The Moffat County High School varsity wrestling team traveled Thursday to “America’s Playground,” otherwise known as Las Vegas.
However, the trip West has nothing to do with recreation. The Bulldogs are there to work.
The Bulldogs are competing in the Las Vegas Tournament, the second day of which is today.
MCHS wrestling coach Roman Gutierrez said the tournament gives his wrestlers a look at competition they don’t regularly face.
“The team gets to see a lot of different wrestling styles they won’t see in Colorado,” he said. “We pretty much know a lot of the teams we face around Colorado, so it is nice to get different looks.”
Teams from California and Nevada compete in the invitational, Gutierrez said, allowing his wrestlers a chance to gain more experience.
On Friday’s first day, 12 teams competed in a dual-meet tournament, with six teams in two different pools.
Gutierrez said the top four wrestlers at each weight class in both pools would advance to an individual tournament today.
Because the win-loss records in the dual meets determine whether a wrestler advances to today’s tournament, Gutierrez said he had less freedom with moving wrestlers around.
“Because of the way the tournament is ran, wrestlers stay in one weight class,” he said. “I don’t feel it really changes things because with the kids we have, they are pretty much set in their weight classes.”
While the Bulldogs always want to compete for first place at any tournament, Gutierrez said the Las Vegas Tournament is more about the experience.
“The kids really like to come down here and they compete as best as they can,” he said. “We want to get as much experience as we can and improve on their abilities.”
While his five senior wrestlers — Cody Adams, Kye Adams, Charlie Griffiths, Cody Nelson and Ben Winslow — have a good chance at placing in the individual tournament, Gutierrez said he hopes all his wrestlers, including the younger athletes, show well.
“We have a lot of young guys, like freshman Brayden Peterson, who can do well in the end,” he said. “They can put to use what they learned in practice and keep getting better.”
Leading up to the tournament, the Bulldogs worked on conditioning, Gutierrez said.
The man goal of the team heading into the tournament was to keep improving, he said, and to prepare themselves for regional and state tournaments in February.
“All the kids put in hard work to get the chance to go to (Las Vegas),” Gutierrez said. “They will compete and do very well at the end of the weekend.”
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