Moffat County High School junior Jesse Brookshire's first varsity-match jitters lasted about a minute. That's how long it took him to pin his opponent in the Bulldogs' first duel of the season.
"With my first varsity match, it was a little nerve racking," said Brookshire, who pinned his opponent with 51 seconds remaining in the first period. "But once I got out there, it was just wrestling."
By the luck of the draw, it looked like the Union High School wrestling team from Roosevelt, Utah, was going to be a challenge for Moffat County for about 15 minutes. Then it became evident that the duel was going to be a lopsided victory for the Bulldogs.
"With the matches starting at the 160 weight class, Union had several of their stronger wrestlers up against our new guys and they earned a couple of wins," coach Roman Gutierrez said. "But when we got to the meat of our lineup, the tables turned."
Through the first six matches, both teams had three victories with the Bulldogs picking up wins from Charlie Martinez, (160), who grabbed a pin at 1:43 in the first period, Brandon Duarte, (171), who had a pin at 1:36 in the second period. Trevor Sloan, (215), won with a technical fall, 20-2, at 1:20 in third period.
The Cougars picked up wins from Josh Farnsworth, (189), who defeated Brent Chamberlain, 10-6, Justin Dean (heavyweight), who defeated Kyle Fredrickson, 7-3, and Garret Cloward, (103), who defeated Steven Englert with a pin with 44 seconds remaining in the second period.
Cloward's win over Englert was a reversal and then a pin with the Bulldog freshman leading the match, 7-2, and in control at that point in the match.
The apparent upset had the Union crowd on its feet and with the score, 17-12, in favor of MCHS, they were feeling pretty good about their chances. The cheering pretty much stopped there.
Seven of the next eight matches resulted in pins for the Bulldogs. The only non-pin came from Bryan Hampton, (119), who opened a 7-2 lead in the first period, but ran out of gas and had to pull out a takedown in the extra period to get the 10-8 win.
"We're still getting into shape and feeling things out," Gutierrez said.
"We'll see an improved team each time out on the mat this year starting with tomorrow's duel at home."
The seven pins in the "meat" of the Bulldog order came from Eric Fredrickson, (112), Korey Kostur, (125), Jesse Brookshire, (130), Kaleb Brown, (135), Jason Mosher, (140), Ty Grandbouche, (145), and Ty Weber, (152).
Brookshire, Brown and Mosher opened up their first full varsity seasons Thursday night.
Mosher said the first big test would come tonight in the team's opening home duel.
"There will be more pressure Friday night with the home crowd watching," he said. "It is more important to perform strong in front of your friends and family."
There was a crowd of 25 to 30 MCHS fans at UHS to watch the Bulldogs open up the season with a win.
"With seven guys stepping on the varsity mats for the first time tonight, I thought we wrestled pretty well," Gutierrez said.
"Once the weekend is over, we'll have a better idea of what we need to work on."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.