Steamboat wrestlers look to build in years to come with 1 athlete heading to state | CraigDailyPress.com

Steamboat wrestlers look to build in years to come with 1 athlete heading to state

Steamboat's Spencer Mader drives Basalt's Zach Pagan to the mat during the 3A Region 1 Tournament.
Andy Bockelman

MONTROSE — The 3A Region 1 Tournament offered many struggles for the Steamboat Springs wrestling program, but coaches foresee only growth from here for grapplers continuing to gain skills.

In the meantime, the Sailors will still be represented at the 3A CHSAA State Championships.

John Slowey was the lone Sailor wrestler to move qualify for state at the two-day regional tourney, placing fourth in 3A’s 195-pound class.

Slowey went 3-2 in the event, gaining two pins and a 3-2 decision. Though he was taken out of championship by a fall from Pagosa Springs’ Caleb Janowsky in the semifinals, as well as a 7-0 loss to Delta’s Gauge Lockhart in the consolation finals to miss out on third place, his effort was not wasted.

The 3-2 win against Rifle’s Alex Guardado proved to be an investment. After Slowey took the defeat to Lockhart, he automatically won by tournament rule when matched up with Guardado again.

Headed to state for the second straight year, Slowey said he’s focused on his diet more than anything.

“I feel like I came out kind of flat today because I wasn’t eating right,” he said Saturday. “I didn’t have good nutrition.”

He said he’ll be restricting his food intake before state, eating lean proteins in particular.

Slowey was the only Steamboat athlete to make the top four for state, though Spencer Mader (126) nearly made it as well.

Mader had two pins to his name for the weekend, but a 10-4 defeat to Delta’s Ben Koch in the semis made things trickier.

A 2-1 decision went against him in the consolation finals as Pagosa Springs’ Dylan Tressler won the bronze, while Mader had to fight for fourth place in a physical bout to conclude the day against Gunnison Mikhail Garcia, ultimately taking fifth after an 11-5 defeat.

“That kid was hungry, that kid was a senior,” Steamboat coach Jordan Bonifas said of the Cowboy opponent who refused to lose in what could have been his final high school match.

At 160, Ivan Reynolds finished in sixth place with a 3-3 stretch, including an 11-0 major decision and two falls, getting knocked out of state contention with a pin by Basalt’s Ruben Samuelson.

The rest of the Sailors also had choppy waters. Mohammed Alnajdawi went 0-2 in the 138 weight, Caleb Anderson 2-2 at 145 with two pins, and Cole Moon 0-2 at 220.

On the one hand, Bonifas was disappointed more kids didn’t reach the state level, though another year of preparation will make them all the stronger.

“We’re a young team, and we’re not losing anybody. We’ve just gotta learn from all this,” he said.