After winning the Class 3A heavyweight title Saturday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Logan Church walked over to coaches Clayton Curtis and Luis Meza and asked which one he should lift up in celebration. Rather than choosing, he swept both coaches off the floor and gave them a big bear hug.
"It was kind of planned, kind of in the moment," said Church. "I'm just so grateful to them and everything they do for me. They're just the best coaches out there and I'm just thankful to have them."
Church had a lot to celebrate. He ends his senior year with a perfect 35-0 record. "It feels great," said Church.
If Delta has ever produced an undefeated state champion, it was a long time ago. "Not in the last 15 years, that's for sure," said head coach Curtis.
Church was one of three wrestlers in the state, and the only Class 3A wrestler, to score 30 points by winning all four matches by fall. Over the three-day tournament Church wrestled a total of 7 minutes, 17 seconds. In the championship match he pinned his final opponent, Preston Duran of Alamosa, in 2:22.
"I didn't really have a match that pushed the pace for me," said Church.
A year earlier, Church lost the championship match by a 3-2 decision. This season all goes back to that match, said Church. "That's my motivation every day."
Church signed last fall to wrestle for Western State Colorado University at Gunnison. After he won the Warrior Classic title, Curtis called him "a true wrestler."
"Everybody wants to be great," said Curtis, as the final scores and team winners were being announced at the Pepsi Center. "But there's not too many willing to put in the time." Even while wrestling on junior varsity, "He definitely put in the time, every year."
Curtis said he hopes the younger wrestlers learned from him about what it takes to be a state champion. "I can tell them how to do it, but sometimes it takes seeing someone actually go through the process."
Curtis won three state titles wrestling for Alamosa under head coach Gary Ramstetter, whose team won two individual titles and scored 164 points to win the Class 3A team title. "He's the greatest coach," said Curtis. "I'm sure a lot of wrestlers feel that way about their own coach, but he knows how to produce state champions and state championship teams."
Delta scored 42 points to place 14th out of 43 teams. Senior Drake Horn placed sixth at 160 pounds. It wasn't what he'd hoped for, said Curtis of Horn, who ends the season at 31-11. But he defeated a tough Alamosa wrestler, 3-2, to get into the placing rounds. "That was awesome, to see him place and find all of his hard work finally paying off," said Curtis.
Sophomore Gauge Lockhart was one win away from placing. "Gauge has got to be the most improved wrestler on our team this year," said Curtis. In his final match he pushed a Berthoud wrestler who pinned him twice in the first earlier in the season, losing the match by four points. To go all three rounds and lose by four -- two points given up in a desperation move, against a top-ranked wrestler shows how much potential he has, said Curtis.
At 170, junior Aiden Barrios was 1-2 for the tournament. While he went out early, three weeks ago, said Curtis, he upset a defending state champion, and later lost in overtime to the same wrestler. "I hope that motivates him, because he's a really good wrestler," said Curtis.
Hopefully, said Curtis, they, and all the wrestlers, take a lesson from Church, work hard, and return to state next season so that it can all pay off.