MCHS senior wrestlers prepare for regional tourney

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If you go

What: 4A regional wrestling tournament

When: 1 p.m. today, and 9 a.m. Saturday

Where: Mesa State College, 1100 North Ave.

• Admission is $6 for adults and $5 for students each day

No matter how many times Charlie Griffiths wrestles in the big matches, he said nerves always play a factor.

The Moffat County High School senior has wrestled in the Colorado 4A state meet all three years of his career, placing sixth as a freshman and third as a junior, and hopes to make it 4-for-4 after this weekend.

The MCHS wrestling team will compete today and Saturday in the 4A regional tournament at Mesa State College.

The Bulldogs are led by five seniors — Griffiths, Cody Nelson, Ben Winslow, and Cody and Kye Adams.

“As seniors, we realize that everything we have worked at in our high school career comes down to just two meets,” Griffiths said. “State is what we have been working for.”

Griffiths is the only senior to have placed in the state meet. Nelson went to the state his sophomore year, and Winslow and Cody Adams went their junior year, but none of the three placed.

“I used to get dominated as a freshman,” Griffiths said. “I always had to fight back to win matches, but now I have fine-tuned areas to not allow that to happen.”

When the Bulldogs usually travel to Mesa, they are competing in the Warrior Invitational. Winslow said it would be an adjustment getting ready for the regional tournament.

“Usually when we go to Grand Junction, we are wrestling in the Warrior tournament, which is one of the toughest and most serious tournaments of the year,” he said. “Wrestling in regionals as a senior means everything.”

While Griffiths is ranked first in the 152-pound weight class with a 40-3 record, Nelson, who is 28-7, said he probably has the toughest bracket at 125 pounds.

“In our region alone, the 125-pound weight class has the second, third and fifth ranked wrestlers in the state,” Nelson said. “If I get the seeding right, I think I have a pretty good chance of making it out and to state.”

Nelson said the ability to control his temper on the mat has helped his technique.

“Through the years, I have become more in control on the mat,” he said. “Your opponent wants you to lose control, so not doing so has made me a better wrestler.”

Winslow, who is 23-10, said he has wrestled three guys from his 215-pound weight class this season and all three were losses.

“I think those three matches were my worst of the year,” Winslow said. “I am looking forward to facing them again and getting revenge.”

During his freshman year, Winslow quit the wrestling team. He returned for his sophomore year and said he hasn’t looked back.

“From when I first started wrestling to now, I have totally revamped my technique,” he said. “I was one of the worst wrestlers my sophomore year and then my junior year I went to state and now as a senior I am confident in my abilities.”

Kye (140 pounds) was injured midway into his sophomore year and missed his entire junior season to injury as well.

Now, as a senior, Kye, who is 17-15, said his sights are set on the state meet.

“Most guys improve through their four years, but being off the mat for most of my career, I don’t think I have,” he said. “I am definitely stronger and bigger and I am pretty good at reversals.”

As a freshman and senior, Cody Adams, who has a 31-4 record, said he went through his initiation and it helped him reach his potential in his senior year at 189 pounds.

“I got my butt kicked by my senior teammates in my first two years,” he said. “I learned a lot and it actually taught me a few things.”

All five seniors said they expect to travel to Denver together for the state meet Feb. 17, 18 and 19.

Winslow said it has been a goal all year, and there is no experience like wrestling against the best Colorado has to offer.

“State is the greatest experience,” he said. “Coming out in front of all the fans knowing you are going to wrestle in front of all them is scary, but it is the best.”

The regional meet will start at 1 p.m. today and 9 a.m. Saturday.

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