Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
STATE WRESTLING SCHEDULE
At Pepsi Center
3 p.m. — Class 3A and 2A preliminaries
7:15 p.m. — Class 5A and 4A preliminaries
9:30 a.m. — Class 3A and 2A quarterfinals (followed by first round of consolations)
12:45 p.m. — Class 5A and 4A quarterfinals (followed by first round of consolations)
5:30 p.m. — Class 3A and 2A second round consolations
7:15 p.m. — Semifinals in all classifications (two mats will have 5A and 4A second round consolations)
10 a.m. — Class 3A and 2A third round consolations (followed by consolation semifinals)
Noon — Class 5A and 4A third round consolations (followed by consolation semifinals)
2 p.m. — Class 3A and 2A fifth-place matches (followed by third-place matches)
2:30 p.m. — Class 5A and 4A fifth-place matches (followed by third-place matches)
6:30 p.m. — Parade of Champions
LYONS — Linn Long has forgotten more wrestling than most of us have seen.
“He’s the man, the myth and the legend,” Niwot coach Bobby Matthews said.
The man — easily recognizable in his trademark black Stetson hat and folding lawn chair — has given so much to the sport that made him who he is and with a sharp eye and willing mind, shows no sign of letting up any time soon.
After a Hall of Fame career at the University of Colorado, both as a wrestler and a coach, Long is in his 20th season as an assistant at Lyons — Leister Bowling Sr. brought him on two decades ago. This weekend he heads to state with two Lions wrestlers and the vision of helping his former protege and current coach Brandon Lohr revive the program to its glory years.
“He’s a huge part of the program and I would be lost without him,” said Lohr, who will take a third — Keegan Bean (182 pounds) and Aaron Vasquez (285) — of his six total wrestlers to the Pepsi Center. “I learn a lot from him still, because he just knows so much.
“I can teach what I know, but he goes way beyond that.”
Bean is Long’s latest pupil and the junior has benefitted from his sage advice since he got a late start and introduction to the sport in the eighth grade.
And much like most grapplers who come out for the sport, Bean had the physical gifts. It was up to Long to mold what he says makes up 98 percent of a wrestlers success — between the ears.
“If they are real coordinated and athletically gifted, then it takes a hard mental discipline and a certain amount of natural ability and then you have something to go with,” said Long, who coached the Buffs to a fourth place finish in the NCAA tournament in 1964.
This past weekend at the Class 2A regional tournament in Sterling, Long saw something in Bean’s finals opponent, Yuma’s Austin Newbery.
After a few quick mental notes, he told Bean, “to watch the leg drop and go for a cross-face cradle out of the drop. I did exactly that and that is how the pin happened in the first period,” Bean said.
Fresh off a regional title, Bean, who came up a match short of placing last year, would love nothing more than to make a run for the podium. His quest will begin on Thursday morning against Centennial/Sierra Grande’s Trent Toland.
Bean, who comes into state with a 32-2 record, has used last year’s near miss as a motivating factor this season.
“I know I was good enough (to be on the podium) last year and it has been another year of hard work and trying to get there,” he said.
Said Long, who was thrilled to be Leister Bowling III’s corner when he won his third state title in 2000: “I’m really hoping that Keegan is dealing a hot hand and comes to play with a very hard and disciplined mental attitude.”
And Long won’t just be rooting for the his Lyons kids. After the floods in 2013 all but shut down the town, the Lions came down the hill and were welcomed to train at and with Skyline.
It was there that Long met the Contreras brothers, Jesus and Uriel. It has been mutually beneficial for both since.
“He has been a coach to me and helped me get better. He has been a role model and a father figure and he taught me that hard work will pay off,’ said Uriel Contreras, who will begin his journey for the 4A podium at 126 pounds against Greeley Central Andrew Alirez (45-1). “I feel like I’m lucky because of his experience. I am lucky to be coached by Coach Linn, because a lot of people don’t have the opportunity I have.”
Long has praised Lohr for his dedication to helping the program return to dominance. Lohr has been instrumental in starting up the age group programs at the lower levels.
It is something that Long would love to be a part of.
“If I’m lucky and nobody runs into me, I hope to be there too,” said Long, who is still taking things in from his students as well. “I learned a few things today in practice that the middle school kids taught me. I figure that the day I didn’t pick up something somewhere, I better think about staying home.”
The state tournament starts today at 3 p.m with the Class 3A and 2A first rounds. The 5A and 4A will start at 7:15 p.m. The three day event will conclude on Saturday evening with the Parade of Champions set to go off at 6:30 p.m.
