Craig Middle School wrestlers dominate Meeker, 56-36 | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Middle School wrestlers dominate Meeker, 56-36

Sixth-graders now allowed to join team

Craig Middle School's wrestling team is coming on strong with greater numbers these days.

During duals Tuesday night in the CMS gym, the Bulldogs squared off with the Meeker Cowboys, taking a 56-36 win overall for the event, which saw Craig claim 11 pins in 25 contested matches.

With a large roster, several of the bouts counted purely as exhibitions but made for good practice for the entire group.

Eighth-grader 120-pound Jared Atkin battled through and was doing well on points thanks to a takedown before getting caught in a pin. In his first year ever in the sport, persuaded by friends to join the team, Atkin said he is still "learning the techniques," but he's enjoying the process.

"It's been a lot of fun," he said.

CMS wrestling attended the first event of its short season this past weekend, placing second overall in a tournament in Hayden, complete with four first place individual finishes.

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This year is different for middle school wrestling because for the first time the team is open to sixth-graders in addition to those in seventh- and eight-grade.

Moffat County School District Athletic Director Mike Mitchell and coaches Tanner Linsacum and Mark Voloshin were able to get the change put forth just before the season began.

Besides the benefit of bringing more kids into the program — many of whom are already experienced in the sport from clubs like Bad Dogs Wrestling or Moffat County Youth Wrestling — adding sixth-graders to the mix allows them to compete at a higher level and continue to challenge themselves.

"We believe that instead of plateauing at the sixth-grade level, they'll be able to continue to climb," said Voloshin.

The CMS team, Bad Dogs, Youth Wrestling and Moffat County High School recently all pitched in to purchase a high-quality mat that they will each use in the future.

Voloshin added that expanding the grade levels cost nothing extra for the school — in fact, the extra activity fees from additional athletes only helps while allowing younger kids to get a leg up where they were unable to before.

"It's an excellent opportunity for all kids in the middle school to excel," Voloshin said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

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