Steamboat Springs The Hayden and Soroco middle school wrestling teams recently wrapped up their seasons with positive results.
The Hayden Tigers' win in the East Grand Tournament over a field that included perennial power Moffat County was the first time in a long time that a Hayden team at either the middle school or varsity level took first in a tournament.
"It was amazing to see how the team pulled together," Hayden coach Dallas Robinson said. "The season went excellent. We had a great coaching staff this year. The faculty and the school really helped out a bunch, and the parents were supportive. These kids were a class act."
The Tigers concluded the season with 27 wrestlers, while the Soroco Rams wrapped up the 2003 season with 11.
Doug Gates coached both the varsity and middle school wrestlers in South Routt, and he didn't mind making the immediate transition from seasoned veterans to beginners.
"It's more work, but it's not as intense," Gates said. "They are still learning and they have more fun with it sometimes. The season went pretty well. A lot of the kids are just in the learning mode. I had some good success with them. I'm excited about them. "
Sixth-grade wrestlers are allowed to compete for both Hayden and Soroco, and Justin Iacovetto, in his first year of middle school wrestling, went 12-0 for the Rams.
He missed several middle school tournaments to compete at the national level, but his exposure to the sport isn't the norm in Routt County. This weekend, he is in Reno, Nev., for a national tournament.
A handful of Hayden wrestlers have decided to continue their seasons as well by competing in the Southwest Regional Tournament (formerly the Colorado Kids State Tournament) today in Grand Junction.
"People aren't ready to see them stop," Robinson said. "We've got a good trend starting here."
Dakota McCarty (70 pounds), Zed Wheelock (70), Mitchel Doolin (85), Jordan Williams (100), Ryan Youell (100), Coy Letlow (110), Andy Bennett (115), Dustin Jones (120) and Paden Morehead (125) are in the state tournament field.
The tournament is not affiliated with the middle school season, but the decision for the nine Hayden wrestlers to extend their season, not to mention Iacovetto's decision to compete nationally, is an important one to make.
"It turns a kid from night to day," Robinson said. "Competition, other than a partner, is really where they start to excel. The kids that extend the season and freestyle throughout the summer, it makes all the difference in the world."
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail email@example.com