Mader shakes off rust in win
Craig — There were more than 195 hours between takedowns for Steamboat Springs High School’s Houston Mader. Before Friday’s Class 4A Regional Wrestling Tournament, the 140-pound senior hadn’t wrestled since the previous Thursday.
“I definitely had to wait too long,” he said. “I was a little frustrated with what it took to get going today.”
Mader had to shake off the rust against Glenwood Springs’ stocky Matt Davis.
“He was really strong and hard to control once I got him down,” Mader said. “I hit my moves when I needed, but I couldn’t do much more.”
Mader’s wait between matches was lengthened because he had a first-round bye. When he finally reached the mat, he controlled Davis for a 9-3 win.
High expectations follow Mader after winning last year’s regional tournament and a fourth-place finish at state. He moved up five pounds this year and is the third seed in the bracket.
“My initial goal is to get to the finals and then go from there,” he said.
Steamboat coach Sean McCarthy has confidence in his only pupil remaining in the tournament.
“Houston approaches each match looking for what it takes to win,” he said. “He had to use takedowns against a strong kid today. It took him a while to get going, but he was typical Mader in the match.”
Today’s semifinal match brings Golden’s Wes Okonbak. The two met up previously this season, resulting in a 6-4 Mader victory.
“They are both fairly evenly matched kids,” McCarthy said. “I expect Houston to find a way to win.”
Mader was keeping track of Okonbak’s match.
“I have to be tough with my takedowns against him,” he said while watching his next opponent. “Once that happens, I’ll try to put him on his back.”
Bruce McAndrew had never wrestled in a high school tournament before Friday. His welcoming party didn’t care. He was pinned in both his matches, but he gained McCarthy’s respect in the process.
“He’s a tough, strong kid,” his coach said. “He came out a couple of weeks ago and hadn’t wrestled since middle school. It took him a lot of courage to come to this tournament.”
Sophomore Derek Morris had to scratch from the tournament Thursday night because of illness.
“Derek had a tough year,” McCarthy said. “He broke his hand, and then he had several illnesses. Mononucleosis was the last issue he struggled with.”
Today’s wrestling starts at 9 a.m. at Moffat County High School.
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