Bulldog Beat: Calendar year closes out as Moffat County teams refuse to slow | CraigDailyPress.com

Bulldog Beat: Calendar year closes out as Moffat County teams refuse to slow

Andy Bockelman
For the Craig Press
The Moffat County High School girls swim team poses for a photo.
Andy Bockelman / For the Craig Press

As the end of 2021 nears, Moffat County High School’s winter sports teams have earned a holiday break after their final week of competition in the first half of their respective seasons.

Home hoops at last

Bulldog boys basketball took to the home hardwood for the first time this winter, and if the results Saturday are any indication, some energetic times in the Doghouse are in store for January and February.

MCHS boys varsity took a decisive win of 50-28 over the 4A Summit Tigers, going three for three as the C-Team won 42-39 and junior varsity 64-47.

The varsity record improved to 5-3 during a day in which the boys in black and blue capitalized on a dominating 16-4 first period that led to a 10-point run in the second quarter as they led 30-10 by halftime.

In front 43-19 at the end of the third, head coach Mark Carlson brought up more of the bench in the final moments, concluding with a free throw by sophomore Zaylan Kirby getting the Dogs to 50.

“After last weekend, we wanted to get back with those two tough losses, and we wanted to finish out with a W,” Mark Carlson said. “After we got up on them, there was a little bit of a letdown, not effort-wise, just mentally, so we wanted to stay sharp and continue to attack.”

A well-rounded stat sheet saw senior Logan Hafey lead in points with nine and sophomore sibling Ian Hafey with eight.

“Logan was really having a good day under there, his brother was giving a lot of good passes that way,” Mark said.

Ian also earned 11 rebounds, senior Nick Crookston put up three blocks, and sophomore Bryant Carlson had three steals.

On Friday night, Bulldog girls hoops headed to Vernal, Utah, to face the Uintah Utes.

Like the boys, they led for most of the game, up 15-7 in the first eight minutes and 26-11 by the break. Still ahead 32-19 moving into the final frame, MoCo girls suddenly saw Uintah get on a roll with outside shooting while they were struck cold.

The Utes saw their early Christmas wish of a comeback come to fruition as they won it 37-36.

Senior Halle Hamilton led in points with 11, with senior Rylie Felten and junior Lizzy LeWarne each putting up 10 in the effort that put their season record at 3-4.

Moffat County boys will have another home game Jan. 8 against Liberty Common, while both teams will travel Jan. 11 to Grand Junction to face Central, leading up to a home event Jan. 13 as they each host Middle Park.

Fight the good fight

As hoopsters were hitting the hardwood, the Moffat County Ice Arena was bustling Saturday as Craig Youth Hockey Association’s 18 and under Moffat County Bulldogs team hosted a doubleheader against the Arapahoe Warriors

A morning round saw Arapahoe earn a 7-1 win over the Dogs only for the afternoon game to be much closer for coaches Cary Herndon and Steven Wagner.

“They woke up this game. Morning games are not their thing, so hopefully we can keep them awake,” Wagner said.

Back-to-back goals by Zane Durham helped a more concentrated effort on offense, with a third period score by senior Garett Stockman looking like the go-ahead goal as the home team led 3-2.

However, the Warriors swarmed the Bulldog goal in the final minutes, eventually putting one in the net against goalie Dylan Herndon.

Neither side could score again before the final horn sounded, resulting in a draw of 3-3.

Clay Durham scored the lone Bulldog goal in the first game off the assist from cousin Zane. Caden Bugay earned 12 saves and Herndon four in the first game.

Herndon had 18 saves in the second round, with Stockman and Clay Durham each picking up an assist.

Wagner noted that the team is still working to incorporate middle school players playing alongside older athletes, though they’re all continuing to improve.

“We have Bantam kids playing up in the high school league and working really hard getting there. They’re all working hard for it,” he said.

After Christmas and New Year’s, the Bulldog team will have a three-game series Jan. 8 and 9 in Denver.

The weekend before was also hectic on the Craig ice as part CYHA’s ‘Tis the Season tournament for the 10U Squirts and 12U Peewee teams.

While the Squirts event was won by Northern Colorado, and Arvada took the banner for the Peewees, Craig Cougar teams fought hard in multiple games between Dec. 10 and 12.

For the Squirts, Julius Green and Thea Johnson each scored a goal in their closest game, a 3-2 defeat to Oak Creek, while goalies Hiram Duarte and Lane Durham combined for 26 saves throughout the 0-4 tourney.

