DENVER — Vindication.
In wrestling circles you are ultimately judged by the number of wins and championships on the resume, but it's how you respond after the toughest of tough losses that define who you are.
Just ask Legacy's Ryan Deakin.
The Lightning senior missed out on a second state title last season, losing in the finals to Poudre's Jacob Greenwood, but on Saturday in the Class 5A finals at the Pepsi Center, Deakin made amends.
He thoroughly dismantled Denver East's David Kavanagh 7-0 and capped off a brilliant prep career — that featured 177 career wins — with a long awaited second championship.
"It was definitely good motivation and it was definitely good to come back here and end my high school career on a win," Deakin said.
Said Legacy coach Mike Thompson: "Ryan has always been a champion. He's going to work and learn from everything and the best thing I can say about Ryan, is that he is an all-around good kid."
Against Kavanagh, Deakin went right to work, scoring his first take down in the first thirty seconds of the match.
He would get all he needed in the second period, scoring his second takedown and then putting the Angels senior on his back that was rewarded with three back points.
"I had never seen (Kavanagh) before and I wasn't exactly sure who he was," said Deakin, who got a pre-match 'good luck' from Greenwood. "I knew he was a tough kid, he was in the state final."
In winning, Deakin — whose only two losses this season came out of state at the Walsh Nationals — becomes the schools first two-time state wrestling champion and it will be his work throughout every level of the program that will really define his ... legacy at Legacy.
"It's been great to be a part of it and it's been fun, I've enjoyed every minute of it," said Deakin, who will continue his wrestling career at Northwestern in the fall. "I'm just really thankful for all the people that helped me along the way."
Said Thompson: "He's one of those kids that I will remember 15 years down the road, simply because he's a good kid."
In the other championship match for the Lightning, senior Nolan Funk was beat 8-3 by Mountain Vista's Trenton Schultz.
With 1:30 to go in the match, it was 3-3 and in an attempt to score, Funk was caught off guard and sent to his back. It was a move that Thompson didn't frown upon, but rather applauded.
"He went after it and that is all you can ask for," said Thompson, whose team finished fifth with 86 points. "Kids go out there to compete and he goes out there to compete every time and he gave it all. He's still got a lot of good wrestling in him."