Injuries slow Sailor grapplers | SteamboatToday.com

Injuries slow Sailor grapplers

— The most frustrating part of wrestling meets these days for Steamboat Springs High School coach Travis Bryant is the fact that they're only about half what he thinks they should be for his team.

Injuries and illness continue to dog the Sailors this month, and those issues limited the team Saturday at the Evergreen Invitational.

The Sailors gladly welcomed back one of their most seasoned wrestlers, senior Matthew Hansen, who missed the first half of the season with a shoulder injury still lingering from football. The team was still without three of its other top athletes, however.

"The boys are working hard, and we'll get back on track," Bryant said. "If we can just get everyone healthy, we have a lot of potential."

Hansen made the most of his time back on the mat. Wrestling at 152 pounds, he threw a tough challenge at a top Class 5A competitor before losing, then worked his way through the consolation bracket to the consolation finals. 
He hit his one-day maximum number of matches, five, to do that and to settle for a coin flip to split third and fourth place. He ended up fourth.

"We ran into that tough 5A kid. That's not a match we wanted for him coming back from injury, but he hung tough," Bryant said. "He threw that kid to his back. We were really happy to see him back out there. He's always one of our team leaders, and he performed well."

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Steamboat's top finish came at 160 pounds, where Hayden Johnson put together another stellar day. Only a buzzer-beating two-point takedown call — a controversial one as Bryant tells it — kept him from winning his bracket.

"It was a heartbreaker," Bryant said. "I'm really happy with the way he wrestled. He's on fire right now. If we can keep that going, the sky's the limit."

Dakota Thvedt also had a very strong day, placing third at 126 pounds. He lost a tight match in the semifinals.

"We can beat that kid," Bryant said. "He's in our region, so it's good to know what he does and how we can combat it. I feel confident we can beat him. I just have to get that confidence into Dakota."

Spencer Mader also put together a good run, placing fourth at 120 pounds.

Other Steamboat wrestlers picking up wins were Kyle Spognardi, Tucker Havel and John Slowey.

"The litte mistakes will go away the more time he gets," Bryant said, considering Slowey's day.

Steamboat was without Lance Bryant, who was sick, Colton Crawford, who injured an ankle, Zach Roach, who hurt a toe before winter break, and Colton Pasternak, who's recovering from a knee injury.

"Overall, if we can get more healthy, we're going to be formidable,” Bryant said. “It's frustrating, but we have to relax and keep going goal by goal.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9