Craig The Bad Dogs Youth Wrestling team hosted a tournament at Craig Middle School on Saturday, and more than 100 wrestlers competed in the early-season event.
The five teams from the Inter-Mountain League attended the Bad Dogs Winter Rumble, along with some independent wrestlers, making it a typical early-winter tournament for youth wrestling on the Western Slope, where most of the larger tournaments take place in the spring.
“We had right at 105 (wrestlers) registered,” said Bad Dogs coach Darin White. “So it’s smaller than a lot of the tournaments we’ll see later, but it’s right where we see a lot of these winter tournaments because lots of teams from the Western Slope don’t get going until spring.”
But these early tournaments are valuable for getting competitive wrestling out of the way, especially for newcomers to the sport.
“It’s really good for first-year wrestlers,” White said. “You see a little less of that top-level competition, and with the colder weather, I think the interest is there because these kids want something to do. It’s a good warm-up for the kids.”
The goal is to be ready for anything when the big spring tournaments roll around.
Battling teams from Summit County, Gypsum, Leadville and Kremmling along with individual wrestlers from Steamboat, Meeker and Grand Junction, the Bad Dogs looked tough Saturday. Nearly every wrestler from the Craig team placed in their respective brackets, and several Bad Dogs walked away from the day with first-place trophies in hand.
Of the 28 brackets wrestled for age and weight divisions, Craig wrestlers were in the top two in nearly half of them.
Late in the day, Jeff Cole earned a pin to win his 10-and-younger division, capping a big day for the Bad Dogs.
“We had about 10 individual champions that I’ve seen,” White said. “There is definitely some good competition in this Inter-Mountain League, too. It’s all about the kids and making it fun for them.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.