8 Routt County wrestlers snag state tournament berths

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— After strong showings in this weekend’s 2A Region 1 wrestling tournament, a trio of Hayden athletes and a pair of Soroco Rams are headed to Denver this weekend for a shot at bringing home state championships.

Facing some of the top 2A wrestlers Colorado has to offer, Hayden’s Journey Vreeman qualified by placing fourth at 160 pounds. Taylor Lewis advanced with his third-place finish at 182 pounds and, likewise, Kent Miller wrestled his way to third at 145 pounds for a berth into the state tournament.

“Overall it was tremendous competition with Paonia and Meeker and Ignacio and Dolores,” Hayden coach Chad Jones said. “We lost some really close matches.”

Vreeman lost in overtime in the semifinals and Lewis lost by a single point. Tigers Christian Carson (170 pounds) and Hunter Rummel (285 pounds) narrowly missed qualifying for a trip to Denver with their fifth-place finishes.

Tommy Wade was sixth at 152 pounds and Tanner Guire was one-tenth of a pound overweight at 126 pounds and forced to forfeit.

“We got some valuable lessons for our young team,” Jones said. “It was really good to see our two juniors and a senior qualify for state.

“We just have to get ready to go,” Jones added “It’s the playoffs and whole new season. There are 16 guys in your bracket and you have to beat them all to be the best.”

Soroco is sending two wrestlers to Denver, and of those two, one already has a taste at gold.

Cody Constine, the Rams’ 195-pounder, battled through the 2A Region 1 bracket to take first and qualify. He will be joined by heavyweight Nate Ragan, who took fourth.

Soroco’s Lane Martindale (106 pounds), Shad Covalt (113 pounds), Andrew Schupner (132 pounds) and Colton Koler (220 pounds) all took sixth at regionals. Colton Martindale was fifth at 126 pounds.

In the 4A Region 4 side of things, Steamboat Springs’ Brandon Yeager, Dakota Thvedt and Cole Sittig had the strongest showings for the Sailors during the weekend, each earning a berth in the state championships.

Yeager fought his way to the championship match, falling to Discovery Canyon’s David Traynor, 10-5, to take second at 195 pounds. Thvedt, just a freshman, was third at 113 pounds and Sittig took fourth in the heavyweight class.

“Cole has fallen short two years in a row, and now he’s got that berth,” Steamboat coach Shane Yeager said. “Brandon also wrestled a great tournament. He lost to a kid in the finals that’s ranked.”

Freshman Mathew Hansen was sixth at 132 pounds and Connor O’Brien also grabbed sixth place in the 182-pound class.

Yeager said he was really pleased with the results and already is looking forward to working with his trio that’s heading to Denver’s Pepsi Center on Thursday.

“It’s back to the basics. The basics win,” Yeager said. “Wrestling is unlike any other sport. We will hit that room hard this week and prepare like we have all year.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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