Wrestling challenges inner, outer strength

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Wrestling is more than competing on the mats. Often, wrestling is in an athlete's mind, as well, and it's that aspect which seniors Donald Dillon and Dave Gittleson want to trim this season -- their last at Steamboat Springs.

Last season, Dillon said that instead of trusting his instincts, he got too caught up in thinking about the opponent and what to do.

"Coach says, 'Just go out and beat your guy,'" Dillon said.

Gittleson has been wrestling since the second grade, and he said having the confidence in his wrestling knowledge and experience will go a long way toward realizing his goal of qualifying for this year's state tournament.

Dillon is projected to wrestle at 145 pounds, while Gittleson will choose between 130 and 135.

Steamboat opens the season at 6 p.m. Friday against Rangely.

The Sailors have 16 wrestlers out this season, 12 more than coach Jay Muhme had when he took the head job three years ago.

"Are all 16 viable candidates for state? No," Muhme said. "But that's not what wrestling is all about. Just to see these kids stick it out says something."

The inner discipline that wrestling requires makes it unsuitable for some teenagers, Muhme said, so he is pleased with the newcomers and the veterans he has this season. In today's wrestling world, unless a child begins in peewee classes and continues through junior and senior high, his chances of success diminish, but that hasn't stopped several Steamboat wrestlers from at least giving it a shot.

"I'll wrestle anyone and anybody that I can find matches for," Muhme said.

The Sailors will host the Steamboat Invitational this weekend with 11 teams, including Hayden, Soroco and Moffat County, expected to attend.

The invitational is expected to start about 8 a.m., Muhme said. Each weight will have a 16-man bracket.

The coach could not predict his roster. Athletes are deciding what weight they want to aim for, and several wrestlers are at the same weight.

Muhme said he would find time for every athlete to wrestle this season.

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