The Durango High School wrestling trio that made the trip to the CHSAA Class 4A Wrestling State Championships is off to a solid start after Day 1 on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Daniel Gustavson and Nick Tarpley picked up victories in their opening matches, while Matthew Lavengood fell to state contender Rylen Thalhammer of Palmer Ridge in his opening match.
Gustavson wasted very little time moving on to the next round. He pinned Jorge Cortez of Mead in 1 minute, 55 seconds to advance in the 220-pound bracket.
The DHS junior will face Evan Lancelot of Pueblo Central today with a berth in the state semifinals on the line.
Tarpley, meanwhile, had to grind it out a bit more than his teammate before eventually prevailing 3-2 over Broomfield junior Jarod Albo.
Up next for Tarpley, who’s lost just four times all year against 39 victories, is Windsor junior Kennen Lanteri, who enters this battle of state title contenders at 44-7 overall.
Lavengood, meanwhile, ran into a capable opponent in Thalhammer, who moved his record to 38-6 this season by pinning the DHS junior in 3 minutes, 58 seconds.
Lavengood, now 29-12, will open Day 2 against Brandon Rivas of Greeley Central, who fell 9-4 in his opening bout and is 33-14 this season. Lavengood will try to wrestle his way back for a third-place finish, starting with Rivas. Another loss in any of his next three matches would end his state tournament.
Windsor leads the 4A tournament after Day 1 with 34 points; Durango’s three wrestlers scored six points.