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Legacy 152-pounder Jesse Carlson, right, looks to the referee for the pin signal in his bout against Fountain-Fort Carson's Anthony Martin Walker on Thursday at the state wrestling tournament.
MARK LEFFINGWELL
Legacy 152-pounder Jesse Carlson, right, looks to the referee for the pin signal in his bout against Fountain-Fort Carson’s Anthony Martin Walker on Thursday at the state wrestling tournament.

DENVER — After his opening match of Thursday, David Hebel walked into a Pepsi Center tunnel, slunk to the floor and hung his head. It was all the 195-pound could do.

The Lightning senior arguably made all the right moves in his opening match of the Class 5A state wrestling tournament.

He had Brandon Tribble on the defensive, pushing the second-seeded wrestler into overtime. But the one thing Hebel could not avoid, was the Pine Creek wrestler’s relentless push for his left leg. And with 14 seconds left in the match, Tribble sealed a 9-4 win catching a single leg and rolling into a pin move for the decision.

“He just caught me and that was it,” Hebel said. “He got his hands on me and was strong. There was not much I could do.”

Hebel was far from the only Lightning who saw his hopes dashed in the opening round of the tournament. Of the team’s six qualifiers, only one advanced in the championship brackets.

Legacy’s Jesse Carlson came up with a pin against Fountain-Fort Carson’s 152-pounder, beating Anthony Martin-Walker in 5:48. The defending state champion’s win was far from enough to keep his team in the hunt for the squad title.

Pine Creek exited the opening round the top team with 22.5 points. Legacy finished tied for 26th with four points.

“We had tough draws all around,” Legacy coach Mike Thompson said. “I think we faced two second seeds and a third or fourth seed today. We have a lot of wrestling to do for the rest of the tournament.”

Legacy entered the evening shorthanded, with Connor Casady forfeiting due to illness. Of the healthy wrestlers, there were some close matches.

Collin Randall came back form a five-point deficit at the end of the second, but from there Legacy’s 132-pounder could not find a way to close his match. Erik Gaytan won a 7-4 decision, with the Chatfield wrestler moving deftly enough in the third to deny Randall his decisive points.

Legacy’s other matches were tougher to gut.

Jeremy Garner never found his rhythm against Brendan Vinyard, with the Legend 182-pounder coming up with an 11-4 decision. And Skylar McWee lost in the opening round of the 220-pound weight class when Grand Junction’s Thomas Holman pinned him at 4:55 in the match.

“They went out and wrestled hard,” Thompson said. “This is just a tough tournament.”

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