Routt County state wrestlers
T-Lane Mazzola, freshman, 103 pounds
Chad Terry, sophomore 119
Scott Armbruster, junior, 125
Nick Williams, sophomore, 135
Koleman Williams, senior, 152
Treyben Letlow, junior, 215
Will Valora, freshman, heavyweight
Lauryn Bruggink, sophomore, 103
David Strait, junior, 140
Casey Williams, freshman, 135
If you go
What: State wrestling tournament
When: Class 2A starts at 3 p.m. today. Class 4A starts at 7:15 p.m. The tournament runs through Saturday; finals for all classes start at about 7 p.m. Saturday.
The final round of the tournament will be available on a pay-per-view basis through the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Web site, chsaa.org. It will cost $12 per class or $25 for a feed for all four classifications. The broadcast will start at 6:30 p.m. Saturday with the Parade of Champions.
The difference between where Hayden junior Treyben Letlow is and where he wants to be is a generally modest 10 feet.
There’s nothing simple about the jump the 215-pound wrestler has planned at this weekend’s Class 2A state tournament. Last year as a sophomore, Letlow fought his way to third place in the same weight division. It’s an accomplishment memorialized in the Hayden High School gymnasium, Letlow’s name and place carved into a wooden plank and hung from the wall alongside all the other Tigers who have placed at state throughout the years.
A separate area about 10 feet away is reserved for Hayden’s state championships; however, it’s a section of the wall that’s not nearly as crowded, featuring only 14 names.
“Actually,” Letlow said, eyeing that wall Wednesday afternoon before the Tigers’ final pre-state practice, “I’m not trying for one state championship. Coach (Ty Camilletti) was a two-timer. I want that, too.”
There are 14 Tigers who have done it once, seven who have doubled up like current Tigers’ coach Camilletti and three who have racked up three titles. The path for Letlow to join that hallowed list of Hayden state champions is simple: He needs to keep doing what he’s been doing.
The lanky, tall grappler doesn’t even fill out his weight bracket, tipping the scale at 205. But he’s quick and smart, ruthless with his moves and good when the action hits the ground — and he’s undefeated this season.
“He runs a lot of moves that kids his size aren’t supposed to be able to do,” Camilletti said. “He poses a real matchup problem for a lot of the kids in his division because he’s so tall. They think he might be clumsy, but he’s so athletic. He’s unique, that’s for sure.”
Action in the state wrestling tournament begins at 3 p.m. today at the Pepsi Center in Denver and continues until the championship matches, which are slated for about 7 p.m. Saturday evening.
Letlow is perhaps Hayden’s best shot at winning its first individual state title since 2000, but he’s far from the only local wrestler who could fare well this weekend.
The Tigers are taking six others. Soroco will field two, also in the 2A classification, and Steamboat Springs High School will be represented by 135-pound freshman Casey Williams.
Hayden’s state roster boasts four wrestlers in addition to Letlow who already have state experience, including sophomore 119-pounder Chad Terry, who blasted through the 103-pound bracket a year ago to get second.
Senior Koleman Williams, at 152 pounds, is back for his second go-around; junior Scott Armbruster at 125 is back for his third; and freshmen T-Lane Mazzola at 103 and Will Valora at heavyweight will experience the bright lights of the big stage for the first time.
Also wrestling is sophomore Nick Williams at 135 pounds, who joins Letlow as one of the team’s two regional champions.
“I remember it was big. Real big,” Williams, who lost last year’s state tournament in two matches, said about the experience. “I feel a lot more confident. I’m a lot better this year. I should definitely win some matches.”
Soroco doubles its field for state tournament
The Tigers won’t be the only ones looking to make headlines with a strong performance on the Front Range, though it’s not recognition that’s driving all of Routt County’s entries.
Soroco sophomore Lauryn Bruggink will return to Denver for her second try in the 103-pound bracket.
She became the first female wrestler in history to score a point at the state meet last year, but much to the chagrin of the news cameras from an ever-present Denver media, missed out on becoming the first female to win a match.
This year, she hopes to change a lot about what happened a year ago.
There are three other girls in this year’s state field. Bruggink is more than happy to share the spotlight.
“It was a distraction,” she said. “They can have all the media if they want it.
“This year, winning a match won’t do it for me. I know for everyone else that’s huge, being the first girl to do it, but winning one match? Whip-de-do. I’m no different than any other wrestlers this weekend, and my expectations aren’t different, either. I want to place and get a medal.”
She’ll be joined at the meet by junior 140-pounder David Strait, who was fourth in his regional bracket.
Strait dominated his weight class much of the season, but despite earning his first bid to the tournament, he didn’t finish on the high note he had hoped for.
That’s something he figures to rectify on the mats in Denver.
“I can’t sit back when I’m there,” he said.
“I have to work. I have to wrestle six minutes hard. I can’t stop.”
Steamboat freshman sets sights on winning medal
Casey Williams, meanwhile, said he plans to adopt a similar “can’t stop” approach in his first trip to state.
A rare freshman in a non-lightweight division, the Steamboat wrestler said knowing what to expect has done little to calm him down in recent days.
“I’m really nervous,” he said. “I’m expecting a lot of people and lots of cheering. This is a really big deal.”
Williams was fourth in his 4A regional bracket and has his eyes on a medal in his first year.
“I have a good chance of placing if I can win my first match,” he said.
“It’s really important to do well, but overall I’m very happy to be there, especially as a freshman.”