It's been three weeks of sweat, pain and sacrifice for the members of the Steamboat Springs High School wrestling team, but tonight, all that hard work will be rewarded as the Sailors take the mat for a new season.
"The grueling part of wrestling takes place during the week and in practices. That's where guys have to do all the hard work, but the weekends -- that's when it gets fun," coach Jay Muhme said.
This weekend will be special because it's the first time the Steamboat wrestlers will get on the mat to compete against wrestlers from other teams, and they will do it at home.
The Sailors will open the season against Rangely in a dual meet at 6 p.m. today. Steamboat will host the only home tournament (the Sailors will host two triangular meets later this season) of the season starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.
'The dual is a great way to get warmed up," Muhme said. "It's great to have a dual before the tournament just to get things rolling."
Muhme expects to have 11 wrestlers on the mat tonight with just three open weight divisions. However, he isn't sure how those weights will compare with what Rangely is bringing.
Steamboat will be open at 103 and 112 pounds. But Houston Mader will wrestle at 125 pounds, Andy Morell is expected to wrestle at 130 pounds, and Ben DeLine will wrestle at 135.
Muhme said AJ Carmack and Marina Corcioli (one of two female wrestlers on this year's team) were scheduled to wrestle off to see who earns the 140-pound spot. The loser will have to move up to 145.
Steamboat will be open at 152 pounds but will have wrestlers in all the other weight classes.
Tim Taylor will take the 160-pound spot, Riley Thompson will take the 189-pound spot, Alex Centner will take the 215-pound spot, and Josh Tremellen will take the heavyweight spot.
"We are in a little better shape than normal," Muhme said. "I also have five guys who will suit up for the junior varsity team."
Muhme expects his junior varsity wrestlers to go to other tournaments this season and push for a varsity position in the wrestling room during the season. Some of those athletes will get the chance to fill out the brackets at the Carl Ramunno Invitational.
The tournament will be special for Muhme, who was coached, influenced and inspired by Ramunno when he was a student at Steamboat Springs High School.
Muhme said he was happy that the high school tournament, which has been running for years as the Steamboat Invitational, could pick up the Carl Ramunno name after the middle school stopped hosting the event last year.
"It's important to carry on the tradition of wrestling in Steamboat Springs," Muhme said. "This tournament, and Carl, are a big part of that tradition."
Muhme said this year's home tournament is going to be a mix of teams from Northwestern Colorado and a few from the Front Range.
He expects to have 16-man brackets for the event, which will run all day Saturday at the high school. It will be the first tournament of the season for many regional teams including Steamboat, Hayden and Soroco, which also wrestled in a triangular Thursday.
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