Team at a glance...
Head coach: Roman Gutierrez; assistant Mark Voloshin
Key team stat: Garrett Stewart is the team's only returning state qualifier, but a move to Class-3A has several Bulldogs eying a high finish at state this year.
Moffat County wrestling has struggled recently in team competitions, but has seen individual success.
The Bulldogs small team size has meant they often have to surrender several weight classes to their opponents due to not having a wrestler to compete.
With the team moving to Class-3A from 4A this year, that could change. Coach Roman Gutierrez knows the team will still be outnumbered in some dual meets, but believes they will have a chance to take some as well.
Whatever the team’s record ends up being, the Bulldogs sport several individuals with aspirations to go deep in the state tournament.
Garrett Stewart is Moffat County’s top returning wrestler, having qualified for state last year, and will look to deliver a top finish in his senior season. Meanwhile Jesse Demoor hopes to make his mark at state in the higher weight classes with his mix of size and athleticism.
Braden Peterson is another MCHS wrestler with a good chance to make noise at state, while many others will have a shot if they improve over the course of the season.
The Daily Press spoke with Gutierrez about the upcoming season:
Craig Daily Press: What can we expect this year from Moffat County wrestling?
Roman Gutierrez: I think right in the middle we’ll be okay. About 132-160 we have really good, quality kids, and then Jesse at 170 or 82, whatever he decides to wrestle, those are our quality kids right now. Hopefully we’ll compete a lot better, we’re down a division from a year before so it should look a little better for us. We only qualified the last couple years a couple kids. Hopefully we qualify at least half a team, like seven to nine kids in the tournament. Lot of young kids, which is good, and hopefully we’ll get some more next year from the junior high. This year, we’re expecting a lot better things to happen.
We won’t be real strong in dual meets just because we’ll be giving up a couple weights, but we’ll be competitive.
CDP: Will moving to 3A help you guys in team results because some of the teams you’re facing will be smaller schools as well?
RG: Yes, but most of the teams we compete against will have full teams and then of course the first two weeks we go down to Junction. We’ll wrestle duals the first and the eighth, then the classic, which is a 32-person individual tournament. We’ll compete better, I’m sure we’ll win a few more duals than we did last year, but I think we should compete with everyone in our league.
CDP: You think you’ve got a few kids who are state-qualifying or placing at state caliber?
RG: Yeah I think we have at least three kids that I think should medal. Depending on how some of these younger kids come along, we could have more, maybe up to five kids. But there are three who look pretty positive right now.
CDP: Who is looking strong?
RG: That’s Garrett (Stewart), Jesse (Demoor) and Brayden (Peterson). Maybe Shandon (Hadley) too, but Shandon will be in a tough weight class at 132.
CDP: It’s usually difficult for freshman to come in in a weight class like that.
RG: Yeah, freshman more commonly do well at 103 and 113, but as they get bigger, they have to be a pretty talented freshman. He is a talented freshman though, and he’ll have good workout partners. That’s the one thing I wish we had for Jesse, is we don’t have kids to help him improve a lot. He’ll get better, but it would be even better if there was another kid his size and athletic as he is.
CDP: Anything else worth mentioning?
RG: We as a coaching staff are really excited about this young kids and I think we’re all on the same wavelength that it will be January before a lot of these kids start to blossom a little bit. They’ll get their wakeup call the first couple weeks, cruise into the season and hopefully by mid-January they’ll be wrestling really well for us.