The actual, technical reasoning behind the Steamboat Springs High School wrestling team's loss to Summit in a dual was so minuscule, so obscure, it took officials 10 minutes and eight tiebreakers to actually sort things out.
Somehow the reasoning was arcane and telling, however. Summit scored the first point in more matches than Steamboat did, giving the Tigers the decisive tiebreaker and a 34-33 victory. That same stat said everything about the Sailors' performance and why, in the end, they came up just short.
"We weren't aggressive enough," Steamboat coach Shane Yeager said. "We wrestled flat, and they kicked our butts in first-point scored."
Steamboat won two of five contested matches but made up the difference with a pin and forfeits.
Steamboat got a pin from Guerin Lewis at 152 pounds, a dominating performance for the senior against Summit's Brandon Ramirez. The two grappled on their feet for seven seconds before Lewis pushed Ramirez to his heels, then to his back. The match was over in just 17 seconds.
The day's most exciting match came at 126 pounds, where Steamboat picked up its other win, this one from Nathan Parks against Summit's Nick Wittrock.
As his teammates seemed to do most of the day, Wittrock jumped out in front early, taking Parks down three times in the first period, for a combined six points. Parks was allowed one-point escapes each time, however, and after he notched a takedown of his own and another escape in the second period, the match was tied.
"I got off to a slow start," Parks said. "He let me up a few times and that made me angry. I'd rather not wrestle on my feet for the whole match, but that's what he wanted to do. That motivated me to take my own shot."
Parks then took control, flopping Wittrock to his back and building a 12-8 lead by the end of the match.
"He shot in and I caught him and tossed him back into a headlock," said Parks, 8-1 this season. "Those were the points that won the match, and I think I demoralized him there. He was afraid to shoot after that."
Steamboat lost matches via pin at 132 pounds, where Steven Baumgartner was pinned by Summit's Alan Roque in the second period, and at 138 pounds where Michael Hansen was pinned in the second by Alex Roque. Steamboat's Connor O'Brien, meanwhile, lost 7-3 to Tyler Blackford.
The Sailors picked up four six-point forfeits, six points for Lewis' pin and three for Parks' victory. Summit had three forfeits, plus six points for both of its pins and three for Blackford's victory, knotting the teams at 33.
No matter how the tiebreaker had shaken out, though, Yeager said Thursday was a wake-up call for his team, which was riding high after winning a tournament in Soroco last weekend.
Summit returns to action today at a Denver North invitational.
"Our kids didn't know how to handle the win. We're young and we didn't handle out success," Yeager said. "This was growing pains, and hopefully it's something we can bounce back from Saturday."