Tough tourneys test wrestlers

Sailors, Rams, Tigers all wrestle in Routt on Thursday

Joel Reichenberger

— Eighth place isn’t always something to brag about, but Steamboat Springs High School wrestling coach Travis Bryant said the tournament at which his team achieved that place, the Valley Viking Invitational in Gilcrest, made the feat notable.

“That was a top-notch tournament,” Bryant said. “We ended up eighth. In a tournament like that, I’m happy with it.”

Some bad luck cost the team higher placings. Many wrestlers ran up against their state-mandated daily quota on matches, five, and had to turn to coin flips to decide their final bouts. That left Colton Pasternak, for example, in sixth place at 113 pounds, when he could have wrestled for fifth on the day. Matthew Hansen also had to settle for sixth after going 3-2 and losing his final coin flip.

Lance Bryant made it to the consolation finals, but his coin flip landed him in fourth.

Nearly the only Steamboat wrestler to end up on the right side of the coin was Spencer Mader, at 120 pounds. He placed fifth after going 3-2 and getting a particularly welcome win against his Moffat County rival, Chris Moschetti.

Hayden Johnson, at 160 pounds — the team’s top-ranked wrestler by On the Mat rankings and No. 2 in his weight class — struggled and ended up fifth, no coin flip involved.

“It’s the first rough day he’s had,” Travis Bryant said. “We just didn’t get it done, but having an off day put a fire in him, and I think he’s going to work harder, and we’ll get back on track.”

Zach Roach also went 2-2 on the day for Steamboat at 138 pounds. Kyle Spognardi won matches at 132 pounds, as well.

Next up for the team is its only home action of the season, a home triangular Thursday against Rifle and Palisade. It will be senior night for Colton Crawford, Pasternak, Hansen and Dakota Thvedt.

Rams win some, lose some

The Soroco High School wrestling team had some of its best performances of the year Saturday at the Valley Classic in Center. It also had more average performances, including the first loss of the season from the Ram’s No. 1 ranked sophomore, Jace Logan.

“We had an up and down weekend,” coach Jay Whaley said. “We lost some matches we should have won, but then, we saw some good things out of some other kids. It was a tough tournament, and there were a lot of teams there.”

Logan just achieved the No. 1 152-pound spot in the Class 2A On the Mat rankings last week after beating Norwood’s Hayden Harris head-to-head a week ago. Harris took his revenge Saturday, changing to a much less aggressive style and coming away with a 4-1 win in the 152-pound finals.

“They’re close, and it was fun,” Whaley said. “They’re fun matches to watch.”

The pair will likely wrestle at least one more time, at the regional tournament, and maybe again if their paths cross at state.

Elsewhere, Whaley said Dalton Ray, at 138 pounds, and Jesse Amrein both wrestled their best matches of the season. Each lost in the first round, then won twice in the consolation bracket to finish the day at 2-2.

Lane Martindale also had a very strong showing at 145 pounds. He won twice to advance to the quarterfinals, lost, then won two more matches to place third.

“I was proud of Lane,” Whaley said.

Sky Carlson, meanwhile, placed fifth. He advanced to the quarterfinals, lost there, then lost his first consolation match before winning his final match.

“He’s seen all of the tough kids in the state, all of the ranked kids,” Whaley said. “It’s been a pretty big experience for him.

“We all learned a lot this weekend. We were maybe a little flat compared to the weekend before, but it gave us some good things to work on.”

The Rams will wrestle starting at 6 p.m. Thursday at home in an event featuring Hayden, West Grand and North Park.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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