Craig At practice Monday, Moffat County High School assistant wrestling coach Ron Linsacum attempted to light a fire under the Bulldog wrestlers.
His face was red, and veins popped out of his forehead as he lit into the team.
"We got our butts beat," he told them, referring to the weekend results from the Warrior Classic. "We can't just walk onto the mat and think our tradition will win for us. Nobody is going to lay down for us. We have to earn respect."
The Moffat County High School varsity wrestling team competed Friday and Saturday in the Warrior Classic, a tournament coach Roman Gutierrez called "a tune up for the state championship."
The Bulldogs didn't fare as well as Gutierrez and Linsacum had hoped, failing to place any wrestlers in the medal rounds at the state-wide meet in Grand Junction.
"We just didn't get it done," Gutierrez said. "We wrestled tough, but the other guys were tougher. I'm disappointed, but I think the kids are more disappointed than I am."
In the 28 years Gutierrez has been at the helm, he said he's never had a team not place in the annual event.
"It's never happened as long as I've been here," he said. "It's not going to get any easier from here on out, either."
Cory Vigil, winner of 10 consecutive matches leading up to the Warrior Classic, was eliminated after losing his first two matches.
Josh Satterwhite and Matt Kincheloe progressed the deepest into the meet, but each fell before reaching the medal rounds.
"Virgil is one of our best athletes," Gutierrez said. "He wasn't mentally prepared. Matt is our leader. Him and Josh were one win away from placing. They have got to start making it happen."
Gutierrez said at the beginning of the season his team's results are based on hard work. This season is no different.
"These guys work really hard to give themselves an opportunity to win," Gutierrez said. "But, it takes more than that. They need to believe they can do it. It's all about confidence."
The Bulldog wrestling program has won five state titles during Gutierrez's tenure, and he said he believes this group is capable of winning number six.
"There is two months left to go in this season," he said. "We have a lot of time to get it figured out. These guys have to realize it's up to them to figure out how far they want to go. Each has an opportunity to do something great."
Despite being shut out of the tournament hardware, the Bulldogs put the weekend behind them and are moving on.
"We didn't have a good weekend," Gutierrez said. "But, the sun came up today, and it will come up every other day. We'll have to wait and see what happens."
Moffat County will have a two-week break until Jan. 5, when it hosts the Dog Fights Duals Wrestling Tourney.
Junior varsity places sixth in West Grand
The varsity wrestling team competed against some of the stiffest competition in the state at the Warrior Classic this past weekend, and the junior varsity squad followed suit.
The junior varsity Bulldogs traveled to West Grand High School on Saturday to compete against varsity competition in its fourth meet of the season.
The Bulldogs placed sixth out of 16 teams.
"We had a pretty good outing, but we made a lot of mistakes," junior varsity coach Mark Voloshin said. "I'd say I'm in between pleased and disappointed when it comes to the results."
Freshman Cody Nelson placed second in the 103-pound weight class, the highest finish by a Bulldog at the meet.
"When Cody gets on the mat, he really brings it," Voloshin said. "All in all, we will learn from our mistakes and do what it takes to fix them."