Bulldog wrestlers use dual tourney to improve individual skills

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The Moffat County High School varsity wrestling team’s results from the Rumble in the Rockies wrestling tournament Saturday at Rifle High School:

Round 1

• Rifle — 52

• Moffat County — 18

Round 2

• Pueblo West — 62

• Moffat County — 12

Round 3

• Grand Valley — 46

• Moffat County — 18

Round 4

• Delta — 61

• Moffat County — 18

— MCHS went 0-4 in dual meets. Hotchkiss took first place.

Roman Gutierrez understands the Moffat County High School varsity wrestling team will struggle this season in dual meets because of low numbers.

In a dual tournament, such as the Rumble in the Rockies on Saturday at Rifle High School, Gutierrez said the Bulldogs needed personal gains more than team wins.

The Bulldogs went 0-4, falling to Rifle, Pueblo West, Grand Valley and Delta.

Hotchkiss won the tournament with a victory over Delta, and fellow Yampa Valley-school Hayden took fifth place by beating Coal Ridge.

“We had a couple kids dinged up this weekend, but I think everyone was just tired,” Gutierrez said Monday. “Everyone had to wrestle about 15 matches in a little over a week, so they were a little sluggish because they had to make weight so many times.”

Gutierrez said Hotchkiss and Delta were good teams and the tournament as a whole provided great individual competition.

However, he said his wrestlers’ fatigue caught up to them in the third period.

“I think going up against good competition, we have to be able to finish,” he said. “We would have a great few opening periods, but then we would fall off in the third.

“We have to be able to finish to win close matches.”

Two standouts for the weekend, Gutierrez said, were senior Jake Blevins and junior Garrett Stewart.

Gutierrez said Blevins finally is becoming comfortable on the mat and making the right improvements in his final year.

“Jake is beginning to build the confidence that comes with winning,” he said. “When he came in as a freshman, he grew fast and would trip when he walked.

“But, now he is learning to use his body to his advantage and using leverage from his height as well as having built strength over the summer.”

Stewart and sophomore Jesse Demoor got banged up in early rounds, Gutierrez said, but continued to wrestle through the tournament.

The Bulldogs don’t wrestle again until Feb. 4 in Meeker.

Gutierrez said the two weeks off will be used for the injured wrestlers to heal and rest, as well as help everyone strengthen the basics.

“We don’t have a lot of strong points as a team, so we need to strengthen all our weak links,” he said. “We need to keep working on everything as far as on our feet, on top, on bottom and just get a better feel on the mat.”

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