DENVER Mission accomplished.
Without a doubt and without a loss, mission accomplished.
Aaron Velasquez of Bayfield High School completed his self-appointed mission Saturday night when he won the 152-pound championship at the CHSAA Class 3A State Wrestling Championships and pinned down a perfect 40-0 season.
Velasquez decisioned Intermountain League rival Dakoda Curtis of Alamosa 9-6 in the state championship match before a standing room only crowd at the Pepsi Center.
These coaches told me to keep believing, and they would get me to the top, Velasquez said. And they did.
He said Curtis offered stubborn opposition in a rematch of the Regional final, also won by Velasquez.
Hats off to him, he came at me strong. Thats the best match weve had all year, the Bayfield junior said.
But I was able to bounce back, he said after rallying from an early 2-0 deficit.
After his win, Velasquez shared huge hugs with head coach Herb Stinson and assistant Marshall Hahn.
I really wanted to give Coach Stinson a state champion. He hasnt had one in about three years, Velasquez said.
I have to thank (my coaches) for all of my success, Velasquez said. They kept me working hard in the room every day.
Hahn, for one, wrestled against Velasquez in practice almost every day.
A two-time state champion when he was a prep wrestler at Bayfield (1994, 1997), Hahn now hopes Velasquez joins him in the exclusive two-time club.
Hahn also is the head football coach at Bayfield.
Im hoping to get another one to join Coach Hahn, Velasquez said.
Stinson said Velasquez had the drive required to win a state title.
Hes been on a mission all year, said Stinson, who recalled a summer when Velasquez went 40-1 in a series of matches.
I always knew he had the raw drive, the competitve drive. The only thing ... he had to control his temper, which he did this year, Stinson said.
A frustrating loss last year at state paved the way for this years championship, Stinson said.
He had to learn to control the emotions. Hes much more mature. Hes a lot more of a pleasure to coach, day in and day out, Stinson said.
Besides the highly decorated Hahn in his corner, Velasquez also had Stinson the same Herb Stinson who won 12 state team titles at Aztec High School in New Mexico, including 11 consecutive state titles.
Aarons my 65th (individual) state champion, and thats kind of special, Stinson said.
Velasquez, the son of Gus and Tina Velasquez of Bayfield, also joined an exclusive fraternity in his own family.
His father Gus won a state championship as a prep wrestler at Ignacio. And Velasquezs grandfather was a state runner-up.
Previous Bayfield state champions are Hahn (94, 97) Jason Jenkins (91), Cody Duran (96), Aden Morrison (98), Loren Morrison (2005) and Jordan Larsen in 08.
All I told Aaron was to remember to enjoy the moment, Hahn said. I told him to remember that this is supposed to be fun.
Its quite an accomplishment to be out there (Pepsi Center) on Saturday night; I wanted him to enjoy the experience.