Routt County wrestling preview: Girls outnumber guys in Soroco; returning state qualifiers look to improve
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County officially has a girls wrestling team.
The Soroco High School wrestling team has five girls and four guys. They are led by sophomore state qualifier McKenzie Clark and joined by freshman Larhae Whaley, who was a competitor in middle school. There are three other athletic girls joining the squad who have never wrestled but were intrigued by the sport.
“It takes a lot of guts,” said Soroco co-head coach Jay Whaley. “You’re not hiding behind anyone out there. It takes a lot of guts to do it.”
During competitions, they will be joined by Adalia George, a junior at Steamboat Springs High School. In the future, there may be a co-op program that officially brings together all female wrestlers from across Routt County.
“It’s going to be different for sure,” George said. “It’s going to be an experience, but I guess that’s like this whole year. If there’s going to be a year for change, it’s going to be this one.”
George finished fifth at the Colorado High School Activities Association girls state tournament last year. Knowing state may not happen this year due to COVID-19, George has a simple goal for this winter.
“This year, since it’s all over the place, it’s more about cleaning everything up technique wise and making everything really solid,” George said
Senior Kody Logan is the only state placer returning to Soroco’s team.
The Rams are also coached by Kody’s father, Mark Logan, and his brother Jace. Last year, Jace was at the state tournament helping Kody earn sixth. This year, Kody wants more.
““My expectations are high, and he’s wrestling good in practice and working hard,” Whaley said. “Under the circumstances, he’s just ready to go. We all want to get ready and wrestle someone this weekend.”
Whaley expects junior Austin Little to come out strong after last season in which he had a wrist injury, and sophomore Gavyn Salberg is back on the mat after an impressive football season.
Hayden has a handful of returning state qualifiers in sophomores Kodi Ingols and Sabyn Hager and seniors Wyatt Murphy and Kyler Campbell. None placed at state last year but gained important experience.
Junior Dylan Zimmerman, one of the team’s strongest wrestlers, was one match away from placing at state last year. He dropped a tough 4-3 decision in the second consolation round. Zimmerman opted to focus on wrestling rather than play football and is more focused than ever on getting back to state and improving on his third-place finish in 2019.
“He wanted to focus on getting a state title. That’s where his head is at 100%,” said Hayden head coach Matt Linsacum. “He worked hard through the summer and worked hard through football season.”
George is the only returning state qualifier for the Sailors, who lost four seniors. This year, the squad is led by Cole Moon and Ivan Reynolds, who had strong seasons but didn’t make state in 2020. Moon is aiming for an appearance at the state tournament, whatever that may look like.
“I am pretty strong and can hold my regard from that standpoint,” Moon said. “A lot of times, technically, I’m pretty decent, but I definitely need a little bit more work on that.”
With no real way of knowing what the season will hold, Steamboat head coach Jordan Bonifas is keeping his athletes focused on short-term goals and small improvements.
“What I’ve been reiterating to my guys is just getting better every week,” he said. “Whether your goal is to be a state champ, a state qualifier or to win five matches, whatever that is for you, just controlling things you can control like working hard and our attitude.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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