DENVER — First-round pins have served Will Hickman well this season.
So there wasn't any reason for the Longmont senior to deviate from his direct approach once the opening round of the state tournament finally arrived on Thursday. When it came time for Hickman to open his hopeful run to a 4A 126-pound state title, Hickman took a path to victory that was as quick as it was convincing.
Wasting no time and leaving no doubt about his status as a contender, the Trojans senior state title hopeful pinned Discovery Canyon sophomore Jared Turner in 32 seconds.
"Most of my wins this season have been first-period pins," Hickman said. "Almost all of them actually, except obviously for the three matches I lost. That's pretty much what I'm going for."
While he is a relative newcomer to the Longmont High wrestling room, Hickman is no stranger to the bright lights at the Pepsi Center. A three-time state qualifier for Lyons High School, Hickman transferred to Longmont after placing second in 2A at 120 pounds last season.
In his 4A state tournament debut, Hickman secured a front headlock with an under hook less than 10 seconds after the initial whistle. Once he had the hold, Hickman took Turner down to the mat and the pin was inevitable. Hickman's speed and aggression appeared to surprise the Discovery Canyon sophomore. Trojans assistant coach Jonny Brennan, who was seated mat-side to coach the match, wasn't surprised as at all.
"Will is doing the same thing he has done every match," Brennan said. "He's afraid of absolutely no one. He goes into every match full go, 100 percent. He doesn't worry about how the other kid is going to wrestle, he just wrestles his style."
With Thursday's win, Hickman improved to 21-3 on the season. Of the paltry three matches he has lost during the 2015-16 season, two have come at the hands of Greeley Central's Zeke Alirez (40-6). Hickman will face Alirez for a third time in the championship quarterfinals on Friday morning.
"I'm just going to go out and leave it all on the mat," Hickman said. "All I can do is wrestle the best that I can."
Thursday's opening round was a resounding success for all three Trojans wrestlers who qualified for state. In the 152-pound bracket, Trojans junior Nathan Morris (36-6) pinned Widefield's Tristan Sher (24-16) in 3:39. At 160 pounds, Trojans freshman Drake Engelking (24-2) won a 14-1 major decision over Vista Ridge's Kennth Bullock (40-9) in his state tournament debut.
With all three of their state qualifiers advancing to the championship bracket, the Trojans will be back in action when 4A championship quarterfinal round begins at 12:45 p.m. on Friday.