Rifle And then there were three.
After nearly six hours of wrestling Saturday, the only Sailors left standing at the Rifle High School Wrestling Invitational were Levi Muhme, Will Zimmerer and Justin O'Leary.
Those three individuals advanced to the finals, which began at about 4 p.m., on a day that began at about 9 a.m. There was a one-hour intermission before the finals began.
The three Sailors who competed in the finals fought for the No. 3 spots in their respective weight classes.
Muhme, who wrestles in the 135-pound class, dusted off Rifle's Jesse Long in the second period to finish No. 3 in his division.
Muhme finished 5-0 overall, but came up just shy of wrestling for first place.
In the 135-pound class, four wrestlers had 4-0 records, which left the schools' coaches shuffling through the score books to see which of those wrestlers recorded the fastest pin times. When it was all said and done, Muhme had missed qualifying for a shot at the No. 1 spot by a couple of seconds.
The Sailors placed seventh out of eight teams, but they had some impressive performances by a number of individuals who fell just short of making it to the finals.
Freshman 125-pounder Donald Dillon was 2-2 for the day, and teammates Jamie McKelvie and Wes Adams also finished 2-2. McKelvie wrestles in the 152-pound class and Adams is a 171-pound wrestler.
Mike Radford, a 215-pounder, ended with a 3-1 record.
O'Leary, who finished 3-2 in the 112-pound class, lost to Delta's Bo Morgan in the finals. Morgan and O'Leary were tied 2-2 during the second period but Morgan pulled out a 7-2 decision. O'Leary was the fourth-place finisher in his class.
Zimmerer, who finished 2-3, wrestled a rematch against Bill Ransom of Montrose in the finals, but he lost on points, too.
Zimmerer was behind 8-6 at the end of the second period before falling, 13-6. Ransom was able to control the third period by using an effective head lock.
Zimmerer placed No. 4 in the heavyweight division.
"He threw the head lock better than most big guys," Zimmerer said. "He used his hips to get me on my back. That entire third period I was fighting off his head lock."
Radford said he was proud of the way his team wrestled.
The Sailors lost close matches to Montezuma-Cortez and Pueblo Centennial. They also lost to Montrose and tied Summit.
Steamboat may have possibly won a couple of its matches if it had not suffered forfeits in a few of the weight classes, which ended up costing it points.
Moffat County finished No. 1, followed by Rifle, which placed second. Delta came in third.
Sailors coach Chris Decker said it was his team's best performance since the Steamboat Invitational Dec. 2.
"The kids wrestled really well," Decker said. "They started out a little slow against Montrose but then wrestled real well. I just know it was the first time all season they really were getting into it. They were excited about it."
The Sailors next compete in a triangular meet against the Delta Panthers and Palisade Bulldogs beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at Palisade.