Cory Vigil knows his team needs him to make the 103-pound weight class as soon as the season resumes. His work to go down one weight class began this week at the team's voluntary open gym practices.
"It's going to take extra time (this week) and extra time after practice," he said. "I know we need it, though."
Vigil wrestled at 103 pounds in the first varsity meet of the season and finished 4-1. But after the tournament, he went to 112.
Freshman Craig Gearhart took over at 103 pounds but was injured in a non-wrestling accident during Christmas break.
On Wednesday, Vigil and nine other Moffat County wrestlers worked on technique and conditioning while the rest of the high school was quiet.
"We have to be here to get better," senior Korey Kostur said.
Dennis Fredrickson, a father of two former Bulldog wrestlers, is in charge this week. Colorado High School Activities Association's rules prevent coach Roman Gutierrez from being in the gym until next week.
Fredrickson has helped with the open gym time for eight years.
"My goal is to help them retain the shape they were in before break," he said. "January is full of notoriously challenging practices."
Ask any Moffat County wrestler who wrestled under Gutierrez, and they'll have a similar response to what sophomore Drew Turner said.
"The first week was especially tough," he said. "I never experienced anything like it."
The Bulldogs are aware this January may be legendarily hard.
"It's going to be 10 times harder," Kostur said. "That's because we didn't wrestle well at the Warrior."
The Bulldogs finished out of the top 10 at the Warrior Classic in Grand Junction for the first time in 10 years. Kostur was the only wrestler to place.
"We didn't wrestle smart," junior 189-pounder Nick Nav--ratil said.
"Now we have to step it up," 125-pound sophomore Matt Kincheloe said.
Despite the poor showing at the Warrior, the Bulldogs are still ranked in Class 4A's top five by On the Mat rankings. Navratil, junior Brice Boling (112 pounds) Kostur and senior 152-pounder Daniel Cramblett are ranked in the top four in their weight classes.
"Everybody can get better," Boling said. "At every level, we can improve."
January practices and this week's preparation are designed to make the team better.
"Roman's teams are known for being in the best shape of anybody at the state tournament in February," Fredrickson said. "They get there because of January."
The community can see the results from the first week of practice at the team's only home tournament. The Bulldogs host the Dogfight Duals Jan. 6 and 7 to open the second half of the season.