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John Vandelinder

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Slow start

MCHS wrestling winless in first day at state

Moffat County High School senior Matt Kincheloe gains an advantage against Kyle Holman of Alamosa in the 140 pound division Thursday at the 4A State Wrestling Championships. Kincheloe fell, 18-7.

— Peering into the dark hallway beneath the Pepsi Center stands, one could barely make out the dozens or so bobbing heads and the eerie silence.

Looking out of the tunnel and into the bright arena, the view is entirely different.

An announced crowd of 8,390 fans was at the Pepsi Center on Thursday to witness the opening round of the high school state wrestling championships in Denver.

A handful of them made the trip to cheer on the five members of the Moffat County wrestling team.

For the fans, there were no wins to cheer about. The Bulldogs were shutout in all five of their matches Thursday.

“We just got out-wrestled,” coach Roman Gutierrez said. “We are going to have to wait until tomorrow to see where these guys’ character is at.”

Assistant coach Ron Linsacum agreed.

“These matches sneak up on you fast,” he said. “Our guys were in a fog out there. They have got to realize they have to get in a zone right now.”

Cory Vigil (30-14) wrestled first for Moffat County, facing Bryce Sciumbato (34-6) from Pueblo County at 119 pounds.

Vigil had trouble staying off the mat against Sciumbato, falling behind, 5-0 and 8-1, before scoring two points off his first takedown.

Vigil couldn’t sustain the momentum, eventually falling, 10-3.

“I’ve definitely got to pick it up,” Vigil said. “I’ve got to be more aggressive and toughen it up for tomorrow.”

Much was similar for freshman Charlie Griffiths. Griffiths (35-13) wrestled Chad Pompa (27-5) of Pueblo South at 125 pounds.

Trailing 4-0 entering the final frame, Griffiths pulled within two, at 4-2, but, like Vigil before him, Griffiths couldn’t hold on.

Pompa scored four quick points to pull away and eventually win, 8-3.

Senior Matt Kincheloe (34-12) faced off with Kyle Holman (33-8) from Alamosa at 140 pounds.

Holman beat Kincheloe both times in last year’s double elimination format at the state tourney, and Kincheloe remembered.

“He knocked me out last year,” Kincheloe said. “What a first match to have.”

The wrestlers were tied at three at the end of the first period, before Holman jumped out to a 10-3 lead behind an aggressive style that Kincheloe said Alamosa is notorious for.

Kincheloe fought back, scoring three points to pull within four, but there is a reason Holman has beaten him three times.

Kincheloe found himself on the mat the entire third period and when the match was all over, Kincheloe had lost, 18-7.

“I have to be more aggressive,” Kincheloe said. “My stand-up was starting to work, but those guys at Alamosa are outstanding. It felt like I didn’t have any arms after a while.”

Troy Vernon, who wrestled at the same time as Kincheloe, lasted 17 seconds in his first appearance in the state championships.

Vernon (26-16) was pinned at 145 pounds by Fort Morgan’s Ryan Buck (24-1).

“He was pretty strong,” Vernon said. “He kind of smacked me a bit there.”

Vernon said he needs to have a better regular season next year so he is a better seed heading into state.

“I’ve got to be sitting higher next time,” he said. “I’m going to keep a good attitude though for tomorrow. I’ve got nothing to lose, right?”

Freshman Dallas Daniels (11-3) faced off late at 285 pounds against Kevin Davis of Mesa Ridge (36-3).

Freshman Dallas Daniels (11-4) had his hands full in his first trip to state, facing senior Kevin Davis (37-3) from Mesa Ridge in the heavy-weight division.

The match-up went the way of senior experience.

Daniels was pinned 50 seconds into the match.

“I have to wrestle smarter,” Daniels said. “I can’t let them get to me just because I’m a freshman. Tomorrow, I’ll have a better strategy. I’ll wrestle smarter.”

Second-round action for Moffat County continues Friday at the Pepsi Center.