Steamboat Springs Hayden Middle School wrestling coach Dallas Robinson knew his wrestlers would have their work cut out for them if they hoped to grab team gold at the Northwest Invitational wrestling tournament last weekend in Hayden.
"We're a marked team after the past few successful seasons, and everyone is gunning for us," Robinson said. "We wanted to prove that Hayden is a force to be reckoned with. My boys have set a goal to be the best, and they'll see it through."
The Hayden boys certainly saw their share of the podium, placing wrestlers in 13 of the 15 weight classes.
Robinson said that a few holes in the roster made it difficult to go head to head with "great tournament teams like Moffat County, Meeker and Rangely," and that his wrestlers would need to score maximum points on their way to the finals if they hoped to contend for a team title.
Chad Terry, Chris Skof and Treyben Letlow did exactly that, winning their respective weight classes. Seven other Hayden wrestlers finished second. The performances lifted Hayden to a winning team score of 180.5 points, ahead of East Grand (second) and Meeker (third). Letlow took home the tourney's Outstanding Wrestler Award.
"I feel like everyone is working well together and are focused on a common goal," Robinson said, giving credit to assistant coaches Ty Camilletti and Travis Linsacum.
Soroco Middle School wrestling coach Doug Gates said he was proud to see his kids grab a second-place finish (Dustin Thorson) and two third- and fourth-place finishes. He hopes they would fare better at Saturday's Soroco Middle School Invitational. Soroco's Ben Strait tied with Letlow for the tournament's fastest pin (12 seconds).
Casey Williams led the way for Steamboat's wrestlers, taking first in the 90-pound class. Grant Mader grabbed second, and Steamboat wrestlers also took two third- and one fourth-place finish.
Routt County wrestling
The Soroco Middle School Invitational wrestling tournament starts at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Soroco High School gym in Oak Creek. Soroco athletics director Andy Johnson said the tournament will feature between 14 and 15 middle school wrestling teams competing on three mats. The tournament is expected to last most of the day. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for students and $12 for families.
The Yampa Valley Wrestling Club of Routt County began its regular peewee (K-8) spring league this week. Board member Michelle Caragol invites interested youth wrestlers to attend team practices from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Steamboat Springs Middle School wrestling room. Visit www.yampavalleywrestling.org for details.