Iacovetto picks up national title | SteamboatToday.com

Iacovetto picks up national title

— Soroco’s Justin Iacovetto picked up his first national title after winning the 62-pound weight division at the Rocky Mountain National Tournament in Denver.

Steamboat Springs’ Will Zimmerer and Brian Smith also placed at the national tournament, held March 21 and 23 at the Denver Coliseum.

Though 38 states were represented at this year’s tournament, both Iacovetto and Zimmerer wrestled athletes from what would be considered the Rocky Mountain regional area.

Iacovetto went 3-0 on his way to capturing a trophy as tall as he is, winning two matches by fall and the other by decision.

“I’ve worked a lot harder this year,” Iacovetto said. “Last year, I didn’t have any practices before tournaments. I just had to go out on the mat. This year I went through a season of middle school.”

He went 12-0 during the middle school season and even missed a couple tournaments because of obligations at the national level.

In Denver, Iacovetto actually trailed his first opponent in the third period before getting a reversal and a pin.

In the second match, with the score tied at 2-2, Iacovetto locked a cradle to get three back points to win.

“I think I get madder when I’m behind,” Iacovetto said.

In the final match, up 9-3, and in the neutral position, Iacovetto said he underhooked his opponent and threw him to his back for the fall.

Zimmerer went 4-2 at the tournament, placing for the first time.

The top six finishers are considered place-winners.

Zimmerer wrestled athletes from Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico.

The good showing at the Denver tournament helped soothe some of the pain from failing to qualify for the state tournament in February.

The final four wrestlers left in the 4A heavyweight bracket at the state tournament were all wrestlers in Zimmerer’s field at regionals. Unfortunately, none were entered in the Denver tournament last weekend.

“I was hoping someone from the region would have been there,” Zimmerer said.

Smith, Steamboat’s junior varsity assistant coach, placed second in the open division at 197 pounds, a new division created for this year’s tournament.

The trip to the Rocky Mountain National Tournament is a tradition for Steamboat’s wrestling team.

Andy Morell, Donald Dillon, Walker Hammond, Vince Grippa, Michael Herbert and Zimmerer, in addition to the coaches, made this year’s trek to Denver.

The team isn’t required to stay in shape for the tournament when the season concludes in February and many either won one match and lost two or lost their first two matches, but the experience gained is valuable.

“I take them down every year,” Steamboat coach Jay Muhme said. “It’s sort of the fun trip if you will. We get to go down and have fun without the pressure of winning or losing except for that which they put on themselves. It was the first time we had someone finish that high.”

Soroco’s Matt Iacovetto also ventured down to the national tournament, going 2-2 overall in the 130-pound division.

Former Steamboat wrestler Danny Armstrong also wrestled in the open division at the tournament, going 0-2. He graduated from SSHS several years ago.

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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