MCHS grappler Jake Blevins only notable finish for Bulldogs at Warrior Classic
Results from the Moffat County High School varsity wrestling team’s performances Friday and Saturday in the Warrior Classic at Colorado Mesa University:
(Name — weight — overall record — place)
• Ashlee Griffiths — 106 — 2-2 — DNP
• Brayden Peterson — 138 — 0-2 — DNP
• Garrett Stewart — 145 — 1-2 —DNP
• Jake Blevins — 160 — 3-3 — Sixth
• Jesse Demoor — 170 — 2-2 — DNP
Jake Blevins was handed a tall order this season as the only senior on the Moffat County High School wrestling team.
After last season’s squad included five seniors, Blevins is one of only a handful of returning wrestlers this year.
But, his performance Friday and Saturday in the Warrior Classic at Colorado Mesa University can go a long way to helping develop the young team, coach Roman Gutierrez said.
Blevins was the only Bulldog to place in the 32-team tournament, finishing in sixth place with a record of 3-3 in the 160-pound weight class.
“Jake surprised me by being more aggressive than I anticipated,” Gutierrez said Monday. “He didn’t back down from a lot of good opponents and proved to himself he could wrestle with anyone.
“I was very pleased with his effort, and even when he lost, he was aggressive.”
Gutierrez said Blevins’ biggest improvement early in the season has been the work he does on his feet.
“(Blevins) has got more aggressive on his feet,” he said. “He would usually stand back and have (his opponents) come to him, but he dictated the matches this time.
“He showed a lot of improvement in every position and had a great tournament.”
The Bulldogs took just five wrestlers to the Warrior Classic and took four to a junior varsity tournament at Fruita-Monument High School.
Gutierrez said he wanted wrestlers to compete against wrestlers with similar experience.
“The Warrior Classic is a really big tournament with really good individuals,” he said. “I took the five I thought would progress through the tournament and face competition with a similar ability level.
“Instead of the young guys getting eliminated Friday and sitting around Saturday, they got to wrestle.”
Freshman Ashlee Griffiths, sophomores Jesse Demoor and Brayden Peterson and junior Garrett Stewart made the trip with Blevins.
Griffiths and Demoor finished 2-2, Stewart went 1-2 and Peterson went 0-2.
Gutierrez said he brought Griffiths and Demoor because he thought they were two of the best newcomers this season.
“Ashlee won every match last week and might be wrestling the best on the team right now,” he said. “I like the style Jesse wrestles with and I think if he competed in the JV tournament, he would walk through it, so I wanted him to see some competition.
“They all have their work cut out for them, but these are the five wrestlers who can make a run at the state tournament in February.”
Peterson and Stewart may not have done as well as they had hoped, Gutierrez said, but the competition level may have been the best they will see all season.
Each bracket had around 28 wrestlers competing for the top six places.
“At the Warrior, you run into some good and outstanding kids,” Gutierrez said. “Everyone is improving all the time, and while it may not be big improvement, hopefully they come away with confidence.”
The Bulldogs don’t return to action until Jan. 6 for the Las Vegas Tournament.
Gutierrez said each wrestler needs to take away positives from the Warrior Classic.
“They need to look at who beat them and what they can do to keep improving and give themselves the best opportunity to get to state,” he said. “Getting aggressive on their feet and working for more pins will help them to keep improving and to get tougher.”