Burke/Gregory's Colton Johnson takes Athlete of the Week awardBURKE — Colton Johnson said he’s pretty sure he’s never pinned four opponents in one day before.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
BURKE — Colton Johnson said he’s pretty sure he’s never pinned four opponents in one day before.
The Burke/Gregory 145-pound wrestler changed that at the McCook Central/Montrose tournament Thursday in Salem.
Four pins propelled the senior to the 145-pound weight class championship in what he called his best tournament of the year.
“He didn’t spend a lot of time on the mat, that’s for sure,” Burke/Gregory wrestling coach John Hansen said. “He’s really picked up on his ability to pin people this year and he’s made it a point of pride to pin people. So far, so good.”
For Johnson’s dominance at last week’s tournament, he has been named The Daily Republic’s athlete of the week. The award is a weekly award voted on by the newspaper’s sports staff.
Johnson — who’s 18-0 this season — had two first-period pins on the day, including a 24-second pin in the second round. He also had a third-period pin against Flandreau’s Dakota Petersen late in the semifinals and second-period pin against Alcester-Hudson’s Rick Heiman in the championship match.
“Pinning people hasn’t been my strong point in the past,” said Johnson, whose team finished third in the tournament behind Bon Homme and Flandreau. “But just being more aggressive this year and getting after my opponents has helped a lot.”
As a sophomore, Johnson took second place at the state tournament. He also had a fifth-place showing as a junior.
“Last year, I think my problem was there was so much pressure,” he said. “I hurt myself mentally, because I felt there was stress to do as much as I did the year before.”
This season, Johnson has relaxed more and he said that’s what’s leading to the pins. Although Johnson said being unbeaten doesn’t faze him, he said he’s still shooting for a state championship as a goal.
“I’m a senior, so this is it for me,” he said.
Johnson will try to keep his unbeaten record alive Saturday, when Burke/Gregory travels to Wagner for the Southeastern South Dakota Conference tournament.