Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs freshman Derek Morris got his first taste of a high school wrestling tournament during Saturday's Carl Ramunno Invitational.
"It's a lot tougher," Morris said. "Even the people you beat are a lot better. There's no easy matches."
But wrestling in the 119-pound round robin, Morris made it look easy as he cruised through his first four rounds, pinning two of his opponents in just over a minute each.
In the final round, Morris met his match in another unbeaten opponent, Moffat County's Matt Linsacum. In a close match in which both wrestlers scored points back and forth, Morris had Linsacum all but pinned until a blood time-out was called because of a discharge from Morris' nose.
Morris attributed what ended in a 15-11 loss to an unfortunate swing of momentum. But his second-place finish, and podium finishes from Steamboat's other three competitors, added up to a good start to the season for the Sailors, Steamboat head coach Sean McCarthy said.
"It was a good start," McCarthy said after the tournament. "Momentum begets momentum."
Ben DeLine led the Sailors by winning the 152-pound class division. DeLine opened the day by pinning his first opponent in 39 seconds and then beat Rangely's Keane Raley, a wrestler he had beaten in Friday evening's dual match. DeLine pinned Hayden's Jake Magee in the championship match.
"I'm exhausted," DeLine said after two long days of wrestling.
Steamboat's A.J. Carmack had an impressive morning, winning three of his first four rounds before losing a close final match to Moffat County's Jesse Breslin, 13-11. Pinning three of his opponents, Carmack finished second behind Breslin in the 145-pound class.
Cody Harris, another talented freshman for the Sailors, took third in the 171-pound class after a thrilling second-round pin on Hayden's Russell Waugh, who went on to win the class.
"I felt that underhook, tossed him over and squeezed his head as hard as I could," Harris said about the victory.
McCarthy said he was eager to convince his young wrestlers they have the potential to compete with anyone. And with only four competing wrestlers, Steamboat sill finished fifth as a team with 59 points. Steamboat's next match is Thursday at Moffat County.
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