A little more than a month since his wrestlers' first contest, and Moffat County High School coach Roman Gutierrez is pleased with where his team is at.
"Everyone has responded to my expectations," he said. "We don't have the God-gifted athletes. We just have the hard workers in room. We do have some kids with a lot of talent, but the thing that I'm really pleased with right now is their work ethic."
Gutierrez expects that work ethic to continue.
December was when Bulldog wrestlers furthered their progress on technique. January's focus is on conditioning.
"Now the hard work begins, and we'll see what they're made of," Gutierrez said. "And we'll go from there."
Moffat County's first stop in 2007 -- the Bulldogs' home tournament, the Dog Fight Duals Wrestling Tournament, a five-team dual tournament that begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
Teams competing are MCHS, Florence, Grand Junction Central, Meeker and Denver East.
"On paper, it looks like Florence has quite a few kids who are ranked, but of course, they are a division lower than us," Gutierrez said. "It looks like they have a lot better team than they've had in the past."
The Bulldogs have already faced Central once this year, and "they have a good handful of kids," the coach said.
Denver East's team was at the Warrior Classic, but because it was a tournament-style meet, Gutierrez said he didn't know a lot about the squad.
The coach said Meeker has some top-quality kids, but may not be as deep as in years' past.
Bulldog varsity wrestlers at the meet include:
- At 103 pounds, Brandon Maigatter
- At 112 pounds, Cory Vigil
- At 119 pounds, Brice Boling
- At 125 pounds, Jake Breslin
- At 130 pounds, Matt Kincheloe
- At 135 pounds, Chris McAlexander
- At 140 pounds, Levi Weber is likely to get the nod, but he could switch spots with Drew Tuner at 145 pounds
- At 152 pounds, Jake Bricker
- At 160 pounds, Lyle Schaffner
- At 171 pounds, Trenton Duarte
- At 189 pounds, Nick Navratil
- At 215 pounds, Josh Satterwhite
- In the heavyweight division, David Hickson
Given January's focus on conditioning, Gutierrez expects to see his athletes wrestle tired not just Saturday, but for the rest of the month.
"We may not be really shiny the first couple of meets because they'll be working on weary legs," he said. "As far as where we want to go, I think we're heading in the right direction. I just don't know if we have enough horses to compete with some of the upper teams (when state rolls around). But if heart and desire has anything to do with it, we might be right in there come February."