Hayden obtains earlier time slot for tournament

— With the cancellation of the annual Carl Ramunno Middle School Wrestling Tournament in Steamboat Springs, Hayden Middle School jumped at the opportunity to have its own tournament at the beginning of the season.

It is called the Northwest Invitational, which Hayden has had each year, but always in spring. This year, Hayden simply has the earlier time slot of the Carl Ramunno tournament.

"They gave it up and we were happy to take that up," Hayden Athletics Director Kevin Kleckler said.

The Northwest Invitational will begin at 9 a.m. today in the Hayden Middle School gymnasium. Teams participating include Meeker, Craig, Steamboat, North Park, Soroco, Rangely, West Grand, Rifle, Summit, East Grand and Hayden.

"We're really excited about having this tournament this year," Hayden Middle School wrestling coach Dallas Robinson said. "This is a huge benefit for our program. It's a home meet. All the kids' parents can easily make it there since it's on a Saturday. And, instead of it being at the end of the year, it's at the beginning of the year. So it's heated up a little bit, and the kids get a little more support."

Robinson also clarified the difference between the two tournaments.

"We're locked in our region to have a tournament this weekend, so it wouldn't make any sense for Steamboat to have a tournament this weekend. If they did, there would be half as many schools going there and half as many schools coming here, and it would be a flop both ways.

"It's not like we took the tournament; we just took the date. Steamboat could have the Carl Ramunno next weekend, but that wouldn't make much sense."

Not everyone was happy about the longtime Steamboat Springs tournament being in Hayden this year.

"I'm not happy because they gave it away and there was no communication," Steamboat Springs Athletics Director Bruce Crowhurst said. "We would have been glad to do it again, but we weren't asked. Anyway, how do you give away a name-sake tournament? Our gym is named after Carl Ramunno. It's a travesty."

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