11 Bulldog wrestlers achieve All-Conference honors | CraigDailyPress.com
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11 Bulldog wrestlers achieve All-Conference honors

While snow blanketed the Yampa Valley, a group of boys honed their skills in the Moffat County High School wrestling room. They were the Bulldog wrestlers, the 2001 state champions.

The group of wrestlers who captured state this year did it in an aggressive and understated style, keeping almost deadly quiet about their personal achievements.

Another honor that 11 of the 14 varsity boys earned was reaching the rank of Western Slope All-Conference.

“I think the All-Conference honors really speaks highly of our team, especially to place so many,” Coach Roman Gutierrez said about the honors bestowed upon his wrestlers for their outstanding regular season performance.

The Bulldogs wrestlers not only won the state championship by a huge margin, they broke the state record for pins in a season. Through 15 regular-season tournaments and dual meets, the team racked up 291 pins, while only letting their backs touch mat 48 times.

They added another 36 pins in post-season matches, bringing their season total to 327, while only allowing seven pins against them, for a total of 55 in all.

In the Moffat County pinning machine, there were six wrestlers who never succumbed to what they dished out, escaping without being pinned during the season.

Cory Hixson (35-7), Kyle Kostur (48-2), Mark Hastings (50-3), Travis Linsacum (50-3), Ryan Linsacum (50-3) and Ty Weber (46-5) were the Moffat County untouchables who protected their backs all season, only dropping matches by decision.

“The kids knew what was expected of them, and that’s to win,” Gutierrez said. “With us being one of the most aggressive teams out there, it all added up to a lot of pins.”

All-Conference honors are not voted on, but rather the honor is awarded to the top two wrestlers in each weight, in each conference. Since the regional meets held throughout the state can include schools from different conferences, a wrestler need not place a first or second at the regional meet to attain All-Conference recognition.

Though the Bulldogs achieved 11 All-Conference spots, qualified 13 wrestlers for state, won a state team championship, and set a new state pin record, only sophomore 145-pounder Ty Weber rose to the rank of individual state champion.

“We had great performances all year long, not only by kids we knew were going to win, but by those guys who were moved up to varsity at one point or another in the season, and really stepped it up,” Gutierrez said.

An example of a wrestler stepping it up is 103-pound Deric Dill, who took over for Kolt Lake, after Lake moved from Moffat County to Utah. Despite an 8-9 record, Dill earned All-Conference recognition, and was one of the 13 wrestlers who made it to state.

“It’s top-notch what these kids did this year, everyone did their part to make it a successful year,” Gutierrez said. “They know we expect them to win, but more so, they expect themselves to win.”