Two Chaffee County wrestlers brought home the gold from the state wrestling championship tournament, held February 21-23 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
152 pound Sophomore John Lopez from Buena Vista, and 195 pound Spartan Thane Smith, who went undefeated on the season, capped their seasons with championships. It was Smith's third trip to the championships, and first title. Lopez finished his championship season with a 34-4 overall record.
In all, the Buena Vista Demons sent eight wrestlers to state, with three, including Lopez, winning medals. Demon freshman Keegan Wentz, at 170 pounds, won his final match to place fifth, and senior Koby Close, 182 pounds, placed fourth. Five Spartan wrestlers represented their school in Denver, with two returning with medals; Smith's championship, and 138 pound Senior Brandon Coleman, who won a fifth-place medal.
Lopez's match was a hard-fought, close battle, with no points scored until the third period, and the wrestlers tied 2-2 at the end of regulation. Lopez scored late in the first overtime to gain the 4-2 victory. Spartan Thane Smith pinned his Alamosa counterpart at the 1:23 mark of the first period.
Congradulations to Chaffee County wrestlers Thane Smith and John Lopez, high school state wrestling champions.