DENVER — The second day of the wrestling state championships, a day that began with such promise, was unkind to a pair of talented Silver Creek senior wrestlers.
The Raptors' Jacob Williams qualified for state last season but couldn't wrestle because he had impetigo. After being denied his shot in 2016, Williams came back with a fury and wrestled his way to the Class 4A 285-pound semifinals.
Unfortunately for Williams, his long-awaited semifinal appearance ended with a pin at the hands of Pueblo East's Andy Garcia.
"He was right in the mix tonight and that's right where we thought he'd be," Silver Creek head coach John Finkbiner said. "He's a tough kid, he just didn't wrestle his best match tonight. He got caught in an over-under and it is what it is."
After winning convincing decisions in the first round and quarterfinals, Williams (20-4) slipped up against the crafty Eagles freshman and was pinned in 1 minute, 43 seconds. His senior teammate Sawyer Novara (41-5) lost his first round match in a 120-pound bracket that placed three former state champions between him and a state title.
Novara rebounded well from his loss, winning his consolation first-round match but then lost a 6-3 decision to Pueblo West's Nick Wilson on Friday and was eliminated from the tournament.
"For Sawyer, he put in as much work as I've ever seen a kid put in at the high school level," Finkbiner said. "He's been wrestling year-round. You know, it sucks. There's no other way to put it. I feel for him right now. But Jake's still in it and you've got to battle back. He hasn't lost a lot but he's got to put that behind him and battle back tomorrow."
Friday was a rough day for a number of St. Vrain Valley School District wrestlers.
The St. Vrain Valley School District qualified an impressive eight wrestlers for the state quarterfinals - two from Longmont, two from Erie, and one each from Mead, Lyons, Niwot and Silver Creek. Of those eight, Longmont 152-pounder Nathan Morris and Niwot 145-pounder Tommy Stager won their 4A semifinals matches and reached the state championship match. Lyons Junior Keegan Bean advanced to the 2A 182-pound final.
Longmont sophomore Drake Engelking lost 1-0 in the 152-pound semifinals to Cheyenne Mountain's Zac Baker.
At 138 pounds, Erie's Ernie Quintana lost a 10-2 major decision to undefeated Chris Sandoval of Windsor. Tigers teammate Nate Hackney lost a 3-1 decision to Alefosio Saipaia in the 285-pound semifinals.
Local state championship matches
Darren Green, Broomfield, Fr. (34-7) vs. Colton Yapoujian, Pomona, So. (37-4)
Tommy Stager, Niwot, Sr. (44-2) vs. Elijah Valdez, Mesa Ridge, Jr. (45-2)
Nathan Morris, Longmont, Sr. (40-5) vs. Hunter Willits, Pueblo County, Sr. (44-2)
Kolsen Welham, Holy Family, Sr. (36-4) vs. Hayden Johnson, Steamboat Springs, Jr. (36-7)
Keegan Bean, Lyons, Jr. (35-2) vs. Chase Rule, Meeker, Sr. (28-6)