Soroco's Justin Iacovetto started with a win, Hayden's Coy Letlow followed suit, and despite some rust, Steamboat's Houston Mader made a solid run as high school wrestling returned to the mats last weekend after the long holiday break.
Steamboat traveled to Eagle Valley while the teams from Hayden and Soroco ventured to the Screaming Eagle tournament in Paonia.
Hayden finished fourth in a field that included some of the region's top teams. Soroco athletes scored several top individual finishes.
"It was a good weekend for our team," Hayden coach Ty Zabel said. "It was basically our regional tournament. The only team that wasn't there was Meeker."
Hayden placed eight of the 11 wrestlers it took to the 17-team tournament. Coy Letlow led the team by winning the 189-pound weight class. He defeated Soroco's Dennis Morgan in the finals.
Other top Hayden finishers included Russell Waugh, who was third at 215 pounds; Mitch Doolin, who was third at 145 pounds; and Treyben Letlow, who was third at 171 pounds. Jake Magee placed fourth at 152 pounds, and teammates Scott Armbruster (103), Zed Wheelock (125) and Mitch VeDepo (130) placed fifth.
Iacovetto led the Rams by pinning Delta wrestler Garrett Pope in 2 minutes, 54 seconds in the championship match to win the 112-pound division. Iacovetto, a junior who placed third at last year's state championships, is currently ranked No. 1 in the state.
"It was a tough tournament," Soroco assistant coach Jay Whaley said. "We had six of the top 10 teams in our class there, and it was a strong field."
Iacovetto was one of six Soroco wrestlers who attended the meet. Levi Gonzalez placed second in the 125-pound class after losing a 6-1 decision in the finals to Rangely's Stephan Boleng. Morgan finished second in the tournament after falling to Letlow in the finals.
Freshman wrestlers David and Ben Strait and first-year wrestler Sean Price also made the trip to Paonia, where they picked up valuable experience but failed to place.
Two members of the Steamboat Springs High School wrestling team also returned to the mat last weekend at the 14-team Eagle Valley Invitational.
Steamboat's Houston Mad
er suffered a slight setback in his opening match. Steamboat's 140-pounder lost to Rifle's Branton Brown in overtime. It was only the second time this season Mader has lost a match; he's 15-2 overall.
"He might have been a little rusty after the holidays," Sailors coach Sean McCarthy said. "But it was a close match, and it could have gone either way."
McCarthy said Mader made an aggressive move in overtime, and Brown scored enough points from the reverse and the back points to win the match.
On the upside, Mader returned to form very quickly and won the rest of his matches, including a rematch with Middle Park's Joe Visconti.
Visconti beat Mader a couple of weeks ago, bringing an end to the senior's unbeaten streak.
Steamboat's Derek Morris, 12-2 this season, also enjoyed a top finish in Eagle, placing fourth in the 135-pound class. McCarthy said Morris looks stronger at every tournament and is determined to reach his goal of qualifying for the state tournament.
This weekend, Soroco will head to Wiggins while Steamboat and Hayden will travel to Vernal, Utah, for the Tournament of Champions.
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