Hayden's Treyben Letlow celebrates being crowned the 215-pound Class 2A state champion at the state tournament in Denver earlier this year. Letlow was named the Steamboat Pilot & Today's athlete of the year.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden's Treyben Letlow celebrates being crowned the 215-pound Class 2A state champion at the state tournament in Denver earlier this year. Letlow was named the Steamboat Pilot & Today's athlete of the year.

Treyben Letlow named Steamboat Pilot & Today's athlete of the year

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By the numbers

■ 71-match wrestling winning streak

■ 3-time state wrestling medalist

■ 2-time state wrestling champ at 215 pounds

■ 16.5 tackles per game in football

■ 9 touchdowns as a senior

Past winners

■ Steamboat Pilot & Today Male Routt County Athletes of the Year:

2008: Ramsey Bernard, Steamboat Springs High School

2009: Alex Wood, Steamboat

2010: Alex Estes, Soroco High School

■ Female Routt County Athletes of the Year:

2008: Holli Salazar, Hayden

2009: Holli Salazar, Hayden

2010: Colleen King, Steamboat

Any discussion of recently graduated Hayden High School senior Treyben Letlow, the Steamboat Pilot & Today 2011 Male Routt County Athlete of the Year, almost always turns to his full four-year prep career.

Talk about his football acumen and it’s natural to mention that he was a four-year starter for the Tigers, that he caught the game-winning touchdown pass in a playoff game when he was a freshman and that he played seemingly every position at some point.

It’s impossible to mention his wrestling career without pointing first to his sophomore season, when he finished third in 215-pound division at the Class 2A state wrestling meet and started a winning streak that would never be snapped.

Letlow wasn’t chosen as the county’s best high school athlete from the past year as a career honor, however. As great as he was for three years, he was better as a senior.

In football, he played tight end, defensive end, fullback and even cornerback for one game. He was best in his senior year at linebacker, however, where he wreaked havoc. His average of 16.5 tackles per game was the best in the state. He wasn’t bad as a tight end, either, where he led the team in receiving and was second in scoring.

Along with a tremendously talented senior class, he helped the Tigers reach the state quarterfinals for the second time in four seasons.

“He understands football. He’s a student of the game,” Tigers’ coach Shawn Baumgartner said. “He would call me on a Saturday while he’s watching a game and say, ‘Hey, you see that play they ran? Can we work on that?’ He’ll just break a game down, and he’s always thinking.”

Letlow may have stood out even more in wrestling, where he won 71 consecutive matches and in February won his second consecutive state championship at 215 pounds.

He won each of his state matches this year via pin and capped off his two-plus-year tour-de-force in typical fun Treyben style, blowing the smoke away from two imaginary pistols.

The wrestling feat as much as anything showcased Letlow’s dedication. As great as he was on the mat, the sport always came in second for him, behind football, which he’ll continue to play as a tight end next year at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Asked to offer advice for a young athlete entering high school as wide-eyed as he was four years ago, Letlow replied with the directness that made him one of Routt County’s best.

“I’d suggest they work harder than everyone else,” he said. “I did what I thought was going to be more than anyone else. When I thought people were lifting three days a week, I decided to lift five days a week.

“I just like to compete. I definitely don’t like losing, and when I get into practice, I always give it my all.”

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