A meeting to determine seeds for the regional wrestling competition went very well for Steamboat Springs freshman Houston Mader.
Steamboat's 125-pounder garnered a No. 3 seed from the coaches. The top four finishers in each weight class earn a trip to state competitions, meaning many think Mader's got a shot.
Steamboat hasn't sent a wrestler to state in more than two years.
"He came out smelling like roses," Sailors coach Jay Muhme said.
However, Mader knows he still must wrestle well. The regional seedings are based on overall record, but more importantly, they're based on head-to-head results against other regional opponents. Mader has defeated several regional opponents this season, including wrestlers from Rifle and Moffat County.
Mader is the only Steamboat wrestler with a winning record, but he isn't the only Sailors wrestler heading to regionals. Also representing the Sailors are Andy Morell (130 pounds), Ben DeLine (135), A.J. Carmack (140), Joey Melius (171) and Alex Centner (215).
"Any of them have potential," Muhme said. "You can go all year and lose every match and still go to state because you go down there and beat everybody. It depends on how hard they want to wrestle."
Muhme is taking the Sailors junior varsity team to the Class 4A Region 3 tournament to watch. The exposure to a high-level meet will be good for the young competitors, he said.
"There's a definite understanding that the payback of winning this one is greater than any other," Muhme said. "From this one, there's somewhere else to go."
That place is the 2005 Colorado State Wrestling Championships, to be held Feb. 10 to 12 in Denver. This year's tournament was moved up a week to accommodate a slate of activities related to the NBA All-Star weekend, which is being held Feb. 18 to 20 in Denver.
Steamboat's two-day tournament begins at noon today with weigh-ins. The gates at Montrose High School open at noon, and the first round begins at 1 p.m. The second round is at 5 p.m. Saturday, and the gates open at 8 a.m. Wrestling begins at 9 a.m. and continues until the four top spots are determined.
Region 3 is composed of Steamboat, host Montrose, Battle Mountain, Conifer, Delta, Eagle Valley, Evergreen, Glenwood Springs, Golden, Jefferson, Moffat County, Montezuma-Cortez, Palisade, Ralston Valley and Summit.