The Peewees also fought through several losses, with their best round 7-2 against the Vernal Raptors.

Benjamin Henion scored twice and Ammon Francone once in the tourney, with keepers Julius Green and Quintyn Louthan combining for 25 saves.

Squirts coach Kevin Oxley noted that the younger teams are still learning a feel for the game, though he was pleased with their efforts.

“These kids really played with a fire in them,” he said.

Take it to the mat

Though one of their biggest tournaments of the early season didn’t see them compete last season, MCHS wrestling was back in action during the Warrior Classic Friday and Saturday in Grand Junction.

The Bulldog crew had a solid first day, with eight of them making it to the quarterfinals and five moving to the Saturday morning semifinals.

However, things got tougher from there for most, as MoCo senior Anthony Duran was the lone grappler to make it to the finals. Facing off with Grand Junction’s Andrew Leyba, Duran took a loss by pin to finish as the runner-up of the 126-pound class.

In the initial rounds, Duran had two falls and two decisions as part of his 4-1 weekend, his personal record 12-2 for the season.

Junior Kaden Hixson, 13-2, was 5-1 for the tourney with three pins and a major decision, with his only loss a 5-3 decision to Richfield’s Dayson Torgerson. Hixson placed third in the 120 bracket, finishing with an 18-0 technical fall against Cedaredge’s Tayton Nelson.

At 138, senior Caden Call, 13-3, placed fourth after a 4-2 run with two pins, a tech fall, and one decision, losing in overtime of his final bout.

At 12-4 this year, junior Michael Voloshin took fifth in the 160’s, going 4-2 with a final 7-5 decision.

The final Bulldog to place was 7-4 Eli Fredrickson, sixth in 132, going 3-3 for the event, with two pins and a 7-0 decision.

Colt Call was 3-2 in the 113 class, Hunter Fredrickson 0-2 at 145, Ryan Duzik 2-2 at 152, Blake Hill 1-2 at 170, and Billy Lawton 2-2 at 182 as part of the Bulldog team result of eighth place out of 43 teams.

At the nearby Fruita Monument JV Invite, MoCo placed ninth of 21 teams with a win by Kaeden Martinez in the 138 class, earning four consecutive falls in a dominant run. At the same weight, Aron Aguilar rebounded from an early loss to finish third with three pins and a 15-5 MD to place third.

Noah Duran also earned the bronze at the 120 weight with three falls and a 13-4 MD.

Miles away, MoCo girls wrestlers joined the Soroco group as part of the Jimmy John’s Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament in Greeley.

Freshmen Victoria Deporto (111) and Mica Vasquez (118) each got into the mix, going 0-2, as did junior Hannah Frink at 136.

Junior Makaela Simpson had the longest run in the 185 class, making it to the quarterfinals with all her victories by pin in the 3-2 stretch.

After they return from hiatus, MCHS wrestling will take on the Tournament of Champions in Jan. 7 and 8 Vernal, Utah.

Just keep swimming

MCHS girls swimming had dual meets in their final competitions of 2021, picking up a third-place team finish in Friday’s Summit Invite.

Megan Neton, Vivian Brown, Wagner Brown, and Sarah Johnson gained third in the 200-yard freestyle relay at a time of 2:08.93, while a fifth-place 200 medley relay clocked in at 2:26.25.

Johnson also took fifth and Natalia Lopez sixth in the 100 breaststroke; Vivian Brown and Megan Neton sixth and seventh in 100 backstroke; Johnson, Neton, and Wagner Brown eighth through 10th in the 100 free; and Vivian eighth and Wagner 10th in the 50 free.

The next day saw the Lady Bulldogs set a new season-best in the 200 free relay at the Montrose Invite with a shuffle in swimming order — Johnson, Vivian, Wagner, and Megan Neton — achieving a 2:07.85 to place fifth. The same foursome was eighth in the 200 medley at 2:26.51.

Individually, Johnson took sixth in the 100 breast, the Browns ninth and 10th in the 100 back, while Jayden Hill, Mary Willems, and Judit Valverde placed 18th through 20th in the 50 free.

Coach Melany Neton pointed to the secondary relay team of Hill, Lopez, Maddy Caddy, and Willems as an example of newer swimmers succeeding, with Caddy working the butterfly stroke in the event.

“She had a nine-second drop in her breaststroke in Summit,” Neton said of Caddy. “They are all trying new events and I’m excited about their progress.”

Swimmers will next be in action Jan. 15 at the Grand Junction Invite at Colorado Mesa University.

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