Norwood pair easily advance in Class 2A

Ty Sickels of Nucla pins Amos Abeyta of Antonito in the 2A 135lb.

DENVER — Two defending champions started their path to repeat performances Thursday in the Class 2A state wrestling championships.

Norwood seniors Hugh Hardman and Stryker Lane are two-time defending champions and proved their dominance with first-round victories.

Hardman won at 140 pounds with a pin in 1 minute, 56 seconds over T.J. Hernandez of Crowley County, and Lane won at 215 pounds with a pin in 54 seconds over Marcos Diaz of Sargent. 

Hardman said the first match sets up the rest of the tournament.

“The first day is the most important day,” Hardman said. “After being here before, I know the routine for the rest of the tournament.”

Lane talked about what he wanted to accomplish in the first match.

“I like to go out and try to get the solid win,” Lane said, “get the ball rolling and have some momentum.”

Norwood coach Dirk Hardman felt the same way, talking to his wrestlers about how to go about their business on Day 1.

“First day I like them to relax, because the nerves can get to them to a little bit,” Coach Hardman said. “If they don’t relax, it shows.”

The Norwood coach looks to his two seniors to help the other wrestlers during state. Both wrestlers are willing and able to be there for their teammates.

“I just ask Hugh and Styker, they have been there before, they know what they have to do,” he said. “They lay it out to the other kids.”

Both are leaders of the team, but they have different styles in how they wrestle.

“Stryker, he is a dominator and you are not going to score on him,” Hardman said. “Hugh likes to mix it up and keep the match interesting. Both are really good styles.”

Hardman and Lane will be moving on to Division I wrestling next year. Hardman is going to the University of Northern Colorado and Lane is going to Cornell.

Paonia took the first-day lead in the team race with 25.5 points. Rangely is the next closest local school, tied for fourth with 20 points.

Paonia coach Andy Pipher said his team did well, but the first day could have been better.

“We won some that we should have and lost some that we shouldn’t have,” Pipher said. “Good round overall, the people who lost need to pick up their heads, while the ones in the front we hope keep on winning.”

The big match of the day was at 103 pounds, where Lauryn Bruggink of Soroco wrestled to become the first girl to win a match at state. She ended up losing to Steven Velasquez of Center by pin in 1:11. Bruggink, only a freshman, has a consolation match today and could
become a regular at the state tournament.

Other key matches included Ty Sickels of Nucla, another defending champ, at 135 pounds. Sickels pinned Amos Abeyta of Antonito in 3:24. Justin Iacovetto from Paonia (119 pounds) improved his record to 21-0 with a pin of Brandon Teeter of Calhan in only 52 seconds.


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