Charley belongs on wrestling's mountaintop

Karl Schneider

FARMINGTON — There were many wild and thrilling matches at the wrestling state championships this past weekend, but few, if any, were as exhilarating as Logan Charley's title match.

Shiprock's Logan Charley, right, wrestles Robertson's Darian Duran during the 195-pound championship match on Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

Charley, a Shiprock senior and the No. 1 seed at 195 pounds, met Robertson's Darian Duran in the A/4A championship Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

The two finished the three regulation periods tied at 2 to send the match to overtime. They continued to battle through three more overtime periods and went into the fourth OT tied at 4.

"He kept on going and going. We told him, 'Keep going. (Duran) is just as tied as you are,'" Shiprock coach Ben Frazier said after the match. "At one point, we were yelling at him that we'd carry him off the mat if we have to, and he listened."

In the fourth overtime, Charley started in the bottom position, and about midway through the 30-second OT period, he used a final burst of energy, scoring a reversal and pinning Duran's shoulders to the mat for a fall victory after a grueling eight minutes and 18 seconds.

Shiprock's Logan Charley pins Robertson's Darian Duran to win the A/4A 195-pound title on Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

After the match, Charley, who is Shiprock's first state champ since 2006, described the victory as an overwhelming rush of joy, and expressed the pride he felt for accomplishing a goal he had been working toward since last year's state tournament.

Charley made the 195-pound final a year ago and lost to St. Michael's Xavier Vigil via a first-period fall. Even though Charley was the No. 2 seed in that bracket, carrying a 33-5 record into the state tournament, he said he didn't think he was worthy of competing for a state title in 2016.

"Last year, I felt out of place," Charley said. "I didn't deserve second place or the chance to be on the top. I carried that with me throughout the last year and this season."

Shiprock's Logan Charley hugs his mother, Brandi Benally, after winning the 195-pound A/4A title on Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

Charley added that the thought of not belonging a year ago drove his work ethic through the season.

Following the championship match, about 20 people from Charley's circle of family and friends who made the trip to Rio Rancho swarmed around the state champion in the hallway of the Santa Ana Star Center. Many had tears in their eyes and all featured broad smiles.

As they waited for their chance to congratulate and take pictures with the state champ, one thing was clear, Charley belonged among those fortunate enough to be state champions.

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.