After a tougher-than-expected Thursday night in Battle Mountain, where the Moffat County High School wrestling team won a dual with the Rifle Bears by one point, the triangular meet against Palisade and Steamboat Springs could have been considered a yawner.
The Bulldogs lost two total matches and both losses were with wrestlers who were wrestling up at least one weight class.
"I expected Palisade to be a little more competitive," coach Roman Gutierrez said. "But they are hurting a bit right now."
The Bulldogs handled Palisade with a 58-15 win, and then worked Steamboat Springs, 70-6.
In the Palisade dual, Moffat County freshman Levi Weber (103) moved up to wrestle 112-pound Zac Harvey and lost the decision.
"We've been trying to get Levi to stop trying to out-muscle his opponents," Gutierrez said. "He did a better job against the Palisade kid, who's pretty good, but he's learning."
Sophomore Daniel Cramblet was pinned by Rocko Weaver in the 145-pound contest. Cramblet has moved up to 145 from 135 to help the team and he was out-muscled by Weaver. During the match Gutierrez kept warning him not to tie up with his opponent because that's what cost him during the triangular in Battle Mountain.
"A day like this is good for the guys who are struggling a little bit," Gutierrez said. "Those young guys can learn from a little bit easier competition."
For the guys who aren't struggling, the day was rather laid back. At times, Bulldogs were earning takedowns and immediately letting their opponents up for more takedown practice.
"It's harder to prepare for an easy match because it is tough to be mentally focused," Scott Garoutte (215) said. "When you know it's going to be tough, you focus, but when the competition is easy, you just want to get it over as fast as you can."
Garoutte pinned both of his opponents in the first period. The Bulldogs finished the day with 14 pins.
Heavyweight Kyle Fredrickson pinned his only opponent of the day with a first-period flattening of Palisade's James Harris. Fredrickson has had a good week with a win over third- and fifth-ranked wrestlers in the state.
"Kyle is starting to get the confidence," Gutierrez said. "We need to work on him getting takedowns before he can be a threat at state."
The Bulldogs have one more dual before the regional tournament in Broomfield Feb. 13 and 14. The dual is in Delta.
"They have four solid wrestlers and other than that I'm not sure what they have," Gutierrez said. "It will be a good battle to end on."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org