Hayden High School senior Chad Terry pieced together deep runs in the Class 2A state wrestling tournament in each of his first three trips only to have his bids for a championship denied, often in simply cruel fashion.
Wrestling on Saturday in the championship final, he put on a show that brought the 15,000 fans packed into Denver’s Pepsi Center to their feet, strangers who may not even know where the town of Hayden is were screaming as the final seconds of the final period of Terry’s final match ticked away.
He won the crowd, but once again, Terry could not win a state championship. He lost a thrilling match and the 145-pound 2A championship to Jace Nordyke, a senior from Holly, 17-14.
“I went as hard as I possibly could,” Terry said.
Terry capped his career with a second-place medal, matching one he won as a freshman when he lost 1-0 in the final. He also had fourth- and sixth-place finishes in the tournament.
Some of those were painful in ways that seemed impossible to trump. Somehow that happened.
Fighting from the bottom and nearly pinned himself with 10 seconds remaining, Terry slipped out, ripped Nordyke by the arms and smashed his shoulder blades into the mat.
The move is a points bonanza and almost always good for a pin. The crowd erupted. The Hayden coach staff flew from their seats, arms in the air. Terry squeezed tighter and Nordyke kicked his legs with everything he had.
The referee, meanwhile, counted the final four seconds off the clock out loud, ruling there had been no pin and that the match was over.
“When I heard him counting, I knew I didn’t have him,” Terry said.
The first two sets of Saturday’s final were crazy by themselves. Terry grabbed momentum with a quick takedown, but the momentum was short lived. The pair exchanged moves, each rolling into trouble, giving up points, then rolling right back out to even the score again.
Nordyke grabbed an 8-6 lead, then expanded on it, adding five crucial points with a throw and a near fall. He eventually went up 15-7 before Terry could roar back.
Roar he did, climbing to 17-12 and setting the stage for the stirring finish.
At 31 points, the match was the highest scoring of the night, with Terry scoring more in that six minutes than he had through the entire weekend.
“It was just a great match, back and forth, back and forth,” coach Chad Jones said. “You have to give the other kid credit, too, but I couldn’t be more proud of Chad.”
Terry left his pride on the mat when he gave up a big lead in the last seconds of the state semifinal when he was a sophomore. He left his heart on the mat when he lost in the semifinals a year later while wrestling with a dislocated shoulder. Saturday, when time expired on Terry and the wildest match of the weekend, there was nothing left to give.
“At least when I wake up in the morning,” he said, sighing, pausing, “I’ll know I left it all there. I left everything I had on that mat.”
Tigers rack up medals
Nick Williams said his brother was part of the inspiration. Well, beating his brother was, anyway. Koleman Williams placed sixth at state in 2010 as a senior. Nick Williams lost in the state quarterfinals Friday but laid waste to his competition in the first two rounds of the consolation bracket Saturday. He pinned those opponents, and although his progress finally was stopped as he wrestled for third place, Nick Williams said he was happy.
He lost to Adrian Lopez, of Paonia, to finish fourth.
“I didn’t want to come home without a medal,” he said. “I’ve been here enough times and didn’t have one, and taking last year off was hard. It was kind of depressing losing that last match, but fourth is better than nothing.”
Ryan Domson, at 182 pounds, also finished fourth, winning once Saturday as he tried to reconcile Friday night’s state semifinal loss.
Domson pinned Chance Johnson, of Dove Creek, but lost, 10-1 to Terrell Stafford, of Baca County, in the consolation finals to finish fourth.
“Little things cost him, but he did wrestle very hard,” Jones said.
Junior T-Lane Mazzola struggled even more to get past a semifinal loss from Friday. He said he felt out of character wrestling Saturday, and the results showed. He lost a 10-4 decision to Ramon Tarin, of Wray, then 8-2 to Andrew Valdez, of Swink, to finish sixth.
“That match (Friday) got me down a bit, and (Saturday) I was just wrestling not to lose,” he said. “I’m going to be on a mission next year.”
Hayden senior Chad Terry at state wrestling finals
Watch the last 30 seconds of Chad Terry's 145-pound finals match as he comes close to earning a pin.