Wrestlers look to pin top seeds

Less than one month remains before the Class 4A and Class 2A regional tournaments, and wrestlers in Soroco, Hayden and Steamboat Springs are settling into their weight classes.

The top four wrestlers from the regional tournament will advance to the state tournament in Denver, and the push to get top regional seeds has begun.

Hayden and Soroco took part in the Paonia Tournament on Saturday, and all but three regional teams attended the competition. Steamboat traveled to the Eagle Valley Tournament on Saturday and also squared off against regional competition.

"It was a tough one," Hayden Tigers coach Ty Zabel said about the Paonia Tournament. "Our region is loaded. Everyone was there but Meeker, Nucla and Mancos."

Soroco's Joel Schlegel won the 112-pound championship. He dropped from 119 pounds into the new weight class -- with positive results.

"He did well," Soroco Rams coach Doug Gates said. "He looked good. There were lots of good kids in his bracket."

Soroco's Justin Iacovetto placed second at 103 pounds, falling in the finals to a wrestler from Dolores County. Dennis Morgan dropped from 215 pounds to 189 pounds for the Paonia Tournament and almost placed. Morgan was sick before the holiday break and lost weight.

"I think he might stay there," Gates said. "We'll just play it by ear. He kind of wanted to go down there, and right now he's maintaining (189 pounds)."

Hayden's Aaron Haskins defeated Morgan at 189 pounds on his way to a third-place finish in Paonia. Hayden teammate Coy Letlow was third at 152 pounds, and Matt Holden was fourth at 119 pounds. The Tigers finished ninth out of 15 teams.

"It's a big deal," Zabel said about placing in the Paonia Tournament. "It's a real good indicator for regionals."

Soroco's Levi Gonzales returned to action after sitting out most of December with an injury. He dropped down to 119 pounds because Schlegel dropped to 112 and just missed placing.

Steamboat had four wrestlers place at the Eagle Valley Tourn--ament in Gypsum. Houston Mader, one of the most consistent wrestlers in Routt County this season, placed third at 130 pounds. His teammate Tyler Harris was third at 171 pounds. Ben DeLine and Joey Melius were fourth at 152 and 189 pounds, respectively. The Sailors finished seventh. They are back in action tonight in a triangular with Battle Mountain and Delta at Battle Mountain High School.

"We came out of break a little rusty, but some of the kids did well," Steamboat coach Sean McCarthy said. "We are hoping for better things (today), Friday and Saturday."

Steamboat has a triangular with Buena Vista and Anto--nito on Friday in Salida and com----petes in the Rob Mikel Tourn--ament on Saturday in Salida.

Soroco travels to Wiggins for the Wiggins Tournament on Saturday. Wiggins is near Fort Morgan and will give the Rams a chance to see different competition.

"It is other teams we will see at state," Gates said. "It's good for us to go."

Hayden will compete in the two-day Uintah Tournament on Friday and Saturday in Uintah, Utah.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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