Bulldog Beat: Multiple gold honors for Moffat County wrestlers; swimmers nearing state; basketball looking to rebound after road games
For the Craig Press
Events away from home treated some Moffat County High School well this past weekend, while others — well, there’s time to improve.
Made for medals
MCHS wrestlers finished as the runner-up in team scores Saturday during Berthoud’s Diny Pickert Invitational, second only to powerhouse Severance in the gathering of 12 schools.
The Bulldogs took home four first-place honors as Kaden Hixson (120 pounds), Anthony Duran (126), Michael Voloshin (160), and Pepper Rhyne (170) all went undefeated.
All of Hixson’s wins were by pin, each within 30 seconds. Likewise, Voloshin took each of his three victories by fall, the first in 26 seconds, the final in a second-period triumph.
After a 9-0 major decision to start, Rhyne followed up with two pins in a sparse bracket, while Duran took one pin and a 3-2 decision before a medical forfeit in the last round gave him the gold.
Though he made it to the championship on the heels of a pin and a 13-1 MD, Blake Hill (195) was on the wrong side of a 3-1 scoreboard to a Lutheran opponent to place second.
MoCo picked up plenty of consolation points from athletes who carried on well after a defeat, as Colt Call (113), Eli Fredrickson (132), and Kaeden Martinez (138) each earned third place. Call and Fredrickson each earned three pins and Martinez two in their 3-1 runs, coming back from losses in the semifinals.
In fourth place were Kalub West (145, 3-2, one pin), Trace Frederickson (152, 3-2, one pin), and Billy Lawton (182, 2-2, two pins).
With multiple competitors at the same weight, the Dogs had additional grapplers in the mix, and though Hunter Fredrickson (145) and Alex Musgrave (160) did not make it to the podium, Fredrickson took the 8-6 sudden victory early, with Musgrave claiming a pin and 12-10 decision.
Meanwhile at Grand Junction’s Tiger JV Tournament, MCHS was fourth in team scores, with a faceoff between Noah Duran and Tate Green deciding the 120 weight as Duran won for first and Green in second.
Also taking silver was Aron Aguilar at 145, while bronze went to Osbaldo Quintana at 126, and Blake Tupa took sixth in 106.
Elsewhere, MCHS’s Mica Vasquez (111), Victoria Deporto (111), and Hannah Frink (136) were among the Soroco team at the Chatfield Girls War Horse Invite, going 0-2, 2-2, and 2-2, respectively, with Deporto and Frink each gaining a pin in the tourney.
Leading up to their weekend contests, MoCo won handily Thursday evening in Parachute during a triangular match against Basalt and hosting Grand Valley. The Bulldogs only gave up points to the Longhorns via forfeit, with pins for Hixson, Anthony Duran, Martinez, Frederickson, Lawton and Hill in a blowout over the Longhorns, 66-12. Though Grand Valley earned two falls and two forfeits, Duran, Martinez, Fredrickson, Voloshin, and Rhyne all did the same to boost their group’s score in the 51-24 win over the Cardinals.
MCHS will host its final home dual this Thursday night against Glenwood Springs, which will also serve as Senior Night, leading up to Rawlins Duals on Feb. 5.
In the fast lane
As Bulldog girls swimming heads into the conference championships this weekend, they are right on the verge of 3A state qualification after getting their times down all the more in recent weeks.
During the Delta Invite on Jan. 21, the team saw some of its best placements in the relays in particular, with a second place in the 400-yard freestyle, fourth in the 200 free and fifth in the 200 medley.
Individually, Wagner Brown placed fifth in the 100 backstroke and seventh in the 100 free, Vivian Brown sixth in back, Natalia Lopez seventh in 100 breaststroke, and Megan Neton eighth in the 200 individual medley, while new personal bests were reached in the 50 free by Maddy Caddy and Jayden Hill in the 100 back.
A week later, the group surged ahead with back-to-back meets in Aspen and Glenwood Springs.
The Aspen Invite saw the foursome of the Browns, Neton and Sarah Johnson achieve a season best in the 200 medley, placing eighth with a time of 2:22.51, while the 400 free and 200 free races saw placements of sixth and seventh. Hill also reached a new best in the 100 free and Neton in the 200 free solo race.
In Glenwood, though placements were best in the relays — 7th in 400 free, 8th in 200 free and 200 medley — MoCo swimmers saw even more considerable time cuts in the single races to set new team bests: Wagner Brown sixth in 100 back (1:16.6) and Morgan Schacht ninth in 200 IM (2:56.02).
With the state meet scheduled for Feb. 11, the league meet this Friday and Saturday in Grand Junction will be the final opportunity for swimmers to post a qualifying time, their best chances in the relays, within 12 seconds of the 2:10 standard after Aspen, and within seven seconds of the 1:56 mark in the 200 free thanks to a 2:03.03 set in Grand Junction.
Crunch time on the court
With three games across the week, it was a different tone by the end of the run for MCHS girls basketball compared to a few days prior.
The Bulldogs girls came off a dominant 59-11 win over Grand Junction on Jan. 24 to maintain a similar energy a few days later with a 60-51 victory over Montrose on Jan. 27.
Though the recently re-christened Red Hawks held a slim lead of 17-15 after one quarter, a three-pointer by senior Jacie Evenson to start the second period pushed MoCo girls ahead for the remainder of the night, leading 36-26 at halftime and 45-36 after three frames.
Seniors Halle Hamilton and Rylie Felten led scoring with 19 and 17 points, respectively, with Hamilton, Evenson and Reese Weber accumulating seven triples among them, and junior Lizzy LeWarne gaining 11 rebounds.
With Montrose splitting two games against MCHS’s greatest 3A Western Slope League foe, Delta, the Dogs were feeling lucky facing off against the Panthers Saturday afternoon. However, Delta girls ran the floor in a 60-32 rout that, apart from a 16-11 opener, was rarely close.
“We got beat up all four quarters. Delta is a really good team, but played very poorly,” said coach Eric Hamilton. “Really off night shooting and turnovers were very costly, turning into easy transition layups for Delta.”
In spite of the loss, Halle Hamilton added 14 points and seven boards and LeWarne eight points and 11 rebounds.
Given their successful rematch with Coal Ridge, coach Hamilton expects players will be able to adapt and come back all the stronger.
“These girls will bounce right back and play much better down this last stretch of league games,” coach Hamilton said.
While MoCo girls were fully anticipating trouble from a highly ranked Delta group, MCHS boys were taken aback by a Panther posse whose record was 3-8 heading into their meeting.
“We got outplayed from the tip. They came out with a lot of energy, hit some shots early and we couldn’t recover,” said coach Mark Carlson.
The result was a 59-42 loss for the Dogs, their first defeat in league play after a 61-58 squeaker over Coal Ridge.
While Bulldog boys struggled on both sides of the floor, junior Cort Murphy stayed the most steady with a double-double effort of 11 points — including the group’s only three-pointer — and 10 rebounds.
“We need to have a short-term memory and move past it with important league games coming up,” Carlson said.
MCHS hoops teams will have a busy weekend at home, with Friday night games against North Fork and Saturday afternoon matches with Gunnison, the latter of which will also serve as Senior Night.
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