Wrestlers get chance to shine

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The idea of 200 young athletes competing on the mats at Carl Ramunno gymnasium has Richard Atkinson, president of the Yampa Valley Wrestlers of Routt County, excited about the future of wrestling in Steamboat Springs.

Atkinson expects that turnout when Steamboat hosts an Intermountain Wrestling League tournament Nov. 12.

"This will be the first time we've hosted one of these tournaments," Atkinson said. "It's a pretty big deal for our club."

Atkinson started the Yampa Valley Wrestlers of Routt County last year with hopes of providing year-round wrestling opportunities for young wrestlers in Hayden, Oak Creek and Steamboat Springs.

This year, the club, which includes athletes ranging from kindergarteners to eighth-graders, plans to compete in five regional meets with the Intermountain Wrestling Leag-ue. The team also will compete in a couple of major tournaments, including the Monster Mash on Nov. 4 and 5 at the Denver Coliseum and the Rocky Mountain Nationals at the same location in February.

"We wrestle all year, but we really started picking up the pace about three weeks ago, when we started preparing for league meets," Atkinson said.

This year's home meet is expected to be a highlight for the club. It will feature league teams from Summit County, Moffat County, Steamboat, Buena Vista, West Grand, Leadville, Granby, Gypsum, Fairplay and Minturn.

The meet will begin at 9:30 a.m. and last until about 3 p.m.

Atkinson said wrestlers will be assigned to brackets based on age and ability. The tournament will use a round robin format. He expects about 20 wrestlers from his club to take part in the meet.

Anyone interested in helping with the tournament can call Lisa Mahana at 871-1279 or e-mail mahanna@qwest.net. Anyone interested in joining the club or entering the tournament can call Atkinson at 879-4976.

-- To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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