Brandon Yeager lost his first match on the final day of the 2014 state wrestling tournament and wasn’t interested in ending his career with another loss.
The Steamboat senior remained focused after third place slipped out of his reach and got a hard-fought win in the fifth place match Saturday at the Pepsi Center, finishing as the fifth-best 195-pound 4A wrestler in Colorado.
He beat Falcon’s Charlie Wallace, the No. 4 seed in the tournament, for the second time this weekend to earn fifth, having to do it in a different way than in their quarterfinal match.
“I was trying to do hammerlocks on him because that worked the first time,” Yeager said. “It wasn’t working this time so I just had to go back to wrestling him.”
Yeager got a late escape to take a 4-3 lead into the third period where he chose to start on the bottom and didn’t allow Wallace to score any points.
Yeager made the semifinals of the 4A bracket before losing to defending state champion Kyle Couch, of Mead, on Friday. He then lost a consolation semifinal match to Golden’s Ian Cheatum but recovered to take fifth, the best place left.
“I wouldn’t say I’m satisfied, but I’m plenty happy with it,” Yeager said. “I’m not ashamed at all of losing to a two-time state champion from Mead. Against the kid from Golden, I’ve wrestled him a couple times and knew what I needed to do but couldn’t execute it. I had to stay focused because I didn’t want to make it three losses.”
Soroco and Hayden each also had wrestlers place in the 2A tournament. Cody Constine and Taylor Lewis each got pins in their consolation semifinal matches to set up a chance for third place, but both lost and finished fourth.
Constine beat his regional final opponent, Anthony Emery, of Nucla, with a quick pin midway through the second period after another scoreless first.
“He knew what I was going to do but I caught him in the second,” Constine said. “I almost wasn’t ready for it.”
Lewis scored a fall on Jose Cisneros, of Sierra Grande, falling behind 4-2 in the first period but coming back with five points in the second period before pinning Cisneros with 30 seconds left.
“I made a mistake and knew I was going to have to come back,” he said. “I looked at my coaches and their eyes were telling me I had to go, so I got after him.”
Lewis was beaten 10-4 to Dolores’ Ethen Upton in the third place match, while Constine held a 3-2 lead late in his match with Theodore Zimmer, of Highland, but was taken down to lose 4-3.
Earlier in the day, Hayden’s Kent Miller and Soroco’s Nate Ragan lost their third-round consolation matches, missing out on placing by one match. Miller, a junior, was pinned by Merino’s Leon Johnson at 145 pounds while Ragan was pinned by Chase Flynn, of Stratton, in the last match of his career.
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or email@example.com.