DENVER — Lyons sophomore Christian Keller had work to do after the first period on Thursday afternoon, but an upset stomach was the first thing on his mind.
So much so that he threw up on the mat, forcing a slight delay to clean the mess.
"That was a first for me," Keller said.
Coming back from that, he scored a couple of reversals and went on to win his match by pin with two seconds to spare in the third period.
Keller was the first to win for Lyons on a busy first day of the Class 2A CHSAA state tournament at the Pepsi Center. Seven Lyons grapplers qualified for the tournament, five of whom were sophomores.
"I think we worked over the fall and spring really hard together," Lyons' Oran Huff said. "Logan (Odell), David (Gardner) and I were partners for all of that, and we made ourselves better through it all."
Huff won shortly after Keller with a pin in 18 seconds at 126 pounds. Making it three wins in a row was Odell with a win in the second period at 152 by pin. The final sophomore to compete was Gardner, who dropped a 6-4 decision in sudden victory at 145.
The sophomores started strong on their run at state and feel more confident coming into the Pepsi Center this year, according to Huff.
"The team as a whole is better this year," Huff said. "Last year, we had a good team, but not nearly to the level we're at this year. It's the same people, but we're all better."
Senior Konnor Mauck won by fall in the second period at 182 and junior Karson Bean won by fall in the first period at 195 to close out day one for Lyons. The Lions currently sit tied for second place with John Mall and Cedaredge in Class 2A team standings with 20 points. Wray, a heavy favorite to claim the team title, leads the field with 34.5 points.
A quality first day will see five wrestlers compete in the quarterfinals Friday morning and look to move one step closer to the state championship.
"We're just going to find some time to relax," Keller said. "We want to go into the quarterfinals and kick some butt."
Competing as the only area team in Class 3A were the Holy Family Tigers, as Hunter Branson (170) and Jacob Barry (285) were looking to represent their schools in the field, despite the low numbers.
"I think we both want to get Holy Family's name out there," Branson said. "We want to keep it out of the bad side... we're not rich, spoiled kids."
Branson, who said he's been battling flu-like symptoms this week, opened his run at 170 versus Randy Duran of Jefferson. A couple of takedowns and a reversal got him a big lead, helping him win by majority decision 10-2.
Barry's run at 285 started with a loss to Juan Doyle of Salida by pin in the second period. The 14-year-old freshman will look to bounce back in the consolation bracket Friday.