Introducing the 2009 Moffat County High School wrestling team. Pictured, back row, from left, are Kye Adams, Scott Mann, Todd Stewart, Asay Crofts, Nick Chew, Nathan Tomlin, Matt Linsacum, Charlie Griffiths, Cody Adams, Ben Winslow, Cody Nelson and Justin Zufelt. In the front row, from left, are Wyatt Uptain, Trent Enochs, Jesse Maneotis, Garret Stewart, Jake Teeter, Jake Blevins, Jake Bingham, Justin McAlexander and Hunter Richardson

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Introducing the 2009 Moffat County High School wrestling team. Pictured, back row, from left, are Kye Adams, Scott Mann, Todd Stewart, Asay Crofts, Nick Chew, Nathan Tomlin, Matt Linsacum, Charlie Griffiths, Cody Adams, Ben Winslow, Cody Nelson and Justin Zufelt. In the front row, from left, are Wyatt Uptain, Trent Enochs, Jesse Maneotis, Garret Stewart, Jake Teeter, Jake Blevins, Jake Bingham, Justin McAlexander and Hunter Richardson

MCHS wrestling looks poised to prove last year was a fluke

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Matt Linsacum holds Nathan Tomlin in a headlock during the first practice of the 2009-10 wrestling season. Both seniors are expected to lead the team with their experience.

At a glance

Coach: Roman Gutierrez

Returning seniors: A.C. Crofts (11-16, six pins in 2008-09), Nate Moon (2-11), Nathan Tomlin (30-5, 18 pins), Matt Linsacum (31-12, 20 pins), Scott Mann (18-10, 11 pins), and Todd Stewart (10-12, seven pins)

Boys varsity wrestling

TBA Dec. 4 away Mountain Vista (tournament)

TBA Dec. 5 away Mountain Vista (tournament)

1:30 p.m. Dec. 11 away Union High School

TBA Dec. 18 away Warrior Classic

TBA Dec. 19 away Warrior Classic

TBA Jan. 8 away Las Vegas (tournament)

TBA Jan. 9 away Las Vegas (tournament)

TBA Jan. 15 away Green River (tournament)

TBA Jan. 16 away Green River (tournament)

TBA Jan. 23 away Rifle Tournament

TBA Jan. 28 away Meeker High School

TBA Feb. 6 away All-League Meet in Rifle

TBA Feb. 12 away Regionals

TBA Feb. 13 away Regionals

TBA Feb. 18 away State tournament

TBA Feb. 19 away State tournament

TBA Feb. 19 away State tournament

Boys junior varsity wrestling

TBA Dec. 5 away Steamboat Springs tournament

1 p.m. Dec. 11 away Union High School

TBA Dec. 12 away Rifle High School

TBA Dec. 19 away West Grand High School

TBA Jan. 9 away Hotchkiss High School

TBA Jan. 15 away Green River (tournament)

TBA Jan. 16 away Green River (tournament)

TBA Jan. 23 away Grand Junction High School

TBA Feb. 4 away Hayden High School

Although the team sent three grapplers to the state meet, the 2008-09 Moffat County High School varsity wrestling season did not go according to plan.

Injuries derailed the Bulldogs at times, and the team wasn’t able to get rolling.

Barring injuries, this year should be different.

There are six seniors on the team, compared to last year’s two.

The promising young wrestlers a year ago are a year older, and the team that sent three grapplers to state last year returns almost unchanged.

Coach Roman Gutierrez said the caliber of seniors returning gives him early season hope.

“We have a good group of seniors, so as far as leadership goes, we should be in very good shape,” he said. “Last season was one of our worst, so hopefully it goes a lot better this year.”

The reason for the Bulldogs’ struggles was aggravating because it wasn’t avoidable, the coach said.

“We were just hurt at different points of the year and it made it tough,” Gutierrez said. “We never seemed to be healthy, and we just didn’t gel last year.”

This year, the team will build around solid senior wrestlers and promising junior grapplers.

Seniors A.C. Crofts (11-16, six pins in 2008-09 regular season), Nate Moon (2-11), Nathan Tomlin (30-5, 18 pins), Matt Linsacum (31-12, 20 pins), Scott Mann (18-10, 11 pins) and Todd Stewart (10-12, seven pins) all return for their last high school season on the mat.

Joining the seniors this year will be junior standouts Cody Nelson (40-5, 24 pins in 2008-09 regular season), Kye Adams (16-11, 11 pins), Charlie Griffiths (43-5, 15 pins), Cody Adams (23-21, 12 pins) and Ben Winslow (12-21, six pins).

Stewart will be wrestling in the 152-pound weight division this year.

“I think we will do well,” he said. “We have a lot of seniors and a good team bond.”

Stewart said wrestling is more of a team sport than meets the eye.

“As much as it is an individual sport, it’s a team sport because you’re all working to win a duel,” he said. “You know what you’ve been through with your teammates and you’re going to work harder to get those points for your team.”

To help his team, Stewart said he will have to be dialed in for his senior year.

“Last year, individually, I didn’t do as great as I wanted to,” he said. “This year, I need to work on getting off the bottom.”

Mann said the returning grapplers give the Bulldogs hope for the upcoming season.

“I think we will have a pretty solid core of guys,” he said. “A lot of kids are back from last year, and we’ll only have a couple of kids in the lower weights with less experience who will need to step it up a little bit.”

Last year did not end the way Mann, who wrestles in the 171-pound class, had planned.

“I was beat out at regionals in the last round to a kid that I pinned previously in the season,” he said. “This year, we have to make it to the state tournament and anything can happen.”

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