Local youth are hitting the mat as another Bad Dogs season is under way.
The youth wrestling team, which includes children ages four to 14, began practice last week, and is closing in on its first meet this weekend.
For some of the participants, it marked an introduction to the vaunted sport in Craig. For others, last week was the start of a new season.
The Bad Dogs began practice Oct. 16, which means the coaches are working on getting their wrestlers back into the swing of things.
“We split the kids up to where the younger kids just go for an hour and we just go really basic for the first hour to get the young kids used to it, and then we step it up for the second hour for the more experienced kids,” head coach Dennis Fredrickson said. “We took them a long way last year and this year we’re just trying to go further.”
The team had about 25 children turn out for Thursday’s 6-8 p.m. practice, its last one before the first tournaments of the season. Fredrickson, in his second year as Bad Dogs coach after a hiatus, said so far the turnout had been good and the team had new faces as well.
“We’ve had a lot of returners, maybe seven or eight new ones, mostly younger kids,” Fredrickson said. “It’s fun to work with the kids and they came a long way last year.”
Fredrickson’s aim as coach has been to teach the youth wrestlers basic, go-to moves and techniques they will be able to use for the rest of their careers.
“It’s back to basics,” he said. “Almost a college style wrestling, they use a lot of double legs and single legs. They use a lot of basic stuff, higher-percentage, low-risk type things and proper positioning.”
The goal is to restore some of Moffat County’s wrestling success from year’s past, when they were state champion winners and contenders for extended stretches of time.
On Saturday the team will head to two locations for its first competition of the year. The less experienced and younger wrestlers will go to Wolf Pack Wrestling in Edwards to get their first shot in a match, while the older wrestlers will go to Colorado Springs for a wrestling camp and tournament.
Ultimately, Fredrickson believes wrestling is headed in the right direction, and he has a talented group. He hopes to have them prepared for high school and beyond, when that time comes.
“We have some good kids who I think will go a long way,” he said. “Ultimately, what we really want to do is get them ready for junior high and high school. We fell back to a lot of basic things that I thought maybe they were lacking a bit. When they hit high school they’re not hitting a brick wall.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.