“Last year we wrestled Paonia and we won one match against them. They’ve got a great, deep team. This year, we beat them in four or five matches. That shows we’re coming up. That’s a real feather in our cap.”
— Mark Voloshin, MCHS wrestling coach, about his team's performance last weekend at the 35th annual Warrior Classic
In its first individual-based event of the season, the Moffat County wrestling team came back from Grand Junction with a couple results worth writing home about.
The 35th annual Warrior Classic took place Friday and Saturday at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, with 38 teams from four states competing in individual weight-class tournaments. As one of the strongest early-season tournaments in Colorado, the Warrior presented Moffat County wrestlers with a unique test to gauge their progress so far.
Against some of Colorado’s best wrestlers, two Bulldogs delivered. Garrett Stewart placed fourth in the 145-lb class, while Jesse Demoor took sixth at 182-lbs.
Coach Mark Voloshin stressed how tough it was to be a top contender in any class at the Warrior.
“That’s a tough tournament,” Voloshin said. “In Stewart’s weight there was on 4A guy on the podium, Stewart, and the rest were 5A kids. You had to go against the best from every classification. It’s definitely a good test.”
The upside to seeing that type of competition early in the year is it provides valuable experience in a tournament setting and can act as a barometer for where a wrestler currently sits.
“If you do good there, you’ll do good at the state tournament,” Voloshin said. “That’s what we tell them and that’s what they know going into it.”
The Bulldogs saw some of the top talent in Colorado at the tournament, including top-ranked 2A team, Paonia, and top-ranked wrestlers in Colorado in several weight classes.
Paonia won the team competition, which was scored based on individual wrestlers advancing through the bracket and the dominance of their wins. But Voloshin saw a great deal of improvement from the entire Moffat County team based on their performance against Paonia wrestlers.
“Last year we wrestled Paonia and we won one match against them,” he said. “They’ve got a great, deep team. This year, we beat them in four or five matches. That shows we’re coming up. That’s a real feather in our cap.”
In addition, Voloshin said he has seen improvement each week from the Bulldogs across the board, especially the younger wrestlers.
“As a whole, we’ve performed better every week,” he said. “You can kind of see it in the way the kids are wrestling and we’ll keep adding to it. Hopefully we can keep building on it and improving. That way at the end of the year, when it really counts, we can be at our best.”
The Warrior was Moffat County’s final wrestling competition of 2012. Now the Bulldogs will have time off before a tournament in Las Vegas Jan. 4-5. Voloshin is confident there will still be significant work put in during that time.
“It’s really up to them (the wrestlers) during the no-contact period on how much work they put in,” he said. “But I think most of these guys will keep working. They’ll be in here trying to increase their abilities.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.