A triple crown winner.
A national title.
More than 7,000 miles traveled to attend more than 22 tournaments.
A .622 winning percentage.
These are just some of the reasons the Craig Bad Dogs youth wrestling team had what coach Rodney Klimper called the team’s most successful season in its nine-year history.
“This has been, by far, the best year for the Bad Dogs,” he said. “This year saw us take a team title at a national meet, and we finished third in Vegas.”
Overall, the team won 1,236 matches against 751 losses, with 578 pins and 175 first-place finishes.
Deven Mosman became the first Bad Dogs wrestler to win a triple crown, which is achieved by winning three Rocky Mountain National tournaments.
On Jan. 23, the Bad Dogs took first place at the Richfield (Utah) Beehive Brawl, which was the first time the Bad Dogs had won a national event.
But, the wins on the mat don’t stack up to how the kids are off the mat, Klimper said.
“The biggest thing is, they are not just great wrestlers, but they are great kids,” he said. “At all the tournaments we go to, other coaches come up and tell us how well behaved our kids are.”
The Bad Dogs’ season started in October 2009, but even after six months on the mat, the wrestlers weren’t ready to quit, Klimper said.
“They started to get tired near the end, but they never gave up,” he said. “They kept fighting.”
Compared to other years, the Bad Dogs’ success came from a more team-oriented approach, Klimper said.
“There was a larger focus on the team this year,” he said. “Kids volunteered to wrestle at different weights so they wouldn’t have to wrestle teammates.
“As coaches, we couldn’t be prouder.”
The team also had 12 wrestlers reach the 40-win plateau.
Thomas Baker (50-9), Corbin Beck (41-6), Mikey Bingham (49-16), Daniel Caddy (45-11), Shandon Hadley (65-12), Gregory Hixson (55-11), Kaden Hixson (55-5), Mikinzie Klimper (62-9), Chris Moschetti (41-20), Mathew Moschetti (40-17), Luke Pleasant (41-9) and Dagan White (47-26) all reached the 40-win mark.
This year also saw a number of older kids step into leadership roles, which bolstered the Bad Dogs, Klimper said.
“This is the biggest core group we’ve had,” he said. “There were a lot of new kids who came in and did well and proceeded to fall in love with the sport.”