Hayden’s Chad Terry is declared the winner of his semifinal match Friday at the state wrestling tournament in Denver. Terry also made the finals as a freshman. He lost that match, 1-0, then narrowly lost state semifinal matches as a sophomore and a junior.
Hayden's Terry charges into state wrestling finals
Senior is lone Tiger to remain perfect in bid for championship
Denver Thrice denied, Hayden High School senior Chad Terry earned the chance Friday to wrestle for the state championship that’s seemingly been on his fingertips his entire career.
The Tigers lost two of their three wrestlers who had qualified for the semifinals at the Class 2A state wrestling tournament in Denver, but Terry won a pair of grueling matches to earn his second trip to the state finals.
“I will be nervous when the time comes, but not yet,” he said. “Now, I just want to let this soak in.”
The entire team was wrestling near its best Friday morning, with the Tigers fighting out gut-wrenching victories in three of four matches to send juniors T-Lane Mazzola and Ryan Domson to the semifinals with Terry.
Things weren’t quite as magical in the evening, however, and both Mazzola and Domson were pinned in the matches.
Terry, though, won in the semifinal round for the first time since he was a freshman and almost too naive to appreciate the moment. He lost in gut-wrenching fashion in the semifinals in his ensuing two trips to state. Although both Friday matches were close and full three-set affairs, he never gave his opponents the chance to rip out his heart.
He beat Amos Abeyta, of Antonito, 3-2 in the quarterfinals and Shawn Beiriger, of Del Norte, 6-3 in the semis.
On Saturday, he’ll face Jace Nordyke, of Holly, in the 6:30 p.m. championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
“He gets his shot,” Hayden coach Chad Jones said. “This is where he said he wanted to be all year, and now he gets his shot.”
Mazzola and Domson, along with the only other local wrestler still in the tournament, Hayden senior Nick Williams, will battle Saturday in the consolation bracket with their best-case scenarios being third place.
Mazzola won in the quarterfinals with a never-quit attitude, rallying to score a match-tying two-point takedown in the waning moments of the final period. He won that one in overtime. He didn’t get that chance in the semifinal. Robert Darnell, of Holly, leapt into action from the start and never let go of the momentum. He scored a quick takedown and rolled Mazzola for the pin 1 minute, 28 seconds into the match.
Domson’s loss was more drawn out. He won a rollicking match against Jose Luis Macias, of Center, in the morning but couldn’t generate similar energy in the evening against Tyler Korf, of Yuma. Domson still managed to lead the match, 4-2, but Korf scored two points to even the match and then rolled Domson in the last seconds of the third period to get the pin.
“Those guys are crushed. They won’t get to do what they came here to do, but the good thing is they’re juniors. They’ll be back,” Jones said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them make a run in the consolation bracket.”
Elsewhere, it was at times a good day for local wrestlers but ultimately a disappointing one for most.
Williams was the best. He lost a quarterfinal, 14-4, to Adam Ortivez, of La Veta, but came back to win in the second round of the consolation bracket, downing Justin Westphal, of Baca County, with a pin. The victory put him two wins away from the consolation final and third place.
Soroco senior Lauryn Bruggink, at 106 pounds, won the second state match of her career, dismantling Cameron Grossnickle, of Lyons, 12-4, in the first round of the consolation bracket. She was pinned in the second round against Brandon Grasmick, of Fowler, ending what was a pioneering high school wrestling career.
She qualified for the big tournament three times and, as a sophomore, became the first girl to win a match at state.
“He’s a pretty good wrestler, and he’s a lot bigger than I am. I at least did better against him than I did last time,” Bruggink said about her final match. “I had fun with my last matches. This was a thrill. I got to come to state three times. A lot of people can’t even say they came once.”
Hayden freshman Kent Miller won his first consolation match at 113 pounds, negating his opponent’s 7-2 second-period lead by ending things with a pin. He subsequently was pinned himself in the second round.
Teammate Journey Vreeman, a sophomore, racked up a 7-3 win in the consolation bracket before falling from the tournament, 14-1.
Steamboat’s Nathan Parks also earned his first victory at the state tournament. He edged Hunter Milner, of Air Academy, 5-3 in a riveting overtime match. He was pinned in the second round of his next match, however.
Soroco’s Tristan Palyo couldn’t follow up on the huge win he recorded in Thursday’s championship first round. He hung in matches against his quarterfinal opponent, Beiriger, and his consolation bracket foe, Weston Rasmussen, of Norwood, but fell far behind late in both matches.
“I put all I could out on the mat. I might have made a mistake here or there, but I don’t have any regrets,” Palyo said. “I tried my best. That’s all I can do.”
Hayden’s Kaiden Decker, meanwhile, lost his only match of the day, falling 10-1.
“He may have gone 0-2 this weekend, but I’ve never seen him wrestle better,” Jones said. “I was really proud of Kaiden.”