Arizona school gives Moffat County wrestlers trying time
Bulldogs to compete in Warrior Classic Friday, Saturday
As the Moffat County High School varsity wrestling team ends the calendar year with a big tournament this weekend, the hope is that the defeats of the past will remain a distant memory, including the one that came this week.
MCHS lost, 55-22, in Thursday evening duals with Thunderbird High School, of Phoenix. The Bulldogs hosted the Arizona team as a warm-up before both teams make their way to Central High School’s Warrior Classic Friday and Saturday in Grand Junction.
The Chiefs came off their lengthy bus ride prepared to give Moffat County a skirmish, and while the Bulldog grapplers were able to claim some victories — with pins in the 113- and 132-pound classes by Jay Carrico and Issik Herod, a win by Ryan Zimmerman at 126 and a Stelios Peroulis win by forfeit at 182 — Thunderbird come out on top in seven competitive matches, four of which were pins, as well as another two forfeitures.
Coach Tanner Linsacum said the team showed improvement over where they were last week in duals with Steamboat Springs and weekend events in Hotchkiss and Grand Junction, but the combination of pins and forfeits gave the Chiefs too much of a bonus.
“We wrestled tough, but we just gave up too many falls, and that’s what made the score look worse than it was,” he said. “We competed well tonight. I liked how we came out.”
For Linsacum, the meet also meant going head to head with a team he had previously worked with before coming to Craig. His father, Steve, is the head coach for the group, which made the experience a little awkward.
“I don’t love it,” he said of competing with his own family. “I know a lot of those guys, the seniors, but it was good to see them, and I’m glad they could make it up here.”
It was only shortly after the match that the Bulldogs headed out for their next challenge in Grand Junction.
While it’s unlikely MCHS will see much of Thunderbird at the Warrior Classic, which includes more than 30 teams from four states, there will be plenty more schools posing a threat.
Among the schools attending that Linsacum expects to field solid rosters are Delta, Paonia, Grand Junction, Rocky Mountain and Arvada West, the top team in the 5A division, based on recent results from On the Mat Rankings.
Moffat County names also appear on the list, including Stelios Peroulis fourth in 170 and Brett Loyd 10th in 182, though the two have switched weight classes.
Herod is also No. 11 in 132.
Linsacum said his wrestlers are in a good place mentally for what will be a difficult time.
“It’s a tough tournament, the toughest one we’ll be in,” he said.