DENVER — Daniel Jansen figured it simply was time to follow the family heritage out to the wrestling mats.
For years, Jansen has calmly deflected the urgings of his father, a former wrestler at the State University of New York, to follow in his footsteps. This year, however, the Holy Family junior finally decided it was time to give his father’s favorite sport a shot. And on Thursday, Jansen wasted little time making a huge impact in his first state tournament.
Jansen recorded a pin in the opening round of the Class 3A 220-pound bracket, needing only 19 seconds to post the one-sided victory on a day that saw five of the Tigers’ seven state tournament entrants advance into Friday’s quarterfinal round.
“My thing was to just come out strong in the beginning, just to show that I was going to be aggressive and that I was in control of the match,” Jansen said. “He shot on me and went down, and I kind of got a good sprawl out on him and it was done. My dad wrestled in college and he’s always wanted me to do it. After football this year, I decided to go out for it.”
Perhaps more impressive than Holy Family’s five wins in seven bouts was the fact that all five Tigers grapplers recorded their victories via pins. That group included 113-pound freshman Julian Prieto, 120-pound freshman Joseph Prieto, 132-pound senior Daniel Carvalho, and 170-pound senior Kyle Spengler, who recorded an upset win against Rifle’s A.J. Cordova.
The pins landed Holy Family 20 team points, good for third place behind Alamosa (28.5) and Olathe (24.5) after the first day of competition.
“We just tried to prepare them this week, and all year really, to be in the best shape that they can be,” Holy Family coach Juan Lucero said. “We tried to correct little things this week. Like with Kyle, there was a little thing in his stance that cost him the regional title last week. We adjusted that, and it came in handy in that match. When the guy shot on him, he was able to down-block and re-shot on the guy. That’s exactly what we drilled with him all week.”
Carvalho, a senior who suffered a quick exit with two losses in his state tourney debut last year, overcame a scoreless first round in his bout against Trinidad senior Rico Olguin. Carvalho quickly turned things around in the second round, taking a 5-0 advantage before recording the pin at the 3:47 mark.
“The first round, I had him on his feet but wasn’t able to get the takedown. I kept missing my shots,” Carvalho said. “The first period I chose the bottom, so I knew I had a chance to turn him if I got my legs in tight. I thought I could get my points up and then go for the pin.”