Friday, February 14, 2003
Steamboat Springs Five Steamboat Springs wrestlers advanced to the second day of regional competition after winning at least one match in Friday's opening rounds.
On the line today is a trip to the state tournament.
Freshman Andy Morell, junior David Gittleson, freshman Vince Grippa, junior Michael Herbert and senior Will Zimmerer are all still alive in the brackets.
The top four finishers in each weight division advance to the state tournament Feb. 20-22 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
"All the kids wrestled hard," coach Jay Muhme said. "We just don't have the mat sense yet versus the more experienced wrestlers."
Even Zimmerer, the most veteran of the Sailors' wrestlers, figures to have just as tough a path, if not a tougher one, to make it to Denver.
"There are a lot of very good kids at this tournament, particularly in the heavyweight class," Muhme said.
Three of the top four heavyweights in the unofficial Colorado Wrestling state rankings, are at the Region No. 3 tournament where Steamboat was placed, and that doesn't include Zimmerer.
As the fifth seed, Zimmerer received an opening-round bye and then came back to mildly upset Golden's Jake Lockheart by fall with 59 seconds left in the second period.
"It was an important match for Will," Muhme said.
Lockheart entered Friday's match against Zimmerer as the No. 4 seed.
"I've never seen a regional stacked this tough," Zimmerer said. "I finally felt good (Friday). I've been sick but (Friday) I had the speed and power that I haven't had in a while. I have no idea what my plan is for (today). I just wanted to win my first match and get things rolling."
Zimmerer is the lone Steamboat wrestler left in the championship bracket.
Four other Sailors, however, are alive in the consolation bracket.
Herbert, at 171 pounds, received an opening-round bye before being pinned in the quarterfinals by Delta's Trevor Jones.
Morell (103), Gittleson (130) and Grippa (160) all lost to higher-seeded wrestlers in their opening-round matches but wrestled back to win their second, keeping their shot at the state tournament alive.
Two Steamboat wrestlers, freshman Walker Hammond (145) and junior Donald Dillon (140), saw their seasons end Friday night.
Today's matches begin at 9 a.m. at Moffat County High School and will run until the champions in each weight class have been decided.
Schools at the 13-team regional in Craig are: Battle Mountain, Broomfield, Conifer, Delta, Evergreen, Golden, Moffat County, Montezuma-Cortez, Montrose, Mullen, Palisade, Ralston Valley, Rifle, Steamboat Springs and Summit.