Tuesday, January 15, 2002
Steamboat Springs Heavyweight Will Zimmerer had his best tournament finish of his high school career last weekend as he pinned three straight opponents en route to a first-place finish at the Eagle Valley tournament.
Zimmerer had the highest finish for the Sailors, who came in ninth in the 11-team tournament that included 3A, 4A and 5A schools. Starting off strong, Zimmerer pinned Rifle's junior varsity grappler Danny Donahou in the third period.
He continued to the second round of the tournament, where he recorded the fall over Eagle Valley's John Saldana in the third period. It also took until the third period before Zimmerer finished off Rifle's Kye Hunter in the championship round of the tournament. With 43 seconds in the third period, Zimmerer pinned Hunter.
"Will continues to improve each week and is consistently wrestling smarter and smarter matches," Sailors coach Jay Muhme said.
At 125 pounds, Justin O'Leary overcame a first-round loss to Battle Mountain's Ryan MacLaughlin to take fourth in the tournament. After dropping a close
8-7 match to MacLaughlin, O'Leary won his second match in the consolation round, defeating Basalt's Rogelio Munzo 11-0.
O'Leary continued to wrestle strong as he pinned Eagle Valley's Pat Sweeney in 16 seconds, the fastest pin of the tournament. But in his fourth match, O'Leary was pinned by Middle Park's Chris Plum and finished the tournament in fourth place.
"This is Justin's first step into the winners' brackets this year and he is starting to wrestle with much more control and intelligence," Muhme said. "I believe Justin has started to turn the corner and I expect to see him in the winners' brackets many more times this season."
After winning his first-round match 9-0 against Basalt's Jason Wooley, 119-pounder Dave Gittleson was pinned by Eagle Valley's Brian Preston. That loss knocked Gittleson, a sophomore, out of the tournament.
Not wrestling for the Sailors was senior Wes Adams, one of the team's top competitors this season. The 171-pounder underwent knee surgery Friday from a football injury that occurred this summer and will not be able to wrestle for the rest of the season.
"It's an unfortunate break for him," Muhme said. "The team is really going to miss his contribution as a team member and team leader."
The Sailors will continue competition at 5:30 p.m. Thursday when they take on the Rifle Bears at home. On Friday, the Sailors travel to Salida for the Rob Mickel tournament where they will join more than 24 teams.