DENVER - Motivated as he is this season, Erie's Adam Evertz is having a hard time withholding his maximum effort in just about every little thing he does.
He really can't help it, nor does the Tigers 113-pounder really notice it, though it's pretty noticeable to everyone else how badly the Tigers senior wants to go out with a Class 4A state title.
On Day 1 of the state championships at the Pepsi Center on Thursday, Evertz sprinted from the tunnel to check in at the scorer's table and then to the center of Mat 4.
Evertz finished his opening match of the 2017 tournament rather quickly, pinning Lewis-Palmer's Cole Stephenson in 1 minute, 36 seconds. Then he sprinted to shake hands with the opposing coaches, back to the scorer's table and then back into the depths of the Pepsi Center.
"I don't know what that was about, honestly, that's been my mentality and I think just got psyched up," Evertz said. "I want a state title and I'm just ready."
Evertz (36-15), who placed sixth in the same weight class last season, scored the only takedown of the match at the 1:18 mark of the first period and wore Stephenson down to register the pinfall victory.
"I knew that I needed to get a good start to this state tournament in order to achieve the things I've been working for all season," Evertz said. "So I just went out in the match and that's what I did. I just took it to him."
Tigers 138-pounder Ernie Quintana also got off to a strong start on Thursday, winning a 7-0 decision over Northridge's Jordan Jackson in the first round.
Ashton locks in just in time
Mead's Jeremy Ashton reached the 4A 126-pound championship match as a sophomore last season and has been waiting eagerly for another shot at a title. His potential for another run to the title match appeared to be in jeopardy in his first match on Thursday.
Facing Angelo Vecchiarelli, Ashton found himself tied with the Wheat Ridge junior, 5-5 after the first period. But after taking a minute to re-center himself, he outscored Vecchiarelli 10-0 in the second period and finished off the win with a 21-5 technical fall.
"Jeremy just stayed after it and kept his composure," Mavericks head coach Ty Tatham said. "Those close ones are great to start a tournament because they get your mind sharp, get you focused in the right directions and all dialed in. They give you that tunnel vision."
From forgotten to favorite
Lyons' junior Keegan Bean (33-2) did not place last season. This season, he has wrestled his way onto the short list of guys who are favored to place in the top three, and potentially compete for a state title.
In his first match of the 2017 state tournament, Bean showed why people are so high on him with a 50-second pin of Centennial/Sierra Grande's Trent Toland.
Frederick's Jake Longstreth has developed a reputation for pinning his opponent, and it's well-deserved. That go-for-broke approach has served the Warriors senior well for most of the season.
In the first round of the state tournament on Thursday, Longstreth pinned Pueblo South's Philip Flores in 34 seconds to advance to the championship quarterfinals.
Longmont looks good
Even with just two wrestlers in the field, the Trojans have incredibly high expectations for the 2017 state championships. Those expectations remain as high as ever after the first round.
At 152 pounds, senior Nathan Morris won a major decision over Mountain View's Jackson Gilbert. In the 160-pound bracket, sophomore Drake Engelking pinned Discovery Canyon's Jack Roy in 3:02.
Stager staying the course
With his sights still set on becoming Niwot's first state champion since 1993, senior Tommy Stager didn't waste any time getting his first state tournament match in 2017 out of the way. He pinned Valor Christian's Payton Polson in 1:24.
Coyotes send three to quarters
Monarch coach Ezra Paddock, and his ever growing program brought eight wrestlers to the state tournament with extremely high expectations.
On Thursday night's preliminary rounds, the Coyotes advanced three into Friday's 5A quarterfinals.
Junior Cole Polluconi, who wrestled at 132 pounds for most of the season, dropped down to 126 for the regional and state tournament.He scored a 10-0 major decision of Heritage's Brandon Urroz.
Just moments later at 138 pounds, Parker McQuade went the distance with Hinkley's Sergio Chavez for a 4-2 victory. Sophomore Xander Rens, eager to make amends for last years disappointing state showing, ousted Legacy's Aaron Otterson via second period pinfall.
Legacy's Funk and Hays roll
In addition to an impressive win by Legacy's Joey Joiner earlier in the night, coach Mike Thompson's big two horses rolled in their first round 5A matches.
Aidan Funk, whose brother Nolan was a state runner-up last season, went the full six minutes with Rocky Mountain's Matt Maguire and scored a 5-2 victory.
Hays, who came in sporting a nifty 41-3 season record, made quick work of Arvada West freshman Elijah Olson with a first period pin.
Flawless Eagles night
Broomfield coach Pat DeCamillis is used to bringing some large contingents to the state tournament, but this year he has just four in the 5A field.
But they are four that could make a lot of noise.
"We only brought four down here, but we brought four who can place," said DeCamillis, whose team went 4-for-4 on Thursday night.
In addition to freshman Darren Green at 120 pounds, Presley Madril (106), Preston Renner (152), and No. 2 ranked 285-pounder Mason Watt all rolled.
Watt pinned Mountain Range's Micklaus Garcia in just 40 seconds.
Heath moves on
In arguably one of the toughest weight classes in the state, Fairview's Duncan Heath kept his hat in the ring.
The Fairview senior 195-pounder moved on with a 7-3 decision of Pomona's Doug Miller in 5A action. He will meet a fellow Front Range League foe, Cole Yung of Poudre, in the quarterfinals. Despite being in the same league, the two have not faced each other this season.
Senior Skyler Calderoni was pinned by Cherokee Trail's David Rivera at 4:51.
Henderson and Obika ousted early
Both Boulder and Centaurus's lone representatives were sent to the consolation side of the 5A bracket.
Boulder senior Liam Henderson lost by tech fall to Ponderosa's Jayden Woodruff and the Warriors' Atiba Obika was pinned in 30 second by Grand Junction state champion Josiah Rider.