Wrestling accolades come in all forms.
State meet invitations, medals, trophies, scholarships and ribbons are usually what wrestlers can expect as reward for a good performance.
Belts, however, are usually reserved for another type of wrestling or boxing.
Not in Highlands Ranch.
During the Mountain Vista Survivor Series on Friday and Saturday, the Moffat County High School boys varsity wrestling team had two grapplers finish 10-0, and win belts for their weight classes.
Senior Nathan Tomlin and junior Charlie Griffiths, two returning Bulldog state performers, each opened their season with a belt, riding identical 10-0 records to claim first place in the 152- and 140-pound classes, respectively.
But, are belts something Griffiths and other wrestlers would expect from placing first?
“No,” he said. “It’s just for this tournament. I don’t know of any other tournament where they give out belts. It’s definitely unique.”
Tomlin, who moved up from the 135-pound class to 152 pounds, was looking to start his senior season on a positive note.
“It was pretty good — I felt good at the weight I was at,” he said. “State last year for me was not good. I was sick the whole time I was there.”
This year, Tomlin has big plans.
“I just need to get off to a good start, take state and go on to senior nationals,” he said.
For Griffiths, this year represents a chance to improve on last winter’s performance at state.
“I won my first match, lost my next two,” he said of his sophomore state campaign. “It was a disappointment, I have to work harder this year.”
With some of the bigger meets, like the Dec. 18 Warrior Classic in Grand Junction looming, getting momentum will only help him, Griffiths said.
“I’m looking to get back, get started and get some confidence back,” he said. “Since I didn’t do very well at state, I needed to get some confidence going into wrestle the (Warrior Classic).”
The competition wasn’t at state level in Highlands Ranch, Griffiths said, but his duels allowed him to tune up for the season.
“I had three byes the first day, so it wasn’t too bad,” he said. “There were some good kids for me. For other weights, like for Cody’s (Nelson) weight, there was some good competition.”
Without looking too far into the schedule, Griffiths said his fast start was what he envisioned for the weekend.
“I’m looking to just keep up the dominance and keep winning matches,” he said. “Just take it one match at a time.”
Griffiths said the belt will take a place on his wall.
The Survivor Series has always had a similar prize for its top finishers, Tomlin said.
“Last year when we went, that’s what they gave out,” he said. “I knew that’s what I was going to get.”
Like Griffiths, Tomlin will keep his newly-won belt hanging on a wall.
And on the wall the belt will remain, Tomlin said.
“No, I haven’t worn it,” he said. “No, I’m not going to.”