John Vandelinder

Photo by John Vandelinder

John Vandelinder

John Vandelinder: The week in review for Bulldog sports

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John Vandelinder

John Vandelinder's columns appear Tuesdays and Fridays in the Craig Daily Press. E-mail him at jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

— Finally, some action. After nearly a month-long sporting lull, the Moffat County winter sports scene is in full swing. The Bulldog Hockey Club continued its winning ways and the high school girls basketball, wrestling and swimming teams competed in their season openers.

Let's take a look:

Hockey

The Moffat County Bulldog Hockey Club tops the beat this week.

The Bulldogs tore through visiting Telluride this past weekend. This was a matchup I reminded sports fans to watch out for in the recently released Winter Sports Guide (if you haven't got one, I suggest you do).

Moffat County gave some insight on the season ahead, blowing by the Cattle Kings by a combined score of 15-0 in a Saturday doubleheader.

The Bulldogs lead the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League with a 4-0 record, and they aren't just beating teams.

They are pounding them.

I know the season is young, but the team leads in just about every statistical category, offensively and defensively.

Seven of the top 10 scorers in the league are from Moffat County, led by senior Scott Smith, who has six goals in four league games.

Bryce Ponikvar and Spencer Wayman are 1-2 in goalie ratings. Ponikvar has two shutouts to lead the league, with a save percentage of 1.000 and a goals against average of .000. Those kind of numbers are staggering.

The team has outscored the opposition by a combined tally of 27-2 to start the year, and if this keeps up, this team will contend to the end.

Girls basketball

Coach Craig Mortensen's group of ballers claim runner-up status this week.

The Bulldogs traveled to Utah during the past weekend - with mixed results.

Moffat County took home second place, which isn't too shabby. The team has a lofty No. 5 state ranking, which won't take a hit despite the loss in the Uintah tournament championship game, to defending Utah 3A state champion Wasatch High School.

Seniors Angie Charchalis and Markie Workman showed why they have been hyped this preseason as two of the best in the Western Slope League.

Charchalis dropped in 64 points throughout the three games, and Workman contributed another 46.

The problem I see in the future is the two combined to score 63 percent of the team's points.

Squads throughout the league will throw multiple defenders at one or the other player.

Who is going to be that solid No. 3 scoring option?

Who is going to help relieve some of the pressure off of Moffat County's two all-state players?

Someone named Charchalis or Workman will have to hit a big shot sooner or later.

Swimming

The Bulldogs swim team opened the season Saturday in Grand Junction to a nice, relaxing meet. There were three normal league relays and seven other events for fun.

Moffat County was late arriving to the contest but not to the finish line in the day's first event.

The Bulldogs captured first place in the 200-medley relay, barely missing the state qualifying time of 2:05:30.

Not a bad way to start the year. The team will have all season to qualify for state in their chosen events, and considering the early pace of the team, and the time left on the schedule, Bulldog swimmers should be making waves in the pool all year.

Twins Caitlin and Kelsey Conci are in their final year as Bulldogs. It will be interesting to see how far the duo can carry this young team and whether they can improve on stellar years of the past.

Wrestling

Coach Roman Gutierrez, who has five championships under his belt, and the Bulldogs competed Saturday at Fruita High School, placing fourth out of six teams that participated.

This was somewhat disappointing to me.

I had circled this meet in the Winter Sports Preview as an event to watch closely.

The Bulldogs entered the tournament with a No. 10 state ranking and left with their tails between their legs.

Moffat County isn't as strong as years past on paper, and Saturday's contest proved that theory correct.

Gutierrez told me the inexperience of his team was obvious, as revealed in the results.

If anyone can whip these boys into shape, it's Gutierrez. You don't win like he has without learning patience and resolve.

Senior Cory Vigil was a bright spot for the Bulldogs. The No. 8 ranked wrestler in the state for the 119-pound weight class, tore through his competition Saturday.

Vigil pinned all five wrestlers in a combined time of 13:59.

Against Vigil, you're pinned in less than three minutes.

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