Matt Moschetti, 12, tries to turn his opponent Saturday in the Fifth Annual Bad Dogs Classic wrestling tournament at Moffat County High School. More than 85 Craig Bad Dogs and Pee Wee wrestlers competed in the tournament, with 11 wrestlers finishing in first place.

Rodney Klimper/Courtesy

Matt Moschetti, 12, tries to turn his opponent Saturday in the Fifth Annual Bad Dogs Classic wrestling tournament at Moffat County High School. More than 85 Craig Bad Dogs and Pee Wee wrestlers competed in the tournament, with 11 wrestlers finishing in first place.

Craig youth wrestling programs wrap up season at home tournament

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Results

First place Craig finishers from the Fifth Annual Bad Dogs Classic wrestling tournament Saturday at Moffat County High School:

(Name — age group — weight class)

• Noah Duran — 4 and under — 35-38

• Will Steward — 4 and under — 39-42

• Cody Baker — 6 and under — 40-43

• Garret Anson — 6 and under — 67-78

• Anthony Duran — 8 and under — 50-53

• Dagan White — 8 and under — 53-56

• Luke Pleasant — 8 and under — 56-58

• Elias Peroulis — 10 and under — 107-111

• Drew Rothermund — 12 and under — 56-66

• Matt Moschetti — 12 and under — 81-85

• Deven Mosman — 12 and under — 124-133

Matt Moschetti got up off the mat in pain after the second period Saturday at Moffat County High School.

Moschetti, 12, was competing in the last match of the Fifth Annual Bad Dogs Classic wrestling tournament and was leading, 10-8, heading into the final period.

But, the bell saved the Bad Dogs’ wrestler as his opponent had him in a cradle at the end of the period.

“It was a pretty hard match,” Moschetti said. “I got hurt at the end of the second period, but I got him in the third.”

Moschetti attacked first in the third period, got his opponent on his back and scored the pin to finish with a perfect 4-0 record in the 12 and under 81- to 85-pound weight class.

More than 85 Craig Bad Dogs and Pee Wee wrestlers competed in the tournament with more than 800 total wrestlers from all over the state.

Bad Dogs wrestling coach Shane Hadley said the tournament was the last event the wrestlers will compete in this season.

“After eight months, the Bad Dogs looked awesome in their last tournament,” he said. “For the Pee Wee wrestlers, this was the first tournament for some of them. Not everyone won a match, but they had fun, and I am proud of all of them.”

The tournament was the biggest in terms of competitors on the Western Slope this year, Hadley said.

The Craig wrestling programs had 11 wrestlers take first place out of the 48 divisions.

The Craig Pee Wee program placed 22 wrestlers in the top four.

Hadley said the Pee Wee program is a step to turning Craig back into a “wrestling community.”

“We won a lot of state championships in the late 80s and 90s,” he said. “The Pee Wee program gives us a foundation to build on and lets the kids find out early if the sport is for them.”

While the Bad Dogs program has been competing around the country for eight months, the Pee Wee program lasts seven weeks, Hadley said.

The goal, he said, is to teach the fundamentals.

“The wrestlers who start in seventh grade will not be able to compete with the guys who have been wrestling since they were young,” he said. “I’m not saying kids need to start at 4, but maybe 7 or 8. We want to teach them the basics and give them something to look at and decide if wrestling is the sport for them.”

Hadley said the Bad Dogs Classic wrestling tournament gives himself and the other Bad Dogs’ coaches a chance to get a look at the Pee Wee wrestlers and decide who should be moved up to the Bad Dogs program.

Once on the Bad Dogs, he said, the wrestlers will learn more advanced moves.

“Pee Wee wrestling is about having fun,” he said. “In Bad Dogs, we have fun too, but we travel a lot and are a little more serious.”

After Bad Dogs, the wrestlers move on to middle school and high school wrestling.

Moschetti, currently a sixth-grader, will compete on the Craig Middle School team next season.

Ending this year’s Bad Dogs season with a first-place finish at home was a great finish, Moschetti said.

“I am really excited,” he said. “I didn’t start this season very good, but the end was a lot better than the middle. I’m ready to move up.”

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