The first day of the Class 3A state wrestling tournament got off to a slow start for the Moffat County High School team, but the action finished with a bang thanks to a thrilling performance from junior Jesse DeMoor.
Freshman Issik Herod, the first Bulldog to take the mat, was pinned late in the first period, falling to Alamosa’s Neff Malouff at 120 pounds.
Brayden Peterson, a junior in the 138-pound bracket, was next, losing a grueling and back-and-forth decision to Andrew Register, of The Classical Academy, 10-7.
Even DeMoor got off to a slow start, falling behind as he gave up a quick takedown and was nearly pinned twice in the match’s first 90 seconds.
He threw Valley senior Everett Collins to his back near the end of the period, however, and pounced on top to lock down the pin and secure a place in Friday’s quarterfinals.
“I just kept thinking, ‘Don’t get pinned.’ I had to fight not to get pinned,” DeMoor said. “Then I stood up and got an escape, then locked up the headlock and threw it.”
DeMoor now faces the biggest day of his career. He faces Kory Hudson, of Bennett, in the quarterfinals, which begin at 10 a.m. Another big match like he had Thursday and he could be wrestling tonight in the state semifinals.
“This is a huge tournament. I walked in and was like, ‘Wow,’ looking all around. I wasn’t thinking right at the start of the match and I didn’t get the first takedown,” he said. “I need to calm down, think about what I’m going to do and have a plan.”