Jesse Demoor has stood out on a Moffat County High School varsity wrestling team in the middle of a rebuilding stage this season.
Demoor, a Moffat County High School sophomore, has held his own in the 170-pound class all season, head coach Roman Gutierrez said.
On Saturday, Demoor was the lone Bulldog grappler to place in the Las Vegas Tournament, finishing in third place.
The Bulldogs went 1-3 in the dual tournament Friday and sent five wrestlers to the individual tournament Saturday.
“Jesse never quits,” Gutierrez said. “He has been down in matches before, but he always seems to find a way to win.”
Demoor scored three pins in the individual tournament, including a pin in a match he trailed 17-4.
“It would have been easy to give up when you trail by so much, but he didn’t and ended up pinning the kid,” Gutierrez said of Demoor’s comeback win. “He went on to pin his next two kids, including one in the third- and fourth-place match. He proved he belonged in that tournament.”
The tournament consisted of 15 teams split into three, five-team pools Friday.
The top two wrestlers from each weight class in each pool advanced to Saturday’s individual tournament with two others chosen in each weight class to make an eight-wrestler bracket.
Along with Demoor, the Bulldogs sent senior Jake Blevins, junior Garrett Stewart, sophomore Brayden Peterson and freshman Ashlee Griffiths.
Gutierrez said the Bulldogs still have room for improvement, but they made strides over the holiday break.
“We are doing a little better and we are moving in the right direction,” he said. “We need to be more aggressive on top. When we get up there, we aren’t working for the pin like I feel we should be.
“Every week we see improvement and we will get to where we want to be.”
Gutierrez said the Warrior Classic in Grand Junction is usually the toughest meet of the season.
But, this year the Las Vegas Tournament provided great competition, a main factor behind Blevins, Stewart, Peterson and Griffiths not placing as well.
“They brought some different teams in and every team had some really good, solid individuals,” Gutierrez said. “The top two from each pool that went to the (eight-wrestler) bracket deserved it, so sending five was a good sign.”
The tournament, Gutierrez said, allowed his wrestlers to see different types of wrestling styles and see the improvement they made over the break.
Ultimately, he said, the tough competition will pay off at the end of the season.
“Everyone wrestled pretty well, but we went up against some tough kids,” he said. “But, I would rather go up against really tough competition instead of kids we can take because it will make us more prepared come state.”
The Bulldogs get back on the mat Friday and Saturday in the Green River Tournament in Green River, Wyo.
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