The Bad Dawgs Wrestling Club of Craig has been dominating the Intermountain League in Colorado. That domination is not expected this weekend in Las Vegas.
"We're probably going to get a whoopin'," said coach John Mann. "But the exposure to tournaments like this is what makes us better."
The club is taking 14 of 47 members to the open national tournament. The Las Vegas National is one of four national events the Bad Dawgs compete in. The first was the Rocky Mountain National Monster Match tournament in November. The top finishers in that tournament were Nathan Tomlin and Jake Bingham, who both finished fourth in a tournament with wrestlers from 37 states. At the national tournaments, the brackets get as large as 64 wrestlers.
"We had several in the top 10 who were just a win or two away from the medal matches," Mann said. "I hope to see the same thing in Vegas."
The Bad Dawgs wrestle almost every weekend from the end of September to the middle of April. The current Intermountain League is dominated by the Bad Dawgs according to Mann.
"We have 22 regular wrestlers in the Intermountain and it is rare that anyone doesn't come home with at least a bronze," he said.
Mann credits some of the success to the amount of volunteer coaches his program has.
"We have six to eight coaches working with them," he said. "The individual attention is great for raising the next generation of Moffat County High School wrestlers."
Most of the club leaves Thursday morning for the national tournament.
"We're fortunate to have four national tournaments in our backyard," Mann said. "When you can drive to a national tournament that is in Denver or Salt Lake City or even Las Vegas that is pretty nice."
When the Intermountain League concludes this winter, the Bad Dawgs will join the Western Suburban League for the late winter and spring wrestling. The top wrestlers will also attend two more Rocky Mountain National tournaments in January and March.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org