Steamboat Springs grapplers take second in Rifle, look forward to busy week |

Steamboat Springs grapplers take second in Rifle, look forward to busy week

John F. Russell

— The members of the Steamboat Springs High School wrestling team didn’t have a lot of time to celebrate a second-place finish at the Rumble in the Rockies dual tournament during the weekend in Rifle.

The team was back on the mat Monday preparing for two big tests, as the Sailors look forward to the regional meet, which is only two weeks away.

“We are in the short part of the season now,” Sailors head coach Travis Bryant said. “Right now, I’m really happy with the guys we got going. The 10 we have wrestling right now are tough as nails.”

That was evident last weekend, as the Sailors rebounded for an early loss to take second in the tournament. Steamboat had several wrestlers just back from injuries, and one battling illness as he made his way through each dual.

The Sailors finished second (2-1) in the squad’s four-team pool after losing a tough match to Delta in the opener. The team rebounded with quality wins against the Rifle junior varsity team and Basalt.

The back-to-back wins helped Steamboat advance out of pool play.

In the cross-bracket matches, the Sailors were perfect, besting the top-two teams from the other pool with wins against Rifle’s varsity squad and Grand Valley. Delta, the top team from Steamboat’s pool, also beat those teams to secure first place.

Bryant was thrilled with the way his team wrestled and was happy to have several wrestlers back from injury.

“This group has really stepped up to the plate this season.” Bryant said. “I’m happy to be getting back to full strength and getting some of the guys back that we lost early in the season.”

That included senior Colton Pasternak, who returned from knee surgery and went 2-1 at 113 pounds. He shared time with Tucker Havel, who went 2-0 in his matches.

The Sailors also got big boosts at 120 pounds from freshman Spencer Mader, who went 5-0 in his matches at 120 pounds, from senior Dakota Thvedt, who was 5-0 at 120 pounds, and from Hayden Johnson, who was also perfect in all five matches at 160 pounds.

Juniors Kyle Spognardi at 132, Zach Roach at 138 and Lance Bryant at 142 and senior Matthew Hansen at 152 all went 4-1 in the tournament.

Bryant was also happy with the showing of 182-pound freshman John Slowey, who finished 1-4 in the tournament but was very competitive in all five of his matches.

Steamboat is back in action at Vail Thursday night in a triangular against Eagle Valley and Glenwood Springs. On Saturday, the Sailors will travel to the Viking Valley Classic in Gilcrest.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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