Wrestlers not perfect but still in first

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GRAND JUNCTION -- For 25 seconds, Daniel Cramblett saw his senior wrestling season flash before his eyes.

That's how long he spent on his back in the closing moments of his match against Palisade's Landon Barnes. Then the referee blew his whistle and the 152-pound Moffat County wrestler sighed a huge breath of relief.

103-pound Cory Vigil

112-pound Brice Boling

119-pound Jake Breslin

145-pound Korey Kostur

152-pound Daniel Cramblett

171-pound Clancy Garoutte

189-pound Nick Navratil

One-loss wrestlers:

125-pound Matt Kincheloe

130-pound Chris McAlexander

135-pound Lyle Schaffner

140-pound Drew Turner

160-pound Trenton Duarte

215-pound David Hickson

"That was way too close for comfort," he said after he was thrown to his back with a 10-4 lead. "Everything I've worked for was almost ruined because I stopped thinking smart."

Several other Bulldogs may have stopped thinking in the second round Friday of the Class 4A Regional Wrestling Tournament. Six wrestlers lost in the round, but when the mats cleared, all 13 Moffat County wrestlers advanced to today's portion of the tournament. Cramblett's survival against Barnes made the difference between first and second place in the tournament. Moffat County leads Palisade 88 to 85.5 after Day 1.

"I thought some of our guys wrestled tight," coach Roman Gutierrez said. "When they did that, they didn't have a lot in their performance."

For the most part, the Bulldogs wrestled according to their seed. No Moffat County wrestler who was ranked higher than their opponent lost, and only one Bulldog (No. 6 Clancy Garoutte pinning No. 3 Nick Croissant of Glenwood Springs) beat a higher seeded opponent.

On paper it makes sense, but Gutierrez expected some of his guys to wrestle above their seed.

"We are about where we should be, but we can be more aggressive," he said. "We're going to need some big things from our guys in consolation if we want to win this tournament."

If Friday night was any indication, the Bulldogs are on the right track in the consolation bracket. All six of Moffat County's wrestlers who lost in the second round came back to pin their next opponent. Those winners were: Matt Kincheloe (125 pounds), Chris McAlexander (130 pounds), Lyle Schaffner (135 pounds), Drew Turner (140 pounds), Trenton Duarte (160 pounds) and David Hickson (215 pounds.)

Every Moffat County wrestler advanced in the first round, but only three actually wrestled. The original brackets had seven Bulldogs scheduled to wrestle, but eight weight classes were changed Friday because of overweight or ineligible wrestlers. The adjustment to the brackets left only three Bulldog wrestlers with matches in the first round.

"It was hard because some of our guys were pumped and ready to wrestle but then they had to have to sit out for a round," Cramblett said. "It took its toll on some of our younger guys."

Brice Boling (112 pounds) was one of the guys to receive a bye after planning to wrestle in the first round. Unlike others, it didn't affect his outcome negatively as he earned a technical fall against Delta's Aaron Lujan, 16-1.

Today, Boling has to come out even more ready. He faces Rifle's James Conrardy, who beat him 12-6 in a dual two weeks ago.

"I was sloppy the first time (against Conrardy)," Boling said. "Everybody (on the team) needs to wrestle as near to perfect as they can (Saturday)."

Bulldogs with perfect records in addition to Cramblett and Boling are: Cory Vigil (103), Jake Breslin (119), Korey Kostur (152), Garoutte (171) and Nick Navratil (189).

Gutierrez said he expected four of those guys to advance to the finals today.

Palisade has eight wrestlers in the semifinals, but they are wrestling shorthanded after 103-pound and No. 3 seeded wrestler Lucas Harvey didn't make weight Friday.

Golden finished the day in third place with 76 points, followed by Montezuma Cortez with 67.5 and Delta with 63. Golden has six wrestlers remaining in the championship bracket, including 103-pound wrestler Brooke Sauer, who is trying to become the first girl to qualify for the state tournament in Colorado history.

Wrestling begins today at 9 a.m. The Bulldogs are attempting to win their eighth-consecutive regional tournament.

"All of those byes made us look flat," Gutierrez said. "I hope that they come out (today) and have more life."

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