Moffat County High School could feature 1st female wrestler soon
March 20, 2010
Craig — Moffat County High School wrestling has claimed five state championships.
The record-holder for most wins in a season wore Bulldog blue.
Its coach has won more meets than any other in Colorado history.
But there is one thing the Bulldogs have not seen.
A female wrestler.
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That could soon change, as Craig Middle School grappler Ashlee Griffiths nears the high school ranks just as girls wrestling becomes more and more successful.
For the first time in Colorado history, a female wrestler won a match at state.
A few minutes later, it happened again.
In two years, it could happen for MCHS.
A new type of Bulldog
At the same tournament where Soroco High School's Lauryn Bruggink and Meeker High School's Cody Pfau became the first girls to win matches, Moffat County's Charlie Griffiths was on his way to a third-place finish in the 145-pound class.
At Craig Middle School, another Griffiths is in the wings.
Charlie's younger sister, Ashlee, has done this year in middle school the same thing she did with the Craig Bad Dogs.
The seventh-grader owns a record of 11-0 with 10 pins in the 85-pound class.
Becoming the first female wrestler at MCHS is at the front of Griffiths' mind.
"It would be really cool to be the first girl," she said. "I just have to make the team."
Ashlee, 13, was introduced to the sport by her brother.
"When I started, it was something to do," she said. "After a while, I started liking it."
Her ultimate goal is to not only make it onto the MCHS varsity, but college and the Olympics are already on her radar.
First, she wants to take a stab at some of her brother's records.
"I think Charlie will win for overall wins," she said. "But I would like to beat him by one."
Griffiths and Bruggink are friends off the mat.
"I told her I would be OK with being the second girl to medal at state," Griffiths said. "I would be the first to do it in (class) 4A."
Moffat County High School coach Roman Gutierrez has been at the helm of the wrestling program for 27 years and five titles.
But during that time, not one girl has taken the mat for the state's winningest coach.
He said he is excited about the possibility of adding another Griffiths to the squad.
"She's talented," he said. "She's good right now."
Before the younger Griffiths can do what her brother did last season, she will need a little acclimating, Gutierrez said.
"She will need to keep working on her strength," he said. "But her technique is so good, it should carry her a long way.
"If you make a mistake, she will capitalize and quickly."
Gutierrez said good wrestlers get respect, regardless of whether they are a boy or a girl.
"She's treated the same," he said. "I think everyone can respect someone who works hard.
"For her, it's work, work, work. She doesn't say a whole lot. She lets her wrestling skills speak for her."
Cody Pfau doesn't like special attention.
As far as the Meeker High School freshman is concerned, when she puts on her wrestling gear, Pfau's just one of the guys.
"I don't like special treatment at all," she said. "They treat me the same as everyone else."
On Feb. 19, she missed becoming the first girl to win a state match by minutes.
Before Pfau stepped onto the mat in the Class 2A consolation bracket, Soroco's 103-pound entrant Bruggink already had won.
While winning a match at state as a freshman, let alone as a girl, is an achievement, Pfau said she wanted more.
"I don't think it would have meant much (to be the first girl to win)," she said, adding that she wanted to place at the state tournament. "That was my goal."
Wrestling in the 103-pound class, Pfau was able to outmuscle Center High School's Julio Maldonado to become the second girl to win a state match.
Pfau, 15, started wrestling five years ago because it was the only winter sport that interested her.
"I really didn't want to play basketball," she said. "So, I thought if I started wrestling, I wouldn't have to play basketball in high school."
Pfau said there is one major difference from the middle school squad to the high school ranks.
"The intensity," she said. "People take it very seriously."
Now that she has a win at state under her belt, she said she is focused on winning her weight class.
"Overall, I'd like to win at least once," she said. "That's every wrestler's goal."