Roman Empire: Gutierrez the winningest high school wrestling coach in state history

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Roman Gutierrez

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Front row, from left: Cody Pacheco, Cody Nelson, Gharrett Kohr, Aaron Nielson, Ethan Kinner, Todd Stewart, Nate Moon, Kye Adams, Jacob Blevins and Brent Juergens; back row, from left, Matt Linsacum, Cody Adams, A.C. Crofts, Nathan Tomlin, Troy Vernon, Nick Chew, Jesse Breslin, Charlie Griffiths, Halen Raymond, Scott Mann, Ben Winslow and Chance Peterson.

Move over Dan Juergensen, Roman Gutierrez is flying by.

Gutierrez, Moffat County High School wrestling coach, is officially king of the mat.

Here's how it happened.

Jan. 24 was an average day for Gutierrez.

The Bulldogs were wrapping up their presence in the Rifle Invite, finishing off the event with a 42-30 dual meet win against Eaglecrest.

In other words, it was a typical day in Gutierrez's storied 27-year coaching career.

That is, until he got home.

Fiddling around with his 1980s IBM computer - like he's done so many times before - Gutierrez stumbled upon an intriguing statistic: the win against Eaglecrest was No. 377 in the 52-year-old's career, surpassing Thompson Valley High School's Juergensen (376) for most dual meet wins all-time in Colorado state high school history.

"When you have good kids that win, those things just seem to happen, I guess," Gutierrez said. "We've just been fortunate to have good kids.

"It's not me. It's we. If you don't have good coaches, and the kids don't want to do it, then things like this don't happen."

When Gutierrez began his career at Moffat County in 1982, he'd be the first to tell you he never thought he'd still be coaching, let alone becoming the winningest wrestling coach in the state.

"I didn't think that at all," he said. "I really like coaching and working with the kids. It's something that I've enjoyed forever. I've always wanted to make it as enjoyable to the kids as it has always been for me."

Gutierrez never won a championship as a high school wrestler at Meeker, or as a college wrestler at Western State College in Gunnison.

But, when he became coach at MCHS, the wins became contagious.

Team state titles were won in 1985, 1994, 2001, 2002 and 2003, and Gutierrez coached 18 individual grapplers to state championships, as well.

"It's been a real good ride," Gutierrez said. "I hope to continue. I think I'll probably teach for three or four more years, but I'd like to coach beyond that."

Now sitting at 379 wins and 59 losses, Gutierrez's .865 winning percentage ranks fifth all-time. He holds six of the top seven positions in dual meets won in a season (28 in 2001-02, 28 in 2004-05, 27 in 2008-09, 24 in 2002-03, 23 in 2005-06 and 21 in 2003-04), is third all-time in state placers (114), and is fourth all-time in most state qualifiers (201).

And, Gutierrez's 27 years at the MCHS helm is tied for 10th all-time.

It took Juergensen 35 years to achieve 376.

"I guess that says something about staying the course," Gutierrez said. "We've been coaching the same way since I started. The state championship team from my third year was coached the same way I coach the kids today."

It seems to be working.

The 1994 and 2001 Bulldog teams are third (204) and fourth (197), respectively, in most points scored at a state tournament.

And his aggressive style of coaching has earned him some more accolades.

The 2002 team is second all-time in takedowns during a state tournament, (74) and the '94 squad is tied for most pins all-time in state tournament history (21).

So what's left for the wrestling coach who seems to have done it all?

"400 is right around the corner," he said. "Then, I guess it's on to going for 500."

Comments

calvinhobbs 5 years, 10 months ago

Outstanding job Roman. You and Mort are a class act!

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Chuck Malley 5 years, 10 months ago

Good stories about two good men. Roman my friend, Craig Mortensen's picture was much better than yours! Congratulations and thank you to both Roman and Craig for their years of selfless dedication to the young men and women of Moffat County.

Chuck Malley...Bend, Oregon

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