Sailors soar in home triangular, eye regional tourney
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs High School senior Colton Pasternak waited a long time to wrestle at home on senior night. He’s been working the mats of Steamboat Springs since he was 4 years old, for 14 years.
“It’s important to take a second and savor it,” he said afterward, reflecting.
A second was about all the time he took.
The Sailors played host to a triangular Thursday against Rifle and Palisade and came away with one of their best all-around performances of the season. They beat Palisade 37-36, winning a tiebreaker to take the one-point lead.
Steamboat then lost to Rifle, 36-33.
Most of the scoring was thanks to forfeits, however. In actual action on the mat, the Sailors were nearly perfect, going 8-0 against Palisade and 3-1 against Rifle.
“That’s a good home show right here,” coach Travis Bryant said. “I just wish we had a couple more big guys. The kids wrestled stellar. We were on our game tonight and beat some top-notch opponents we’ve lost to in the past.”
Several may have wrestled as well as Pasternak, a 113-pounder who will be aiming in next weekend’s regional tournament to return to the state championships for the third time in as many years.
None wrestled faster, however.
He won his first match, against Palisade’s Raul Inchaurequi, in 27 seconds. He hopped up from the mat after getting the pin and pointed with both arms into the stands, a bit of respect, he said, for his family, which has spent all those years hauling him to tournaments near and far.
He took a little more time with his second opponent, Rifle junior Conrad Demann, but won 1 minutes, 25 seconds into the first period. He hopped up with that same pointing into the stands and with that, his night was over, after less than two minutes of actual wrestling.
“I felt energetic tonight,” he said. “That’s the word. I waited 14 years, and it all boiled down to this last home meet in front of my home crowd for the last time. You can’t take this for granted.”
Dakota Thvedt, at 126 pounds, also won his Palisade match with a pin. Colten Crawford won at 132 14-4. Zach Roach won 10-3 at 138 pounds. Lance Bryant pulled out a thrilling win at 145 pounds, earning a third-period escape to grab a late 5-4 lead. Another last-second takedown cemented the win 7-5.
Matthew Hansen won 9-5 at 152 pounds, Hayden Johnson 16-0 at 160 and Spencer Mader with a 45-second pin at 120.
Against Rifle, Mader got another pin, and Johnson won a tough match 4-0. Crawford, meanwhile, was pinned in a tough battle at 132, and the rest of the weights were forfeited in one way or another.
Next up for the team is regionals, late next week at Denver West. The top four finishers from each weight bracket will advance to state.
The Sailors have sent three wrestlers in each of the last several seasons, but could be poised to send six or even seven this year, including that whole class of seniors who was recognized Thursday night, including Pasternak, Thvedt, Hansen and Crawford.
In the last On the Mat wrestling rankings for the state, Pasternak was ranked 11th in his division, Thvedt eight and Crawford 15th. Only Hansen wasn’t ranked, and he spent all but the last few weeks of the season out with an injury.
If they can wrestle like they did Thursday night, sending a busload to state might just be possible.
“We’re right where we need to be going into regionals,” Travis Bryant said.
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