Photo by Joel Reichenberger
Steamboat’s Dane Koepfer, left, tries to escape Hayden’s Tyler Paxton in an exhibition match Thursday as the Sailors and Tigers clashed in a Routt County wrestling triangular in Steamboat Springs. Paxton tried to roll Koepfer but couldn’t get him over before Koepfer slipped away and won with a pin.
Steamboat Springs Soroco High School 103-pound wrestler Lauryn Bruggink paused briefly when asked about an elbow injury that has kept her out of action for nearly a month.
Bruggink, who had a partial dislocation of her elbow, hadn’t wrestled since Jan. 8. But it was hard to tell Thursday at the Steamboat Springs High School gymnasium in a triangular with the three Routt County wrestling programs, where Bruggink looked like, well, herself.
Bruggink dominated her lone match of the night, beating Hayden High School freshman Kaiden Decker by a technical fall.
“I’m just glad to be back on the mat, but I’m a little rusty,” Bruggink said. “It was unbelievable. I don’t know. It was a good feeling because I’ve just been watching.”
On a night that showed that wrestling still has its place in Routt County, Hayden walked away the big victor, beating Soroco, 33-27, and Steamboat, 42-30.
Soroco then beat Steamboat, 36-21.
“We’ll have more matches next year,” Steamboat coach Shane Yeager said. “We want to get these kids to get more matches at home. Teams didn’t want to come up here because they couldn’t get the competition. Now we’ve got some guys that can stand up here, and we’ll get some teams to come in here.”
In the Hayden-Steamboat match, only three correlating weights could be filled. The Tigers’ Chad Terry, returning from a shoulder injury, beat Steamboat’s Dane Koepfer by pin.
“That shoulder is like 50 percent right now,” Hayden coach Ty Camilletti said about Terry’s injury. “We wanted to see how he looks, and he looks good.”
In the other two matches, Steamboat’s Casey Williams won at 140 pounds, and Connor O’Brien won at 152 pounds.
Hayden and Soroco wrestled six matches, with each team winning three. In addition to Bruggink, the Rams picked up victories from Josh Baker at 140 pounds and Peyton Martindale at 152 pounds.
Hayden got wins from Journey Vreeman at 119 pounds, Scott Armbruster at 135 pounds and Ryan Domson at 171 pounds.
Soroco and Steamboat wrestled three matches, with the Rams’ Tristan Palyo winning at 171 pounds. Steamboat’s Brandon Yeager won his match at 160 pounds, and Williams beat Baker at 140 pounds.
“Wrestling-wise, I like where we’re at,” Camilletti said, with his team just a week away from regionals. “Some of our better kids are still hurt. I feel as good as I can. We’re not near where we want to be, but it’s nice to get some of our roster back even though some of them are only 80 percent.”
Hayden resumes action Saturday in Eaton, and Soroco and Steamboat have the weekend off. The Rams and Tigers will then travel to Palisade for regionals on Feb. 11 and 12. The Sailors will be in Grand Junction for regionals.
— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@SteamboatToday.com