Even when the Moffat County High School wrestlers were supposed to be out-manned Thursday night in Gypsum, they showed they could hang.
Two Bulldogs lost by a total of four points to two higher-ranked wrestlers, and five of the eight ranked Bulldog wrestlers who made the trip won for MCHS.
The Bulldogs traveled to face Steamboat Springs and Eagle Valley in their final regular season matches. The Bulldogs earned the best score in both duals, beating Steamboat, 66-12, and Eagle Valley, 42-24.
The final dual of the season was against the highest-ranked 4A opponent the Bulldogs have dueled all year. According to "On the Mat Rankings," the Bulldogs are sixth in Class 4A and the Devils are seventh. The Bulldogs have nine ranked wrestlers, and the Devils have seven.
The ranked individuals didn't match up often. With Moffat County's 171-pound senior Brent Chamberlain (ranked seventh) out with injury (he would have faced Eagle Valley's sixth-ranked Brendan Best), only three matches featured two ranked wrestlers.
For the second time this season Moffat County's Korey Kostur bested Eagle Valley's 145-pound Chris Best, who is ranked second. The score was 5-1.
"Korey controlled the match most of the way," Moffat County coach Roman Gutierrez said. "Best was defensive. He's a better wrestler than that, but he didn't shoot."
Eagle Valley's top-ranked B.J. Jaramillo defeated 10th- ranked Brice Boling in a close match throughout.
Boling had Jaramillo on his back and had him "tight" in the first period, Gutierrez said.
The 103-pounder from Eagle Valley escaped the pin and rolled Boling to his back during the second period.
During the third period, Jaramillo protected his lead from the bottom position despite Boling's attempts for near-fall points.
In one of the closest matches of the dual, Eagle Valley's 160- pounder, Chris Harvey, who is ranked third, narrowly defeated Moffat County senior Shayne Zimmerman, 4-3.
"That was a close one throughout," Gutierrez said. "I thought we had him on his back but didn't get the count at one point. Shayne has wrestled all of the top guys in the region close.
"Hopefully, when regionals come around, he'll be ready to get some wins."
The 160-pound weight class is one of the best in the Western regional.
Harvey, Delta's Anthony Laurita, Palisade's Tyler Barnes and Alamosa's Craig Rogers are ranked in the class.
In other matches in which ranked wrestlers met, Eagle Valley's ninth-ranked Kylan Kottenstette, defeated 12th-ranked Trenton Duarte in the 152-pound match, 5-0; the Devil's fourth-ranked Mason Ewing was disqualified against Cody Norman in the 140 match for throwing the Moffat County sophomore on his head.
Freshman Matt Kincheloe, 119; senior Eric Fredrickson, 130; junior Daniel Cramblett, 135; senior Scott Garoutte, 215; and senior Kyle Fredrickson, 275 were undefeated for the night.
The Bulldogs have a week off before they head to the regional tournament in Montrose on Feb. 4.
Vail Daily correspondent Andrew Harley contributed to this story.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com.