Streaks are made to be broken, and Saturday was the day for Moffat County to have winning streaks broken.
The Bulldogs lost their first dual of the year against a Colorado team at Rifle's Rumble in the Rockies. Junior Korey Kostur also lost his first match of the season.
Class 5A Eagle Crest's strength in the middleweights was too much for Moffat County. Eagle Crest took a 24-0 win after pins in their first four matches from 112 to 130 pounds. The final pin was a surprise for the Bulldogs, with senior 130-pound Eric Fredrickson leading in the third period when he was reversed and stuck by sixth-ranked Rocco DePaolo.
It was only the third time in Fredrickson's high school career that he had be pinned.
Eagle Crest had five pins in the match.
"Our young guys seem to be done when they get on their backs," Gutierrez said. "We lost 18 matches and were pinned in 12 of them. There's no excuse for that."
The Bulldogs lost by one point, 39-38, to the team that On the Matt Rankings places 12th in Class 5A.
The wrestlers were quick to point out several reasons other than the pins for the loss.
Moffat was without two of their better heavyweights. Senior 171-pounder Brent Chamberlain injured his shoulder in the dual against Meeker on Thursday. Sophomore 189-pounder Nick Navratil sat out the week with a cast on his thumb.
Both wrestlers hope to be back for the regional tournament during the first week of February.
"The difference between us winning the tournament and finishing third was the absence of those guys," Gutierrez said. "What matters is that they're healthy on Feb. 4th."
Palisade won the tournament with a 5-0 dual record and 269 points. Meeker was second with 241 points and an undefeated record.
Moffat scored more points, 261, than Meeker, but the Cowboys were able to defeat Eagle Crest to stay undefeated in the dual-format tournament.
Brice Boling, 103 pounds; Daniel Cramblett, 135; Shayne Zimmerman, 160; Scott Garoutte, 215; and Kyle Fredrickson went undefeated.
Cramblett was 5-0 with five pins.
Moffat County was 37-18 in matches for the day with 30 pins.
In their winning duals, Moffat beat Berthoud, Pueblo West, Elizabeth and Pueblo Centennial.
All Bulldogs won at least one match.
The final regular-season action for Moffat County will be Thursday night in Gypsum with a triangular against Steamboat Springs and Eagle Valley.
Kostur's first loss
One of the more anticipated matches of the tournament came bright and early.
In Moffat's first dual against Pueblo West, the Bulldogs pinned in their first five matches. Then, Kostur and Pueblo West's Nick Ross shook hands. The match was between the No. 2 140-pounder in 4A vs. the No. 1 145-pound wrestler in the class.
Ross earned the first takedown, but Kostur escaped and earned his own takedown before the period expired. Kostur earned another takedown in the second but Ross had two escapes to make the score 5-4.
The move of the match came late in the second period.
Kostur took Ross to the mat with a headlock, but the West wrestler rolled with the headlock and put the Bulldog to his back. Kostur quickly got to his knees but Ross was awarded two for a takedown and two near fall points.
The No. 1 wrestler led 8-5 at the start of the third period.
Kostur escaped from the referee's position at the whistle in the third, and for the remainder of the period, the two did the takedown tango.
Ross was called for stalling with 52 seconds left to bring Kostur within one point, 7-8.
With time running our Ross was called again for stalling when he was holding on to Kostur's legs for dear life.
During the first overtime, neither wrestler scored.
The second overtime was a 30 second period that had the wrestlers start in the referee's position. If the wrestler on the bottom escapes, he wins. It the wrestler on top holds, he wins.
The wrestler who scored first would take. Ross chose bottom.
Ross squirmed and flipped and fought and with 8.7 seconds left in the overtime, he escaped.
"Each of us had calls made in our favor that were questionable," Kostur said.
"But he was tough, and I'd like to see him again."
According to Gutierrez, whether the two will meet again is up to Kostur.
"We'll talk about which weight he wants to be at this week," the coach said. "I think he can make the finals in either weight. He has to decide which one he wants to be in."
Kostur could stay at 140 pounds, at which returning state champion Corey Swanson of Fort Morgan awaits. Or he could go up to 145 where he has defeated the second-ranked wrestler, Chris Best of Eagle Valley, 7-3.