Close win a wake-up call for wrestlers

The final dual of the weekend for the Moffat County wrestling team was a win against Rifle,but it wasn't a pretty one. Therefore, the Monday practice following the 34-27 victory wasn't a pretty one either.

"Our level of wrestling wasn't what it was the week before in Las Vegas," coach Roman Gutierrez said. "They didn't perform how we know they are capable of and we let them know at practice."

The Bulldogs won the dual-format tournament with four wins over Erie (61-13), Pueblo Centennial (58-18), Nulca (57-15), and Rifle. Without senior Ty Grandbouche (145) and junior Adam Evans (103-112), out because of illness, and freshman Korey Kostur (125) out because of a knee injury, the lower weight classes were shuffled for the tournament. Gutierrez said that the line up change was no excuse for the poor performance from the two-time state champions.

The Bulldogs were 9-5 in the dual and down 15-12 at one point.

"We put guys in there where we felt they could win," he said. "It was a chance for them to step it up but in some cases they didn't step up."

Junior Deric Dill found himself back on varsity at 125 and lost all four matches with decisions of 2-5, 0-5, 5-7 and 2-8. Junior Jesse Brookshire saw another chance back on the varsity mats at 135 and he went 2-2 on the weekend, including the clinching win in the Rifle dual, 5-2.

Varsity wrestlers Jason Mosher and Kaleb Brown moved up a weight class for the weekend with mixed results. Mosher went 1-3 at 145 while Brown was 4-0 in 140s.

"Brown responded the best of the guys who we put in there in a different spot." Gutierrez said.

On the weekend, the team had an uncharacteristic 17 losses with Brown, seniors Ty Weber and Trevor Sloan, and sophomore Eric Fredrickson the only grapplers without losses.

Wrestlers with one loss were Sophomore Scott Garoutte (215), Sophomore Brent Chamberlain (189), junior Charlie Martinez (160), freshman Steven Englert (103) and senior Brandon Duarte (171), who dropped to 1-2 against the state's second-ranked wrestler in his weight class, Anthony Alfini of Rifle.

Gutierrez said he thought his talk with the team on Monday emphasized that this week was a turning point in the season.

"I challenged them to turn the corner and wrestle like state champions the rest of the season," he said. "That challenge can be taken one of two ways, either, 'I'll show him what I'm capable of,' or, 'I don't know if I can do this.'"

The Bulldogs have a chance to show their coach and themselves which way they are going to go with two competitions this weekend. Moffat County hosts a triangular with Meeker and Battle Mountain at 6 p.m. Thursday and travel to Palisade Saturday for a triangular against Steamboat and Palisade at 11 p.m.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.

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