Denver After his attacks had been stifled for an entire two minutes and he found himself in a tie entering the final period, Soroco senior Cody Constine remained calm.
The 195-pound wrestler had found a game opponent in Wiggins senior Steven Leon at the 2A state wrestling tournament in Denver. Through two periods, neither wrestler was able to score. But starting out on the bottom in the third period, Constine was where he wanted to be.
“I’m usually very defensive on my feet,” Constine said after the match about his low aggression in the first period. “I just worked on him. Then in the second, he was good defending against the half — that’s what I was trying to work on him. Bottom is definitely my best position, so I took my chance and beat him.”
After two scoreless periods, Constine shot out from the bottom, scoring a reversal and a pin 29 seconds into the third. As a result, he advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2A state tournament and will take on Tyler Kimble, of Limon, on Friday.
“It’s going to be the same kind of plan" Friday, Constine said.
Constine’s win was half of a great first day at state for Soroco. Rams senior Nate Ragan also picked up a win in the first round, scoring a reversal in the third period to earn a 4-3 win and make Soroco 2-0 on the day.
Ragan led, 1-0, after two rounds but gave up a reversal in the third to fall behind. The senior remained calm, though, getting a point on a fleeing the mat violation to tie and a reversal to take the lead. After surrendering an escape, Ragan defended each of opponent Andrew Vigil’s shots to secure the win.
Hayden had four wrestlers competing in the 2A brackets Thursday and didn’t have as much success in terms of wins. Junior Taylor Lewis’ first-round pin was the Tigers’ only good result of the day, while others represented themselves well against top competition.
Journey Vreeman took a 10-4 loss to second-seeded Juan Fraire in the first round of the 160-pound bracket. He was able to get escape points throughout the match but couldn’t get the takedown points to earn a win.
Kent Miller (145 pounds) and Hunter Rummel (220 pounds) were pinned in their first-round losses against the No. 5 and No. 4 seeds, respectively, in their weights.
But Lewis looked dominant in his win against Ricky Preciado despite having to wait longer to wrestle than he preferred.
“I knew I had to come out fired up,” Lewis said. “I sometimes have trouble waiting all day but couldn’t let that affect me today. It felt like I could control him easily, like he didn’t do much to stop me.”
During Thursday evening’s 4A and 5A wrestling, one Sailor also was able to move into the quarterfinals by way of pin. Brandon Yeager survived an early scare to keep his title hopes alive with a pin of Thompson Valley’s Patton Graff.
Graff caught Yeager while the Steamboat senior was trying to create offense and had him on his back. But Yeager was able to get out of the potential pin and get a reversal to make it 4-2.
“He caught me off balance, and luckily I was able to defend it off my back,” he said. “It’s all mental when you’re thrown on your back like that. You have to decide whether to give up or fight.”
Yeager would take an 8-4 lead through takedowns and near falls the rest of way before pinning Graff with a minute left in the match. He called Graff’s catching him a “wake-up call” to the high level of wrestlers throughout the state tournament brackets.
The Sailors’ other two wrestlers ran into some of those tough competitors Thursday. In the 113-pound bracket, Dakota Thvedt was pinned by Procopio Valdez, of Mesa Ridge. Thvedt trailed just 2-0 after a period but gave up a reversal to start the second and was pinned in the third period.
Cole Sittig wrestled in the heavyweight bracket for the Sailors, taking on fourth-seeded Jacob Robles, of Pueblo East. Sittig was pinned in the first round and will battle in the consolation bracket Friday.
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.