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High school sports

Grappling in the great outdoors

Douglas County, ThunderRidge compete in wrestling match at football stadium

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It was a pleasant, cloudy afternoon on Dec. 1 with only a slight wind and the temperature reaching 60 degrees.

It was nice enough that Douglas County and ThunderRidge high schools held what is believed to be the first Colorado outdoor wrestling dual meet on the field at Douglas County Public Schools Stadium in Castle Rock.

About 100 people surrounded the mat and the Douglas County pep band was in the stands for what was called the Sunset Slam.

Douglas County coach Gary Hartman and ThunderRidge coach Casey Paul worked together to put together the outdoor match.

“It was fun, crazy, different," Hartman said. "We were trying to get the Douglas County students here, hoping that it would get them here standing mat-side, but that didn’t really work out for us, but the parents enjoyed it.”

Paul was pleased with the weather and the outdoor setting.

“The wildcard has always been the weather,” he said. “Last weekend we were looking ahead and said we think we could make this happen. It could have just as easily been 29 degrees and snowing today. It was pretty cool. I don’t know as far as wrestling it was much different. The air is fresher and the air is a little crisper but as far as competing I’m not sure it is much different.

“The overall atmosphere is pretty cool for the kids. It makes it special. Our sport in our area kind of takes a backseat to basketball. This gives the kids something that they can hang their hat on that they got to wrestle outside. It was something new and different and generates some interest for our sport.”

ThunderRidge won the meet, 41-36.

“It was fun to make history for high schools in Colorado,” said ThunderRidge 152-pounder Rory Salcedo. “It was a nice experience because it wasn’t too hot or too cold and it wasn’t too overwhelming. The atmosphere was neat. It was nice just look in the background and kind of be relaxed before a match before everything gets kind of hectic."

Paul and Hartman hope to do another outdoor event next season hosted by ThunderRidge. Paul said two or three locations are being considered.

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