Before 19,918 people at the Pepsi Center in Denver, the Bulldogs varsity wrestling team finished third in the Class 4A team standings of the Colorado High School State Wrestling Championships.
Moffat County High School had seven of 10 wrestlers place in the three-day event, amassing 126.5 points. CaCity took home the team title with 153.5 points and Alamosa was second with 128 points. Valley from Greeley, Colo., finished in fourth place with 80 points and Grand Junction Central was fifth place with 77 points.
"I thought that we wrestled well in the tournament, we just ran into some tough guys in the finals," said Bulldogs coach Roman Gutierrez. "CaCity just came through the back door. They scored a lot of their points in the consolation rounds and that was the difference."
Bulldogs wrestlers posted three second-place finishes, one third place, one fourth place, one fifth place and one six place finish.
"We had five sophomores who placed," said Gutierrez. "They gained valuable experience. We will reload and we will be back next year."
Taking second-place honors for the Bulldogs were sophomore Mark Hastings (38-4) at 112 pounds; sophomore Cody Fredrickson (24-9) at 145 pounds and senior Jeremiah Noland (38-4) at 152 pounds.
"We just didn't have enough guys in the finals to win," said Fredrickson. "We have five sophomores on the team that placed and we will be good for the next two years."
Finishing in third place was senior Kurtis Kostur (35-7) at 140 pounds. Kostur, who was seeded No. 1, was upset, 10-8, Friday night in the semifinals by senior Chris Carrilo (36-3) of Pueblo Central. Kostur bounced back, earning a first period pin against junior Nick Walling (24-10) of Palisade in 51 seconds and blanking senior Chad Barton (32-2), 5-0, of Widefield to win his second third place medal in as many years.
"After the match Friday, I knew that my chance for a state championship was gone, but I wanted to come out and show everybody and myself that I could still wrestle," said Kostur. "I watched the kid that I beat 5-0 earlier in the tournament. He was pretty strong and he had some good moves. It was a tough match."
Sophomore Ryan Linsacum (38-6) finished in fourth place at 130 pounds. Freshman Ty Weber (22-9) was fifth at 135 pounds and sophomore Travis Linsacum (38-6) ended up in sixth place at 125 pounds.
Other Bulldogs wrestlers who competed were sophomore Kyle Kostur (35-7) at 119 pounds; senior Coalin Hume (29-7) at 160 pounds and senior Kevin Field (23-15) at 171 pounds.
The lack of a team title didn't stop the Bulldogs from reflecting positively on the championships and looking to the future.
"I feel pretty good about placing fifth as a freshman," said Weber. "The next couple of years I will work on being more aggressive on takedowns."