Roman Gutierrez's goal for his wrestling team at this weekend's Regional meet in Ralston Valley is a familiar one.
"We always go in it to win it," the Moffat County High School coach said. "That's our goal every year."
Last year was the first time in eight seasons the Bulldogs didn't return to Craig with the title Regional champs. Gutierrez is confident the team can reclaim the title this year, though he believes it will be a three-team race among Moffat County, Palisade and Rifle.
"We have a good team," he said. "We're looking to bring (the title) back. Like we told the team after that Rifle meet," which the Bulldogs lost last week, "we have to get that respect back. Winning the regional meet would bring some of that respect back. But we will have to wrestle well.
"I expect them to win. I think they expect to win."
The coach also has a more important goal for the meet.
"We want to get kids to state," he said. "It doesn't matter if they are one through four. If we win the region, that is just icing on the cake. Our main focus is to qualify kids for state. Even with some of the kids who have lower seeds, I feel most of them should come through and place in that top four in the tournament, and get a ticket to the state tournament."
The Bulldogs enter the Friday-Saturday tournament with three No. 1 seeds: Brice Boiling at 119 pounds (34-1 record with 19 pins); Jake Breslin at 125 pounds (31-5, 19 pins); and Nick Navratil (36-0, 25 pins), who is the team's lone returning regional champion.
Bulldog 112-pounder Cory Vigil (26 wins, 15 pins) and 171-pounder Trenton Duarte (28-8, 17 pins) enter as No. 2 seeds.
Levi Weber (24-8, 11 pins) has a No. 3 seed at 140 pounds.
Other Bulldogs competing at the meet include:
- At 103 pounds, Brandon Maigatter (11-21)
- At 130 pounds, Matt Kincheloe (24-6, 18 pins)
- At 135 pounds, Troy Vernon (6-6, 3 pins)
- At 145 pounds, Drew Turner (18-13, 10 pins)
- At 152 pounds, Jake Bricker (15-13, 5 pins)
- At 160 pounds, Lyle Schaffner (14-13, 11 pins)
- At 215 pounds, Josh Satterwhite (21-12, 7 pins)
- And in the heavyweight division, David Hickson (20-12,13 pins).
"They know what is store for them," the coach said. "They know what they have to do. This is the heart of their season, and everybody is healthy."