Wrestlers aim for state title

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All season the Bulldogs varsity wrestling team has answered every challenge thrown at them.

One challenge still stands a state championship. That quest runs Thursday through Saturday at the Colorado High School State Wrestling Championships in Denver at the Pepsi Center.

The Moffat County High School (MCHS) team, ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 4A, wants to bring back the first state title since 1994.

With 10 wrestlers who earned a fourth place finish or higher last weekend at the Class 4A West Region tournament in Grand Junction, the title is possible.

"The kids in practice last night we were really loose," said coach Roman Gutierrez on Tuesday. "They feel confident and they look confident. If they wrestle like they did last weekend then good things will happen."

Bulldogs who qualified for the state meet are sophomore Mark Hastings (36-3) at 112 pounds; sophomore Kyle Kostur (32-5) at 119 pounds; sophomore Travis Linsacum (34-5) at 125 pounds; sophomore Ryan Linsacum (37-4) at 130 pounds; freshman Ty Weber (19-6) at 135 pounds; senior Kurtis Kostur (35-1) at 140 pounds; sophomore Cody Fredrickson (20-8) at 145 pounds; senior Jeremiah Noland (35-3) at 152 pounds; senior Coalin Hume (28-6) at 160 pounds and senior Kevin Field (21-14) at 171 pounds.

"I thought that we could take that many kids," said Gutierrez. "We will just take one match at a time and hopefully this will be the peak end of the whole deal."

According to Gutierrez, the Bulldogs, who ran away with the Class 4A West Region Tournament last weekend by more than 40 points, will be challenged for the top prize by Alamosa, ranked No. 1 in the state and CaCity, ranked No. 3 in the state.

"CaCity has 11 kids and Alamosa has eight kids that qualified," said Gutierrez. "Coming back for Alamosa is a two-time state champion, a runner-up, fourth and a sixth place finisher. They have a good nucleus of wrestlers to bring to the table."

In the third week of the season, MCHS claimed the 32-team field at the Warrior Classic. One of those teams in the field was Alamosa, but they were short-handed.

"We beat Alamosa by 40 points in the Warrior Classic," said Gutierrez. "They didn't have their state champion in there and so you have to put 30 points almost back in their program.

The team score would have been very close. CaCity has a well-rounded team and a senior-dominated team."

A year ago at the state meet, Noland finished in second place at 145 pounds, Kurtis Kostur was third at 140 pounds and Hastings was fifth at 103 pounds.

Field and Kyle Kostur participated, but did not place.

"We are taking some kids that have never been there before," said Gutierrez. "Those kids I feel will wrestle really well over there."

Kurtis Kostur, aiming for his first title, can't wait to wrestle.

"I am ready to get this over with," said Kostur. "I have been looking forward to this the whole season.

All the other tournaments have just been a warm-up. I think that I am ready for it. We will just go out this weekend and hopefully do what we have been doing. Hopefully, we will pull this one out.

We need to not let the whole state thing scare everybody and just go down and wrestle like we can."

According to Noland, if the Bulldogs wrestle to their potential then everything will work out.

"We worked hard all January and we are taking it pretty easy right now to get ready for state," said Noland. "We just need to win matches and everybody do their part."

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