Nate Waggenspack: Winter seasons give Moffat County meaningful contests right away

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Nate Waggenspack

— Feeling rested yet? Maybe one more night to get fully caught up? All right, but then it’s time to get back to sports, OK?

And it’s time to get back in a big way, with tons of important games, matches, meets, duals, contests and competitions.

In many sports, the end of the season comes quickly after returning from break. The girls swimming team has just four meets left before the state championships, which means four more chances to qualify for those championships. There is time to improve, but with every event that passes with a subpar time, the pressure athletes tend to place on themselves can increase.

Getting a quick qualification can take the monkey off a swimmer’s (or relay team of swimmers’) back and pave the way for a great end to the season. When you want to qualify in two or three events, getting one out of the way before the final weekend and focusing on the others can be a big benefit. So a great swim at Summit High School on Thursday or the Mustang Invite in Westminster on Friday would be especially awesome for the Bulldogs.

In wrestling, there isn’t much more than a month until Moffat County’s season enters the tournament phase, as well. If wrestlers are winning through January, they’ll have a shot at regionals and state. If not, it could make for a quick exit when those tournaments arrive.

Wrestling teams often work overtime on their strength and conditioning during the early portion of the post-New Year’s season, which can lead to tougher matches and maybe even some losses from fatigue. But come late January and the team’s final home meet in February, some Bulldog wins will be important.

And on the basketball court, the meat of the season starts in a week. Both teams have played five games so far, but only two of those will count toward making the postseason. Now, they have 14 more games that will determine their district seeds in the Western Slope League.

For the boys team, play gets tough right away with a visit to Aspen next weekend. The Skiers handed the Bulldogs their worst loss of the season last year and stole away the No. 2 seed in the league. A win away from Craig would put the Bulldogs in the driver’s seat early on.

On the girls’ side, Aspen doesn’t appear to be as strong an opponent on paper, but with the Bulldogs’ youth, winning on the road always will be an important challenge to overcome.

Even with a month or two until the contests turn into tournaments, every game feels important in its own way, starting now. I hope to see you there.

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.

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