Jon Yunt: email@example.com or twitter.com/JonEYunt
BOCO STATE QUALIFIERS
182 — Liam Henderson, Sr. (27-7) vs. Jayden Woodruff, Ponderosa, Jr. (18-2)
106 — Presley Madril, So. (21-5) vs. Grant Bradley, Overland, Fr. (28-4)
120 — Darren Green, Fr. (31-7) vs. Octavio Lopez, Aurora Central, Jr. (13-10)
152 — Preston Renner, Jr. (36-9) vs. Grady Colgan, Grandview, Jr. (28-11)
285 — Mason Watt, Jr. (20-3) vs. Micklaus Garcia, Mountain Range, Sr. (9-11)
145 — Atiba Obika, Sr. (25-13) vs. Josiah Rider, Grand Junction, Jr. (34-1)
132 — Skyler Calderoni, Sr. (15-8) vs. David Rivera, Cherokee Trail, So. (27-12)
195 — Duncan Heath, Sr. (35-9) vs. Doug Miller, Pomona, Jr. (29-11)
113 — Keegan Hoffman, So. (3-3) vs. Stephen Debalko, Coronado, Sr. (34-1)
126 — Joey Joiner, Fr. (31-13) vs. Polo Garcia, Denver East, Sr. (27-6)
132 — Mitch Mueller, Sr. (33-13) vs. Gunnar Anderson, Rocky Mountain, Sr. (22-5)
138 — Dakota Key, Fr. (16-11) vs. Joshua Deaguero, Adams City, Fr. (39-10)
145 — Aaron Otterson, Sr. (27-10) vs. Xander Rens, Monarch, So. (32-7)
160 — Aidan Funk, Jr. (35-7) vs. Matt Maguire, Rocky Mountain, Sr. (23-11)
170 — Drian Hays, Jr. (41-3) vs. Elijah Olson, Arvada West, Fr. (19-18)
182 — Brandon Willis, Jr. (14-13) vs. Jack Huber, ThunderRidge, Sr. (36-5)
106 — Zach Hacker, So. (25-13) vs. Malik Heinselman, Castle View, Jr. (40-0)
113 — Aidan Quinn, So. (11-9) vs. Noah Vigil, Adams City, Jr. (23-7)
120 — Alex Scott, Jr. (9-3) vs. Dessmund Prospero, Brighton, Sr. (32-7)
126 — Cole Polluconi, Jr. (32-7) vs. Brandon Urroz, Heritage, Jr. (28-16)
138 — Parker McQuade, Jr. (29-8) vs. Sergio Chavez, Hinkley, Sr. (24-5)
145 — Xander Rens, So. (32-7) vs. Aaron Otterson, Legacy, Sr. (27-10)
182 — Keegan Feenstra, So. (24-10) vs. Nathen Meyer, Fossil Ridge, Jr. (30-6)
220 — Evan Williams, Sr. (21-15) vs. Ian Helwick, Brighton, Jr. (37-5)
120 — Adam Evertz, Sr. (35-15) vs. Cole Stephenson, Lewis-Palmer, Fr. (26-14)
126 — Sean-Tyler Currell, Sr. (24-16) vs. Jason Hanenberg, Air Academy, Jr. (40-2)
132 — Adrian Rincon, Sr. (31-16) vs. Zeke Alirez, Greeley Central, Jr. (25-5)
138 — Ernie Quintana, Sr. (40-11) vs. Jordan Jackson, Northridge, Sr. (31-11)
182 — Zach Roper, Sr. (34-11) vs. Charlie Cook, Lewis-Palmer, So. (20-15)
285 — Nate Hackney, So. (22-17) vs. Ricky Childers, Skyline, So. (30-14)
195 — Jake Longstreth, Sr. (36-9) vs. Phillip Flores, Pueblo South, Jr. (7-21)
152 — Nathan Morris, Sr. (37-5) vs. Jackson Gilbert, Mountain View, Jr. (18-13)
160 — Drake Engelking, So. (20-1) vs. Jack Roy, Discovery Canyon, Sr. (22-6)
132 — Jeremy Ashton, Jr. (29-3) vs. Angelo Vecchiarelli, Wheat Ridge, Jr. (23-9)
152 — Caleb Mendez, Sr. (36-5) vs. Bailey McBride, Canon City, Jr. (34-12)
160 — Gino Musick, Sr. (14-17) vs. Isaac Maestas, Palisade, Sr. (19-4)
170 — Brennan McDermitt, Sr. (22-9) vs. Elias Manzanares, Pueblo South, Sr. (29-11)
182 — Joey Garcia, Sr. (23-15) vs. Myles Wilson, Glenwood Springs, Sr. (47-0)
220 — Derrick Allen, Sr. (20-18) vs. Weston Hunt, Pueblo West, Sr. (34-4)
145 — Tommy Stager, Sr. (41-2) vs. Payton Polson, Valor Christian, So. (32-8)
285 — Jose Lopez, Jr. (20-19) vs. Jeff Flippen, Vista Ridge, Jr. (8-4)
120 — Sawyer Novara, Sr. (40-3) vs. Fabian Lujan, Montrose, So. (33-9)
285 — Jacob Williams, Jr. (18-3) vs. Jeff Allen, Pueblo West, Jr. (16-20)
113 — Jose Perez, Fr. (29-16) vs. Josh Nira, Greeley Central, Jr. (40-5)
126 — Uriel Contreras, Sr. (38-4) vs. Andrew Alirez, Greeley Central, So. (45-1)
220 — Alex Ortiz, Jr. (38-4) vs. Brennen Baker, Golden, Sr. (29-14)
285 — Ricky Childers, So. (30-14) vs. Nate Hackney, Erie, So. (22-17)
138 — Hunter Branson, Fr. (23-10) vs. Tate Hinger, Pagosa Springs, Jr. (28-7)
160 — Kolsen Welham, Sr. (33-4) vs. Denver Hargrove, Buena Vista, Sr. (27-11)
285 — Andrew Edwards, Jr. (16-19) vs. Ricky Ayala, Sheridan, Sr., (20-5)
182 — Keegan Bean, Jr. (32-2) vs. Trent Toland, Centennial/Sierra Grande, Sr. (10-10)
285 — Aaron Vasquez, Sr. (7-8) vs. Garrett Gribble, Fowler, Sr. (9-2)