Bulldogs win with authority

MONTROSE -- When a Moffat County High School wrestler won Friday, he won convincingly.

The Bulldogs were 14-5 during the first two rounds of the Class 4A regional. Thirteen of their wins were by pin and the 14th was a 16-1 technical fall by freshman 119-pounder Matt Kincheloe.

"That's the way Moffat County wrestling has always been," 160-pound senior Shayne Zimmerman said. "Tomorrow we'll probably have most of our wins by pin, too."

Zimmerman trailed in his match 4-2 before pinning Glenwood Springs' Mike Mastrianni in the second period.

"I watched him in his first match, and he just sat there and pressed his head against his opponent," Zimmerman said. "He surprised me when he came out and attacked right away."

Zimmerman will be one of eight Bulldogs in the semifinals starting at 9 a.m. today.

Chris McAlexander was one of two Bulldog underclassmen to make it to the semis. He pinned Steamboat Springs' Houston Mader in the third period after the Sailor led most of the match. Mader pinned McAlexander a week ago in a dual.

"I had him locked up last time," the 125-pound Bulldog said about his previous loss. "But I couldn't roll him."

The first-year varsity wrestler is only one win from qualifying for the state tournament.

"I have a tough kid tomorrow, but I just have to wrestle him the best I can," he said.

His opponent is second-seeded, eighth-ranked David Lopez of Montrose.

In a matchup that doesn't happen often on the first day of a regional tournament, first-ranked Scott Garoutte and second-ranked Jake Finnegan faced off. Neither wrestler scored in the first period, but in the second, Garoutte showed why he is the defending state champion.

He caught Fennigan in the Sanders and then changed to a tighter hold for a pin.

Other wrestlers to move onto the semifinals Friday night were: sophomore Brice Boling (103 pounds), senior Eric Fredrickson (130), junior Korey Kostur (140), senior Brent Chamberlain (171) and senior Kyle Fredrickson (275).

"I thought we wrestled about as good as we could've," coach Roman Gutierrez said. "I would still give Montrose the inside edge for the title."

Montrose was in the lead after the first two rounds with 97.5 points. The Bulldogs were in second with 91.5. The Indians had 10 wrestlers move into the semifinals.

All 13 Moffat County wrestlers were still in the tournament after Friday. Five of the Bulldogs picked up one loss.

Sophomore Jake Breslin lost 8-3 to second-seed Jeremy Ortega of Jefferson in the 112 class. Freshman Matt Kincheloe (119) lost by technical fall, 18-2, to top-seed Thomas Foley of Delta. Junior Daniel Cramblett (135) just missed a last-second reversal in a loss to Rifle's Timmy Long, 6-5. Sophomore Trenton Duarte (152) lost 11-1 against top-seed Matt Aten of Glenwood Springs. Sophomore Cody Norman (145) was the only wrestler to lose in the first round. Despite putting Ralston Valley's Joey Graham on his back twice, Norman couldn't get the win.

"The only match I thought could have gone the other way was Cramblett's," Gutierrez said. "I had hoped he would wrestle a little better against the Rifle kid."

Gutierrez said he hoped to see four of five of his wrestlers get into the finals today.

"I think we're still about on track to send nine to state," he said. "We're going to have to wrestle well in wrestle-backs if we want to catch Montrose."

Key matches the coach could see for the semifinals are at 103 pounds (Boling versus Montrose's Cutter Garrison), 130 (Eric Fredrickson versus Rifle's Tyler Thompson), 160 (Zimmerman versus Delta's Anthony Laurita) 171 (Chamberlain versus Eagle Valley's Brendan Best) and 275 (Kyle Fredrickson versus Montezuma Cortez's Will Delgado).

"Kyle and the Cortez kid is basically the championship match," Gutierrez said. "It will be a good one."

The championship matches will begin at 6 p.m.

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