DENVER — The state title that slipped through Darren Green's fingers over the past two seasons is securely in his grasp now.
All that weight and pressure is gone — "for a good month," the Broomfield junior smiled.
Green scored a go-ahead takedown late in the Class 4A 138-pound finals on Saturday night at the Pepsi Center and held on to beat Pueblo East's Aaden Valdez for his first state title. Later, his teammate Tyler Carpenter took second after taking undefeated Andy Garcia to the limit in a 4-3 loss.
For Green, he'd waited for this chance after finishing state second his freshman year and third last season. His takedown gave him a 3-1 lead in the final 30 seconds before Valdez cut it to 3-2 with an escape.
This one wasn't getting away.
"I was telling myself, '30 seconds of hard work'," he said. "'You're going to burn out your lungs and I know it's going to hurt, but you're going to be a state champion'."
He'll enjoy it. For a while, at least.
"It's been everything I've been working for since I was 4-years-old," Green said. "It's a good pressure off my shoulders for a good month, then it's back on the saddle."
The other Broomfield-area wrestlers in the finals were Legacy's Joey Joiner in 5A 145s and Carpenter. Their impressive runs ended just shy of gold.
Joiner was ranked ninth in win percentage in his bracket (32-12) coming into the tournament but quickly proved his merit among the best. He won by pin in his first two rounds and by decision in the semifinals to set the stage for a championship match against Regis Jesuit's Antonio Segura, who knocked off three-time champ Theorius Robison of Pomona Friday.
In it, Joiner came close to scoring a match-clinching takedown in the final seconds. Yet after a brief huddle from the officials, they ruled that Segura held on for the 3-2 win.
Then in 285s, Garcia stayed perfect and won his third straight title with a comeback win over Carpenter. The Broomfield junior, who came back from breaking his ankle six months ago and missed the first month of the season, gained notoriety on social media during the tournament with video of his six-second pin in the first round. It was the seventh-fastest pin in state history, according to CHSAA.
Carpenter also had pins of 69 and 17 seconds in the tournament.
"I'm really proud of what I did this year from rehabbing my ankle and then learning to trust it," Carpenter said. "Just coming back from it and coming here and doing what I did is mind-blowing to me."
Broomfield and Legacy also led the area in team points in Class 4A and 5A. The Eagles finished fourth in 4A and the Lightning tied for sixth in 5A.
Brent W. New: email@example.com and @brentwnew