Confidence is high among Soroco, Hayden wrestlers ahead of regionals |

Confidence is high among Soroco, Hayden wrestlers ahead of regionals

Soroco senior Austin Little stares down Steamboat Springs wrestler Eli Moon during a Dual Tournament at Soroco High School on Thursday, Feb. 3.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

OAK CREEK — A Tiger and a Sailor meet on a mat. It sounds like the beginning of a poorly-thought-out joke, but it’s actually the beginning of a wild wrestling throwdown.

All three Routt County wrestling teams gathered in the dim and echo-prone old gym at Soroco High School on Thursday, Feb. 3. With the cheers rattling off the walls, Hayden freshman Triston Day and Steamboat Springs junior Cole Muhme met for one of the most intense matches of the night.

Both wrestlers have had winning seasons at 126 pounds. The room buzzed with potential energy, the crowd expecting a good one.

After two rounds, Day was down 4-3. He elected to start the third round on top.

“You got two minutes of riding,” his coach yelled from the corner of the mat.

Those two minutes were longer than any two minutes spent watching a plate spin in the microwave.

Day quickly got Muhme on his back and earned three points for the near fall. He still had more than 90 seconds to keep control of Muhme. The Sailor, who is having his most successful season yet, nearly broke free with 15 seconds left. Day clung on in a neutral position, not allowing an escape. The whistle took ages to arrive, but when it did, it sealed his victory.

“What a fight,” a Tiger hollered.

Day is just a freshman, but he’s been wrestling with confidence, not to mention skill.

“Our coaches have really prepared us a lot and we push hard in the room and work hard,” Day said. “The upperclassmen, they push us and make us better as a team.”

Day isn’t the only Hayden wrestler who’s found success at the high school level. Ethan Silva has also impressed.

Silva thinks growing up through the Hayden peewee program has helped team him a lot. Ahead of regionals, he’s feeling confident he can earn a top-four finish at regionals and qualify for state.

Those are just two of many Hayden wrestlers that will likely do well at regionals and earn a spot at the state championship tournament.

“I truly think that every kid has an opportunity to get there,” said Hayden head coach Matt Linsacum. “It’s not going to be easy, but I really think from (106’s) to our heavy weight, if they wrestle well, they can make it.”

Regionals takes place Feb. 11 and 12 at Buena Vista High School.

The Soroco team hasn’t seen as much widespread success, but the Rams have a lot of faith in one wrestler: senior Austin Little.

“Having Austin in the room is great. Not only for me, but for everyone else,” said Soroco junior Gavyn Salberg. “He’s a wonderful role model. He’s the kind of senior you want on your team.”

Not only is Little a good leader, but he’s been a great competitor this winter. At 170 pounds, he’s 22-2 this year.

Two years ago, Little sat out his sophomore season injured. Last year, his comeback went a lot smoother than expected, and this year, he’s even better.

“I don’t know what happened. It just kind of clicked to me,” he said. “I just got a lot better after wrestling (Soroco grad Kody Logan). … I think it’s going great honestly.”

Based on the season, Little has the strongest shot of any Ram to place at regionals. But the beauty of wrestling is the season means little. As long as someone places top four at regionals, they can get to state.

“That’s why we do this sport. Anybody can get beat on any day,” said Soroco head coach Jay Whaley. “If they wrestle well, they have some shots.”

Full results from Thursday’s Dual tournament can be found at

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