'Dog domination: Old Dogs teach new tricks

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"Moffat County, Moffat County," could be heard at Centennial High School in Las Vegas over the weekend but it wasn't because the Moffat County High School fans were cheering.

It was the wrestling team from the host school yelling at its teammates to do a certain move.

A move the MoCo wrestlers know as the "Mills" is known as the "Moffat County" to the wrestlers of Centennial, who were put into the head-lock pin many times in the previous five tournaments the Bulldogs have competed in.

"The first couple of years they came that move was something we hadn't seen and they pinned us with it many times," said Centennial coach Mike McGuire. "We have learned a lot from their program coming down to the tournament."

The Bulldogs have now won five of the six Bulldog Grappler tournaments, including this year's win in which the closest team was 160 points back. In the dual competition, the Bulldogs were 49-7 and they had eight champions.

"People will always come up and ask me how we keep getting so many good kids out with such a small school (Centennial has 4,500 students)," MCHS coach Roman Gutierrez said. "I usually point to the crowd and tell them to look at our support, which is usually bigger than the home crowd."

The Bulldogs weren't just wrestling all pushovers either. Centennial finished third in the largest class in Nevada last year and returned all but two wrestlers from that team. Esperanza, a team from California, is ranked in the top ten in a system that doesn't distinguish by classes.

"They're just too strong and too deep for us," said Centennial's Soren Peterson, who won the 160-weight class and was named outstanding wrestler for the middleweights. "They've taught us so much though, it makes us better."

Around the weight brackets outside the gym talk was about how dominating MCHS was, when the home crowd thought that Centennial had a strong program.

"The Centennial coach told me before the tournament that he thought this was a year they could challenge us for the title," Gutierrez said. "But we came out and wrestled like we were capable and probably taught them a few more things."

One thing the Bulldogs hope they taught was a pin called the "Sanders," which two MCHS wrestlers put their opponents in but the referees didn't recognize the move as a pin. It actually cost senior Ryan Hampton a match as he went on to lose by points after putting his opponent in the Sanders.

Before the trophy presentation, McGuire came up to a group of the Bulldogs and said, "I thought this was a rebuilding year for you guys? I guess you just rebuild every year."

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