In the first national meet of the year, the Bad Dogs Youth Wrestling team was able to hang in with tough competition.
Coach Rodney Klimper said the Oct. 31 Monster Match in Denver brought out some of the best wrestlers Moffat County's young grapplers would see in the early season.
But even the best couldn't bring out the worst in his wrestlers.
"They were dealing with the best of the best kids," he said. "It's always unfortunate when you lose, but I think it was definitely one match where you can learn a lot in a loss."
This time around, the nine Bad Dogs at the meet learned to be gracious opponents, Klimper said.
"One of the things I've notice is that when our kids lose, it hurts - you can tell they're sad about it," he said. "But you see some of these other kids that throw tantrums when they lose, and our kids don't. Even when they lost, they came back and fought hard the next match and never gave up."
Wrestling in the Denver Coliseum might have added some pressure on the Dogs.
"This was the first tournament for a few kids," Klimper said. "You can always tell a new wrestler, because they are a little in awe."
Some returning wrestlers made noise, however.
In the boys division, Mikinzie Klimper picked up a third-place finish, Shandon Hadley had a fourth-place finish, while Ashlee Griffiths, Mikey Bingham and Austin Magnuson all had sixth-place finishes.
Griffiths also finished first in the girls division.
"The coaching staff is definitely proud of all our kids," Klimper said. "They wrestled hard, but they just got stuck on the wrong side of the bracket."
The Bad Dogs will continue their season at 10 a.m. Saturday in Granby.
This time, the team should be at full strength, Klimper said.
"We should have a large contingent," he said. "Some of the kids from Meeker will be there, and a lot of the kids were sick but are healthy now and ready to show up."