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Local wrestlers open new chapter

Eleven members of the newly formed Yampa Valley Wrestlers traveled to Summit County last weekend for the club’s first journey into competitive wrestling.

As a team, the Yampa Valley Wrestlers placed 10 athletes in the tournament, nine wrestled in the finals, and four returned to Routt County as champions. Richard Atkinson, club director, said it was a solid start for the Steamboat-based team’s first event.

“We’ve got some really tough kids on our team,” Atkinson said. “This was a great start, but it’s just the beginning.”

Champions at Saturday’s meet included Cole Higgins in the 6-and-younger 55 to 60 pound class, Ian Caragol in the 8-and-younger 50 to 55 pound class, and Nick Rossman in the 8- to 10-year-old 55 to 60 class and Benjamin Strait in the 12-and-older 95 to 100 pound class.

Second-place finishers included Leah Caragol in the 6-and-younger 30 to 35 pound class, Jesse Pugh in the 8-and-younger 40 to 45 pound class, David Strait in the 12-and-older 90 to 95 pound class and Justin Iacovetto in the 12-and-older 100-plus pound class. Conner O’Brien also placed third in the 8- to 10-year-old 60 to 65 pound class.

The club’s 18 members meet three times a week at Steamboat Springs High School. The club is mainly for kindergarteners through eighth-graders, but Atkinson said the club is open to wrestlers of all ages including adults.

“We are building our numbers right now,” Atkinson said. “Every week we are picking up one or two more wrestlers.”

Although Atkinson said he is happy about the club’s growth, he is hoping to recruit a few more wrestling coaches in an effort to maintain the quality of the program and allow it to continue to grow.

Atkinson is acting as head coach of the program. Danny Armstrong, Gerald Brenner, Brent Higgins and Mike Rossman are helping out when they can.

It is Atkinson’s goal to build excitement for wrestling and develop a strong year-round program in Steamboat and the surrounding area.

A longtime peewee coach, he has been frustrated to see many of his young wrestlers move away from the sport when they get to high school. Atkinson is aware that other mountain towns have become more competitive and thinks adding a year-round opportunity is the only way for Steamboat wrestlers to stay competitive.

For more information, call Atkinson at 879-4976.


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