The Craig Middle School wrestlers dominated in their first meet of the season Saturday at home, with the varsity winning the A pool and the junior varsity winning the B pool out of 14 teams. Head coach Ron Linsacum said with 43 wrestlers, keeping up the intensity isn’t hard and everyone has thrived off the competition.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

The Craig Middle School wrestlers dominated in their first meet of the season Saturday at home, with the varsity winning the A pool and the junior varsity winning the B pool out of 14 teams. Head coach Ron Linsacum said with 43 wrestlers, keeping up the intensity isn’t hard and everyone has thrived off the competition.

CMS wrestling team thrives on having a full squad

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“We have the spiral right on top, the double leg from the standing position and the stand up from the bottom, and we do all that repetitively. As the season goes on, we might add to some kids’ arsenals, but it depends on where the kid is at. We want their moves to flow, and that starts with fundamentals.”

— Ron Linsacum, Craig Middle School wrestling head coach, about starting his wrestlers off with the fundamentals.

Ron Linsacum said with 43 seventh- and eighth-grade wrestlers in one room, things can get intense.

But, it is the intensity large numbers foster that makes the Craig Middle School wrestling team something special.

“The wrestling room is packed,” said Linsacum, the Bulldogs head coach. “The kids feed off each other and they have so many wrestling partners, they can see a lot of different styles and share their knowledge with each other.

“It is just the atmosphere and the engery in the room, everything is falling into place for (this program).”

The number of wrestlers, which has doubled since last season, proved not only to be helpful in the wrestling room, but also in competition.

The Bulldogs competed in the their first meet of the season Saturday, the Craig Invitational, and the varsity squad took first place in the A pool and the junior varsity squad took first in the B pool out of 14 teams.

CMS also won 15 of the 18 best-of-the-best matches between the wrestlers in each pool with the best record.

“There was 265 wrestlers here in Craig, and everyone on our team performed well and it is hard to single anyone out for doing any better,” Linsacum said. “They all looked like they were on a mission and they were aggressive and performed all the fundamentals really well.”

Linsacum receives help on the mat from assistant coaches Mark Voloshin, Shane Hadley, Roman Gutierrez and Jimmy Rossi.

Hadley has helped many of the CMS wrestlers in the Craig Bad Dogs youth wrestling program, Voloshin is a former collegiate wrestler, Gutierrez is the Moffat County High School coach and Rossi has been around the sport almost his entire life.

Linsacum said having coaches from different perspectives only helps the kids.

“Shane has worked with a lot of these kids since they were in second grade and he is very positive and a motivator,” he said. “Jimmy has been around wrestling forever and is just good to have in the room. Roman, Mark and I work together at all levels, so there is no coaching on top of each other. We each can help the kids in different areas.”

One thing the Bulldogs have worked on early this season, Linsacum said, is conditioning.

The work paid off in the first meet, he said, with the Bulldogs being able to go the distance if needed and having more energy than their opponents.

However, Linsacum said fundamentals are “absolutely” the biggest concern for the CMS team.

“We have the spiral right on top, the double leg from the standing position and the stand up from the bottom, and we do all that repetitively,” he said. “As the season goes on, we might add to some kids’ arsenals, but it depends on where the kid is at. We want their moves to flow, and that starts with fundamentals.”

The varsity team will compete Saturday in Montrose while the junior varsity squad goes to Hayden.

Linsacum said the team has had a great start to the season and he expects to keep seeing similar results.

“All these kids are confident working with each other,” he said. “We are going to continue working on the conditioning and the fundamentals and keep the intensity up as we get after it.”

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