March is a busy month for area wrestling teams

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The Steamboat Springs middle school wrestling team wrapped up its short season with a winning record in dual meets and impressive finishes in tournament action.

The Sailors finished second at a Soroco meet and took third at tournaments in Meeker and East Grand during the season.

Ten of the 20 wrestlers who competed for coaches Brian Smith and Sean McCarthy finished with winning records.

"The coaches and I are very proud of our wrestlers and the season," Smith said. "We were able to bring home two trophies and several medals. This is a great step for Steamboat wrestling with respects toward building the program."

Eighth-grader Ben DeLine, Steamboat's 120-pound wrestler, went undefeated during the four-week season.

DeLine has wrestled for only three seasons in Fort Collins and Steamboat Springs, but he took to the sport quickly and can't wait for the opportunity to compete at the high school level.

"Individually, I thought I had a great year, and team-wise, it was the coaches who helped everybody," DeLine said. "They were pretty intense, but still they did it just right so the kids didn't get burned out."

Five of DeLine's teammates won at least 80 percent of their matches, as well. They included Brent Becker at 90 pounds, Dave Yokubonis at 95 pounds, Beau Becker at 100 pounds, Angel Ruelas at 125 pounds and Jay Hanley at heavyweight.

Smith said the wrestlers interested in continuing during the summer would have options for camps, summer tournaments and open gym wrestling.

A large contingent of Steamboat's high school wrestlers decided to compete out of season when they took part in the Rocky Mountain National Tournament in Denver on March 19 through 21. They were Andy Morell, Alex Centner, Donald Dillon, Walker Hammond and Riley Thompson. Former Sailor Danny Armstrong went to wrestle, as well.

Phippsburg's Justin Iacovetto traveled to Denver to compete in the Rocky Mountain Nationals for the fourth time. Wrestling at 70 pounds at this year's tournament, Iacovetto took fifth in his bracket of 30.

In addition, Iacovetto went 12-0 at 80 pounds during Soroco's middle school season. There were about 11 middle school athletes out for middle school wrestling in South Routt, and several others also had standout seasons.

Dennis Morgan wrestled all season at heavyweight with a broken arm -- one he broke wrestling -- and lost just three matches. Levi Gonzales, at 110 pounds, took first at one tournament and also dropped just three matches.

Cody Miles and Jeremy Schalnus, sixth-graders, wrestled well with no experience, coach Doug Gates said.

"The rest of the kids are learning," Gates said. "But they did well, all of them. All my kids had good attitudes."

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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