Soroco, Steamboat wrestlers look to end season with state titles
February 13, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Soroco's Jace Logan and Steamboat Springs’ Hayden Johnson know what it feels like to step onto the mat at the Pepsi Center in Denver for the championship match at the Colorado State High School Wrestling Championships.
Between the two of them, they have four championships appearances but no titles.
"I'm a two-time state runner-up," said Logan, a junior at Soroco High School in Oak Creek, who went 26-2 this season at 170 pounds. "I'm looking to change that this year. It's always been the goal to win state, and that in itself is enough to fuel the fire. Hopefully, the third time is the charm."
Johnson, a senior at Steamboat Springs High School, can relate to Logan.
"The main goal is to get back and get another shot," Johnson said. "I've been working hard this season, so a state title is the goal.”
Johnson, 29-3, has not lost a match at 160 pounds this winter — he started wrestling at 170 pounds. And even though he has made the finals the past two years, he isn't taking anything for granted. He said the key to finding success is taking it one match at a time. He will need three wins to make it to the finals and four to bring a title back to Steamboat.
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"Everything is on you," Johnson said of the tournament. "You have to go out and do what you can do to get as many points on the board as possible, and I haven't been able to do that the past two years. I've worked on it, and I’ve been looking to improve."
He said the first year he made it to the finals he was thrilled just to be there, but that changed last year.
"I have more of goal that I'm going out there with a purpose," he said. "But first of all I have to get there — so one match at a time."
For Logan, just making it to state is an accomplishment.
"Now, the focus is just going one match at a time and trying your best to beat the other guy," Logan said.
He added that it’s also important not to get overwhelmed by the atmosphere that surrounds the state championships.
"It's always striking when you go to the Pepsi Center the first couple of times." Logan said. "It is so much fun, and there are so many people, and it's such a big venue.
"It’s only four matches, so you have to keep it kind of simple," Logan explained. "Every match gets a little tougher. It weeds out the competition, and the cream rises to the top. You have to prepare for each opponent accordingly and just go give it your all."
Logan will open the tournament Thursday with a match against Preston Terrell (21-12), a sophomore from Centauri High School.
Johnson, who moved the Steamboat Springs from Minnesota as a sophomore, has made it to the Pepsi Center the past three years. He will take on Brush junior Jayde Queen (17-9) in the opening round.