Photo by David Pressgrove

The brotherhood

Five seniors have grown up together on the wrestling mat

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Roman Gutierrez

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The Moffat County varsity wrestling team is, front row from left, Bow Richardson, Brayden Peterson, Owen Nichols, Ben Winslow, Casey Barnes and Dru Nielson; back row, from left Garrett Stewart, Charlie Griffiths, Cody Nelson, Bob Meyers, Jake Blevins, Kye Adams and Cody Adams.

2010 wrestling varsity schedule

Day Date Opponent Place Time

Friday Dec. 3 @ Mountain Vista Tournament Denver TBA

Saturday Dec. 4 @ Mountain Vista Tournament Denver TBA

Friday Dec. 10 @ Cougar Duals Union High School TBA

Friday Dec. 17 @ Warrior Classic Mesa State 10 a.m.

Saturday Dec. 18 @ Warrior Classic Mesa State 10 a.m.

Friday Jan. 7 Las Vegas Tournament Las Vegas TBA

Saturday Jan. 8 Las Vegas Tournament Las Vegas TBA

Friday Jan. 15 Green River Tournament Green River, Wyo. TBA

Saturday Jan. 16 Green River Tournament Green River, Wyo. TBA

Tuesday Jan. 18 Palisade HOME 6 p.m.

Saturday Jan. 22 Rifle Tournament Rifle High School TBA

Thursday Jan. 27 Hayden Hayden High School 6 p.m.

Thursday Feb. 3 Meeker HOME 6 p.m.

Friday Feb. 4 Eagle Valley Eagle Valley High School TBA

Early in his coaching career, Roman Gutierrez had a mentor told him something that has proven true during the Moffat County High School wrestling coach’s successful career.

Those words were that if each class of kids can have four or five consistent wrestlers the team will be strong. During Gutierrez’s state championship years that was the case. This year Gutierrez’s senior class of Charlie Griffiths, Cody Nelson, Kye Adams Cody Adams and Ben Winslow represent that ideal.

“These guys represent a lot of time on the wrestling mat,” Gutierrez said. “It’s a good nucleus to build with.”

The five seniors represent more than 450 varsity matches during their high school careers. Their experience goes deeper than that, as all five have been wrestling since their singlet tag read “extra small.”

“We’ve probably watched each other wrestle thousands of times,” said Griffiths.

“We have spent a lot of time on the road together,” Nelson added. “We work hard during the match and then hang out and have fun together after it’s over.”

Kye Adams is the only of the five seniors to not have qualified for the state tournament. He sat out most of his junior year because of back surgery. He’s back this year and ready to get his state-tournament wings.

“Growing up in Pee-Wees you want to go to state in high school,” Kye said. “I think all five of us can make that happen this year.”

This group of seniors grew up idolizing the state championship teams at the turn of the century. They all know of the Kosturs, Linsacums and the Tys (Weber and Grandbouche) to name just a few of the local legends. They know what it was like when Moffat County wrestling was nearly unstoppable.

A lack of depth in the junior class might keep the Bulldogs from dominating teams like the teams they grew up watching, but Gutierrez sees some potential in his young team.

“We have some sophomores and freshman who will be stepping into spots normally for upperclassmen,” he said. “We might take some baby steps early, but I think we’ll know more by Christmas how good we can be.”

The seniors lead the way in the Bulldog wrestling room. This year’s group is starting to adjust to that responsibility this year. The seniors had the strongest showing in the team’s first meet, the Survivor Series at Highlands Ranch. Winslow placed third, while Cody Adams and Griffiths each finished second and Nelson claimed first.

“It’s kind of lonely,” Nelson said about being the elder statesmen on the mat. “You have been pushed your entire career and now the only ones to push you are each other and nobody older.”

Winslow appreciates the way the five seniors have come together.

“This is more a brotherhood than a sport,” he said. “It’s just natural that we like each other because we work hard together.”

Griffiths owns the bragging rights among the seniors when it comes to success. He was sixth as a freshman and third last year at the state tournament. He said he thinks the best way a senior can help the team is to win his individual matches.

“Individual success helps the team as much as anything,” he said. “We have to go out there with the mentality that we are going to get a pin for ourselves and our teammates.”

Winslow and Cody Adams learned to win at the varsity level last year. They qualified for the state tournament for the first time.

“We got our feet wet,” Winslow said. “Now we want to step up more.”

Kye and Nelson have had a rivalry since they can remember putting on a singlet.

“Growing up I really didn’t like Cody,” Kye said. “We were a big rivalry and we were always the same weight.”

This year they will push each other in the wrestling room, but Nelson will wrestle at 125s and Adams will likely be at 135s.

All five agree that they think that success will be measured for their class by how the season ends.

“I think we could have five state champions,” Griffiths said.

“I’m going to lower that a bit and say we should all at least qualify for state,” said Nelson.

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