to do their best," Zabel said. "It's a mental thing at this point. It's about having the heart and pushing through, one match at a time."

Bruggink looks for history

Lauryn Bruggink will be the sole representative of the Soroco High School wrestling team at this weekend's state tournament, but the 103-pound freshman could make more waves than the rest of the Class 2A field combined.

Second at her regional last weekend, Bruggink could become the first girl to win a match at a Colorado High School Activities Association state tournament.

"I need to try not to get too nervous," Bruggink said after wrapping up her ticket to the tournament. "And I need to find my happy place."

Such acclaim won't come easy. Bruggink's first match is against Steven Velasquez, of Center High School. The sophomore was third in his region, but his 27-10 record stands up with Bruggink's 14-11 mark.

Action at the tournament gets under way today at 3 p.m.

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