Finally perfect

Six Bulldogs have flawless finishes at Palisade Invitational

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With six wrestlers in the finals of the Palisade Invitational, Moffat County High School wrestling coach Roman Gutierrez was going to be satisfied with three champions. Instead, his team wrestled to a 100 percent success rate.

"I would have been happy with half of our guys winning," he said. "But we got rolling, and things worked out."

The Bulldogs has six champions, and four other placers on their way to their first tournament victory of the season Saturday. The Bulldogs scored 205 points, with the next closest opponent, Eagle Valley, scoring 165.5 points.

Moffat County champions were senior Eric Fredrickson, 130; junior Daniel Cramblett, 135; junior Korey Kostur, 145; senior Brent Chamberlain, 171; senior Scott Garoutte, 215; and senior Kyle Fredrickson, 275.

"I surprised myself," said Cramblett, who won his first varsity tournament. "I pushed myself the entire time each match and I hadn't done that before."

Cramblett pinned a previously undefeated Max Garihan from Denver East in the semifinals and then defeated Battle Mountain's Rudy Frausto, 10-9, in the final.

"Cramblett really got things done this weekend," Gutierrez said.

Chamberlain defeated Denver East's Morty Zareie, 11-0, in the title match after losing to him 12-5 in the Dogfight Duals the previous week.

Korey Kostur moved up a weight to 145 and may stay there after a stellar performance. Kostur defeated two wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in 4A for the title, including second-ranked Chris Best, 7-3, in the final.

Kostur is expected to stay at the 145-pound class through the week.

Eric Fredrickson defeated Hotchkiss's Brandon Sullivan, ranked seventh at 125 in Class 3A, in the semifinals before winning his final by technical fall 16-1 against Denver East's Michael Batsford.

Garoutte and Kyle Fredrickson continued their dominance of the upper weights in the month of January.

Garoutte hasn't had a lot of work against quality competition since the Warrior Classic in December. The theme continued Saturday, when an expected challenge against Fruita Monument's Tyler Ryan didn't happen because Ryan suffered a knee injury. Garoutte did defeat Hotchkiss's Dusty Carver, the third-ranked wrestler in 3A, in the final.

"We're trying to make sure Scott wrestles guys into the third period to get him some conditioning because he hasn't had a lot of matches," Gutierrez said.

Other Bulldogs who placed were sophomore Brice Boling, third at 103; freshman B.K. Cramblett, fourth at 125; sophomore Trenton Duarte, fourth at 152; and senior Shayne Zimmerman, third at 160.

Boling came back to pin Gunnison's Calyn Miller after losing to him earlier in the tournament. Gutierrez said that Zimmerman was one mistake away from getting into the final but was unable to beat Palisade's Tyler Barnes in the semifinals.

The elder Cramblett said he thought the Palisade tournament showed his team's ability to continue improving.

"We talked as a team about pushing throughout the match, and I think it helped," he said. "The young guys continue to improve, and our upperclassmen are getting tougher."

The Bulldogs will have a chance to test their improvement Thursday as they take on Meeker in a dual. The two-time-defending Class 2A state champions broke the Bulldogs' two-year winless streak in duals last year with a 36-35 win in Meeker.

Gutierrez wasn't about to guarantee a win, because he didn't think his Bulldogs matched up well in a dual format against the Cowboys.

The match is scheduled to go down at 7 p.m. Thursday at MCHS.

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