Soroco High School senior Morgan rolls wrestling competition | SteamboatToday.com

Soroco High School senior Morgan rolls wrestling competition

Luke Graham

Soroco High School's Levi Gonzales, top, tries to pin Rangley's Brandon Gray during a wrestling match at a meet in Hayden on Friday.

Hayden — It's only natural for Soroco High School wrestler Dennis Morgan to be angry. — It's only natural for Soroco High School wrestler Dennis Morgan to be angry.

— It’s only natural for Soroco High School wrestler Dennis Morgan to be angry.

The senior missed most of his football season after a knee injury, forcing him to watch the Rams endure a tough season from the sidelines.

But now that the knee is healthy and Morgan is back on the mats, he’s using that anger to his advantage.

Morgan pinned both of his opponents during Friday’s tri-match – between Soroco, Hayden and Rangely – in the first round.

In the first match against Rangely, Morgan took 1 minute, 1 second to get the win. Then, against Hayden’s Russell Waugh, who was wrestling for the first time this season, Morgan took only 1:44 to get the pin.

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“It’s all about a state title,” said Morgan, who currently is ranked second by rockypreps.com at 189 pounds. The top-ranked wrestler – Byers’ Steven Turecek – beat Morgan in the state semifinals last year by two points. “I won’t be happy until I win a state title.

“If I work hard and get after it, I have a pretty good chance. But other people out there aren’t slackers, either. It’s all up to me,” he said.

Morgan paced a Soroco team that has three wrestlers with title hopes. Along with Morgan, fellow senior Levi Gonzales remained undefeated, as did junior Justin Iacovetto.

Although the Rams were only able to field five wrestlers, Soroco lost both head-to-head matchups with Rangely and Hayden.

While Hayden lost to Rangely because of forfeits at weight classes the team couldn’t field, the Tigers won the head-to-head matches on the night. Hayden went 5-4 against Rangely, including impressive pins by Mitch Doolin, Treyben Letlow and Coy Letlow.

“It was good,” Hayden coach Ty Zabel said. “We had an awesome week of practice and for a few of the boys, this was their first night.”

Now the real season begins for Soroco and Hayden. After three small tournaments, both teams head to West Grand today to see some of the better competition around the state.

“West Grand’s a big one and starts us off pretty good,” said Doolin, noting that Hayden hopes to send as many as seven wrestlers to state. “The first two are just little ones. This one’s pretty good and should let us know where we stand.”

After the West Grand tournament, both teams take off for Christmas break. Hayden and Soroco then return to the mats Jan. 5 in Paonia.