John Vandelinder: Bulldog beat


John Vandelinder

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

I returned from my vacation Sunday eager to find out what happened on the Moffat County High School sports scene.

Let's take a look at what I learned:

Cross Country

The Bulldog runners top the beat this week in the fall season's first rankings.

After a strong showing against some stiff competition on the Front Range, MCHS ran through Grand Junction. Senior Alicia Nelson is dominant so far this season, as I had predicted, winning her second individual title in the season's first three meets. The boys did well despite injuries to two of their top runners, but when Corey Wojtkiewicz and Charlie Griffiths return, look for the boys team to try and steal some of Nelson's glory.


The highest an MCHS rodeo team has ever been ranked in the beat, and why not?

While most of the other team's were losing, the Bulldog cowboys and cowgirls got the job done.

Eric Fleming made me look good while I was gone, winning the senior boys bareback competition in Cortez, as well as claiming the all-around title.

I predicted in the fall sports preview Fleming would win all four of the team's rodeos this fall. He's sitting in first place overall in the state with 74 points.


The Bulldog ball-strikers did just about the same thing they've done all season: finish in the middle of the pack. The Bulldogs finished eighth in Steamboat and sixth at home last week.

The top-three of Nick Moyer, Taylor Branstetter and Mark Dockstader continue their model of consistency by shooting in the low 80s, but I was hoping for a stronger finish at the team's two most frequently visited courses.

The team must learn from today's round in Aspen, because the state regional tournament begins Sept. 23 on the same links.


Class 3A Western Slope Conference


Conf Overall

Glenwood Springs 1-0 3-0

Palisade 1-0 3-0

Steamboat Springs 1-0 2-0

Rifle 1-0 1-1

Montezuma-Cortez 0-0 2-0

Delta 0-1 1-1

Battle Mountain 0-1 0-2

Moffat County 0-1 0-2

Eagle Valley 0-1 0-3

MCHS lost a nail-biter Friday to Rifle, in a game I mentioned as "one to watch" in the fall sports guide. Boy, I am sorry I missed it.

Did Pablo Salcido get into the end zone? I guess I'll never know.

What I do know is that if not for the two bad snaps that led to Rifle touchdowns, the Salcido thing wouldn't have been an issue.


Class 4A Western Slope Conference


Conf Overall

Steamboat Springs 0-0 4-0

Glenwood Springs 0-0 3-3

Battle Mountain 0-0 1-1

Delta 0-0 1-1

Rifle 0-0 0-0

Moffat County 0-0 1-2

Eagle Valley 0-0 1-3

Palisade 0-0 0-1

A promising sweep of visiting Rangely in the team's season-opener revealed to me a kink in the Bulldogs armor that I had hoped wouldn't show while I was gone.

So much for that.

This year's team hasn't had the vocal leadership last year's team did, and they are paying for it.

Swept at the hands of Grand Junction Central and Meeker, yes little 2A Meeker, the Bulldogs need to regroup, and fast, when Rifle visits Thursday in MCHS' conference-opener.


Class 4A Western Slope Conference

standings Conf Overall

Steamboat Springs 2-0 4-0

Battle Mountain 2-0 3-0

Eagle Valley 1-0 4-0

Glenwood Springs 1-1 1-2

Rifle 1-1 1-2

Delta 0-0 0-0

Palisade 0-3 1-4

Moffat County 0-2 0-2

The Bulldogs lost a close game to Rifle, 3-1, and were introduced to the class of the league when they were overmatched by Battle Mountain, 6-1.

First-year coach Rusty Cox is going to have to find some scoring from this year's lineup but give this team time to gel in a new system.

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or


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