For the next two weeks, while Steamboat Springs' A.J. Carmack wrestles with a cast on his left hand, wrist and forearm, his coaches and teammates will refer to him as "The Club."
He said he doesn't mind.
Carmack said that when he's wrestling, he really doesn't notice the cast -- hidden under a heavy wrap -- is even there. The injury certainly didn't affect the way the freshman wrestled in his first varsity match Friday, as he won by fall in an exhibition against Rangely's Cam Scott at 130 pounds.
Steamboat defeated Rangely, 36-30, in a dual filled with forfeits and falls.
"I'm very aggressive," Carmack said of his wrestling style.
Carmack is a product of the junior high program in Steamboat, so while he admitted to being "really nervous" for his first high school match, he wasn't a stranger to meets and how to counter an opponent's moves.
The same can't be said for junior Chris Baumann. A gifted football and hockey player, Baumann decided to come back out for wrestling this season after quitting "after a few practices" in seventh grade.
Sheer strength and a tightly strapped cradle gave Baumann his first win by fall 45 seconds into his match against Josh Meriwether.
"I expected to win," Baumann said.
Sailors coach Jay Muhme said he expects Baumann to win a few matches at either the 215-pound or heavyweight class just as Baumann did Friday -- with strength. But Baumann did say he has a long way to go on perfecting moves.
Carmack (130 pounds) and Baumann (Hwt.) will be back on the wrestling mats today for the Steamboat Invitational.
Eleven teams -- Ridgeview Academy, Hayden, Rangely, Moffat County, Steamboat, West Grand, Grand Valley, Liberty, Dakota Ridge, North Park and Soroco -- will take the mats beginning at 8 a.m. today at the high school.
Several of the teams made their way into the high school gym Friday to catch a bit of the Steamboat and Rangely dual.
While the Sailors earned 24 points off forfeits, the matches and exhibitions made for some entertaining wrestling.
There were the first-meet illegal moves and jitters, but on the whole, Steamboat and Rangely appeared to be excited to get back on the mats.
Baumann and senior Dave Gittleson were the only Sailors to win official matches but both came via fall early in the first. Gittleson pinned Rangely's Jason Brenton with 1:17 left in the period.
Carmack, Riley Thompson (171), Matt Lakin (189) and Michael Herbert (215) won by forfeit for the Sailors. Herbert won his exhibition match against Meriwether, as well.
Winning matches for Rangely were Jake Byers (119), Curtis Baker (145), Doug Dembowski (152) and Michael Hurke (160).
Scott won by forfeit at 125.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org