Bulldog Beat: Moffat County athletes pick up steam in return from winter break
For the Craig Press
Back in classes and back in competition, the wintertime athletes of Moffat County High School are making up time from the holiday hiatus.
No middling effort
The initial January games for Bulldog hoops were varied in the outcomes yet promising, as home court advantage proved a powerful motivator.
MCHS teams swept the Middle Park Panthers in six rounds for C-Team, JV and varsity Jan. 13, in the first time all squads have been on their own floor.
While younger teams held off Middle Park well, the Bulldog girls varsity bunch particularly pounded the Panthers in their home opener, with a one-sided final scoreboard of 68-16.
The rout included standout scoring by seniors Halle Hamilton and Rylie Felten with 17 and 12 points, respectively, as they remained the team’s leaders in the category. However, a breakout game for sophomore Emma Tucker saw her put up 15 points to prove her proficiency.
Hamilton led in assists with five, the same number of steals senior Jacie Evenson compiled, while junior Lizzy LeWarne led in the rebound category with eight.
The tally was much closer but still in favor of the home team for the varsity boys, who walked away with a 73-63 win.
As opposed to a 30-point effort by Middle Park senior Seth Holestine, the Bulldogs worked the ball around much more, with double-digit scoring by seniors Myles Simpson (15 points), Ryan Peck (14) and Jordan Carlson (12) and sophomore Bryant Carlson (11). Jordan also picked up his second double-double of the season with a fierce effort beneath the bucket that amounted to 13 rebounds.
The pair of victories followed road losses for both MoCo groups, with girls falling 48-40 and boys 46-35 to Grand Junction’s Central Warriors on Jan. 11.
MCHS basketball will move into 3A Western Slope League play this week, kicking off the conference schedule against the Coal Ridge Titans, with games beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday at home.
Time and time again
Some time off proved beneficial for MCHS swimmers, at least if the stopwatch was any indication in their first meet back after break.
Saturday’s Grand Junction Invite was a sizable gathering of nine Western Slope teams, and while the Bulldogs were the smallest group among more than total 160 competitors in the water, they were no less speedy.
A ninth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay was the best standing for MoCo swimmers, who cut 35 seconds off their previous best with a 4:40.96 reached by junior Sarah Johnson and sophomores Vivian and Wagner Brown and Megan Neton.
Now 24 seconds away from state qualification in the 400, the foursome is even closer in the 200 free relay, hitting 2:03.03 to place 11th and get within seven seconds of state.
In individual races, Kate Lockwood set the new season best for the team in the 50 free at a 31.30 seconds, while Neton performed the group’s first effort this winter in the 200 IM at 3:00.86.
Wagner Brown carved out a new best in the 100 free at 1:09.28, while Vivian Brown and Morgan Schacht each earned new bests in the 100 backstroke (1:17.32, 1:21.35).
MCHS swimmers will seek to keep cutting time this weekend at Summit.
Coming off Utah’s Tournament of Champions, MCHS wrestling returned to the Centennial State with the past weekend’s Arvada West Invitational.
Facing mostly larger Front Range teams, the Bulldogs placed fifth of 20 schools, with seven of their number placing in the event.
After winning at TOC, senior Pepper Rhyne took his first loss of the year during a semifinal bout to a Roosevelt contender, nonetheless bouncing back in the consolation finale for third place in the 170-pound class after three wins by decision.
Junior Kaden Hixson picked up two quick pins in the 120 class before rougher competition saw him felled in the semis and narrowly losing 2-1 in the followup, giving him fourth in the bracket.
Though their earlier rounds saw struggle, seniors Caden Call (138), Kalub West (145) and Michael Voloshin (160) each ended the day 4-1 and in fifth place, while junior Billy Lawton (182) went 3-2 and sophomore Blake Hill (195) 2-2 to each place sixth.
Simultaneously, as part of the Soroco girls team, four Moffat County athletes had a hectic run during the MLK Girls Tournament in Grand Junction.
The two-day event included a team duals format on the opening day, with MoCo freshmen Victoria Deporto and Mica Vasquez alternating between the 111 and 118 classes, Deporto going 2-2 and Vasquez 4-0 with three pins.
Hannah Frink was 2-2 with one fall in the 136 class, and fellow junior Makaela Simpson was 4-0 with two pins at 185.
During the subsequent Saturday tourney, Simpson advanced the furthest in the brackets, with another pair of pins getting her to the finals before a second-period fall gave her second place.
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