DENVER - Rudy Peterson found what the Demons had been searching for at the CHSAA Class 4A State Wrestling Championships.
Peterson, a Durango High School senior and three-time state qualifier, won the Demons first match of the 2011 state tournament Friday afternoon with a dominating 6-0 shutout in the 112-pound consolation bracket.
After a frustrating opening day where DHS lost all six of its matches, Peterson turned the Demons fortunes around with their first victory at state.
Attacking from the opening whistle, Peterson controlled freshman Austin Krier of Sterling in the elimination match.
Durango teammates Elliott Salazar and Trevor Gillen followed suit, sending three Demons into the second round of the consolation bracket at the Pepsi Center late Friday night.
I knew I could definitely beat that kid, so I came out on fire, Peterson said of his match against Krier. I really wanted to win my first match because the last two years Ive been 0-and-2 at state. This is great to get over the hump.
Durango head coach Doug Cuddie agreed.
Rudy looked pretty good in that match. Hes got to keep that going ... match to match to match, Cuddie said.
The third-year coach said he was pleased with Petersons bounce-back performance Friday afternoon.
He went out and did what hes good at ... a solid win, Cuddie said.
Hopefully, hell keep it going.
Salazar, for his part, had to endure a tight match from start to finish against Jake Atkinsson of Vista Ridge at 145 pounds.
Salazar held on for a hard-fought 7-6 decision.
Youve got to wrestle (a full match), like Coach Cuddie has preached all year, Salazar said.
In a (close) match like that, youve got to keep your head up and do what you need to do, the DHS senior said.
It feels really good to get a win ... this is the first time Ive been here. so it feels really good to win.
That was a close, tough match, Cuddie said of Salazars win.
Nerves play a role in a match that close. Both guys are real tense; theyre at the state tournament; one little mistake can make the difference.
That was a big win for us, Cuddie said.
Gillen, Durangos No. 2 seed at heavyweight, also rebounded Friday with a consolation victory after Thursdays opening round loss to Edgar Juarez-Palma of Alameda.
Gillen, tangling with Mullen junior Tyler Hennington, worked his way to a 7-3 decision.
All three Demons were scheduled to have late matches Friday night. Three other Demons were eliminated in consolation matches Friday afternoon.
At 119 pounds, Durango sophomore Clay Dillon fell victim to a pin by Derek Salinas of Fort Lupton and his blue-dyed hair. The pin by Salina (45-7) came late in the second period. Dillon ended his seaon 27-19.
Durangos Donald Kirby, a senior, lost a 15-4 decision to Broomfields Mikey Frangoso in Fridays consolation round at 130 pounds.
But his effort before a growing crowd at the Pepsi Center brought a huge smile to his coachs face.
Donald is a kid who for three years never quit, Cuddie said.
He was always working hard. You hate to lose a senior like that, Cuddie said.
He pointed to Kirbys late takedown against Frangoso even though Kirby was trailing by double digits at the time. Kirby ended his season 28-17.
Durango junior Gabe Crawford also saw his state tournament come to a close. Crawford was pinned by Chaz Polson of Valor Christian midway through the third period of their 140-pound consolation match. Polson led 7-0 at the time of the pin, ending Crawfords year at 24-18.