Steamboat gives Hayden fight

Soroco's Matt Iacovetto sat cross-legged in street clothes watching the 140-pound match between Hayden's Jake Doolin and Steamboat Springs' Donald Dillon.

Iacovetto missed out on his opportunity to wrestle Doolin in Thursday night's Routt County Triangular because the Tiger coaches opted to hold the injured and sick Doolin out of the match.

All Iacovetto could do was scout Doolin from a distance and wonder what might have been if the anticipated showdown between two of Routt County's best wrestlers had taken place.

"Yeah, I wanted to wrestle him," Iacovetto said. "Really bad."

Instead, the two will have to wait until the Class 2A regional meet Feb. 13 and 14 at Grand Junction Central, where one may end up preventing the other from qualifying for the state tournament. Only two at each weight class earn a trip to Denver.

Doolin continues to heal, while Iacovetto eyes the regional meet.

"I think I'm in a good spot," Iacovetto said. "I've lost a lot of close matches that could have gone either way."

Close matches or close duals haven't been the norm for many of Routt County's teams this season, but the final dual Thursday between Steamboat and Hayden brought back memories when the outcome was uncertain and coaches and fans couldn't help but stand and scream.

The Tigers, who defeated Soroco earlier in the evening, got the better of the Sailors, 39-21, behind a strong slate of upper weights and the work of Doolin who defeated Dillon by fall at 140 pounds.

"We didn't figure the Steamboat kid would be so tough," Tigers coach John Svoboda said. "We were concerned."

Svoboda said he also was concerned that Steamboat might win the dual, so he bumped senior Jason Rolando from 189 pounds to 215 pounds in an effort to pit the experienced wrestler against a younger Sailor wrestler. Rolando defeated Steamboat freshman Alex Centner by fall.

Tigers heavyweight Randy Muhme picked up his second forfeit of the evening, allowing the host team to prevail.

"That's the way they are supposed to be," Sailors coach Jay Muhme said of the closely contested dual. "When you look up and it's 21-21. We matched up very well."

Several Routt County wrestlers had impressive showings Thursday night, including several young Steamboat athletes such as freshman Joey Melius who picked up two wins at 160 pounds.

Hayden's Dusty Jones (130 pounds) and Sean Rolando (135), both freshmen, picked up key wins for the Tigers in their dual against the Sailors.

Hayden wound up winning both its duals, while Steamboat went 1-1, defeating Soroco.

But Iacovetto and Whit Gates, the Rams' 152-pounder, continue to forge ahead. Gates won both his matches by fall, while Iacovetto pinned Dillon and took a forfeit against Doolin.

"He's doing really good things," Rams coach Doug Gates said. "We're liking what we see. He's patient with his moves, and he's not making many mistakes."

Picking up match wins for Soroco on Thursday included Iacovetto, Gates and Shaye Bruggink (145).

Picking up match wins for Steamboat were Andy Morell (119), A.J. Carmack (130), Walker Hammond (152), Melius and Alex Center (Hwt.)

Hayden's match winners included Tyler Manzanares (119), Jones, Rolando, Tim Taylor (152) Matt Marchbanks (160), Andrew Birch (171) and Rolando.

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