Bulldogs back from break: Moffat County winter teams raring to go again
The days of their holiday break are coming to a close, which means the athletes of Moffat County High School are ready to roar back into the forefront with more intense competition ahead, starting with a January schedule that will keep them busy, whether on the court, on the ice, on the mat or in the pool.
Pep at the Pepsi Center
MCHS basketball will be at it sooner than any other Bulldog teams, picking up their season Friday in Denver as they face off against Aspen at the Pepsi Center.
The neutral venue is one that has treated the Dogs well, at least in the past season, when both boys and girls teams defeated Coal Ridge to open 3A Western Slope League play.
Former players Mattie Jo Duzik and Justin Dugan were also named MVPs at halftime of the accompanying Denver Nuggets game in a memorable night for Moffat County fans.
This week’s matchup could be even more promising — both MCHS squads hold a huge advantage over the Skiers, each Aspen team 1-4 in the early season.
At 4-3, Bulldog boys have had a strong start compared to their upcoming opponents, who last fell 81-51 to Vail Christian.
MCHS leads the conference in total points scored at 480 — partly due to having seven games compared to five or six for most — and are the only WSL team so far to have surpassed 90 points in a game, doing so twice in dual wins against Eagle Valley, according to MaxPreps.
Lady Bulldogs have averaged 43 points per game during their 5-2 early run, while Aspen girls’ average is 17.8 per outing, with their only win against a JV-level team at Meeker’s Cowboy Shootout.
Kinlie Brennise leads Moffat County girls in points with 70 so far, as well as 17 steals, while Brooke Gumber has 54 rebounds and eight blocks.
Additionally, Jana Camilletti boasts an 88 percent free throw success, missing only three of 29 attempts to date.
High school games start at 1:15 p.m. Friday, followed by the Nuggets’ game against the Utah Jazz. Visit nuggetstix.com/bulldogs15 for more information on admission, which is also a fundraiser for MCHS hoops.
MCHS varsity and JV basketball will host their first home games Jan. 12 and 13 against Grand Junction Central and Grand Valley, respectively, with another set of home games Jan. 19 against Rifle before seeing Aspen again on the road Jan. 20 and wrapping up the month Jan. 26 in Carbondale against Roaring Fork.
In between road events, Bulldog C-Teams will be on the MCHS floor Jan. 11 against Steamboat Springs and Jan. 26 against Meeker before hosting a home tournament Jan. 27.
The Moffat County Bulldogs of Craig Youth Hockey Association will be back at home for the first time in a month this weekend with a doubleheader against the Arvada Red team, a program the 18U Midgets have yet to see in the Colorado Recreational Hockey League.
However, the Bulldogs split with Arvada’s Gold team to start the season back in November, losing 5-3 and winning 6-2.
Games will take place at 11:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Moffat County Ice Arena.
The group will have minimal traveling in the next few weeks, also hosting Hyland Hills Jan. 20 and Uintah Jan. 27.
At 4-9 overall and 2-6 in CRHL play according to CAHA, the Bulldogs remain in the middle of the pack for the division at seventh of 10 teams.
Still, they are ranked third in total scoring with 53 goals, 26 of which have come from Wyatt Boatright, as well as Tristan Farquharson leading in assists with eight.
Goalie Jack Doane has earned 316 saves across 11 games.
No ‘wrest’ for the weary
Moffat County wrestling will be back in the Dog House Jan. 9 for a set of duals against Basalt, with weigh-ins at 5 p.m. and the main event following at MCHS.
In their first home dual in December, the Bulldogs saw not a single loss in a 60-0 night against Hayden.
Matches with the Longhorns will be a warm-up for the weekend in front of them, as JV heads to Rangely and the varsity roster takes to Vernal, Utah for Uintah High School’s Tournament of Champions, which brings together 41 schools from Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.
Rankings from On the Mat placed MCHS ninth among 3A schools, and Bulldogs could see a challenge in store from other Top 10 teams at the meet, including Paonia and Norwood/Nucla, No. 2 and 9 in 2A, respectively, or Grand Junction, currently the top 5A team.
Leading the charge at TOC will be Miki Klimper and Elias Peroulis with records of 20-1 and 19-2, as well as 18-3 Daniel Caddy, 11-5 Ethan Powers and 9-5 Toryn Hume, while additional grapplers who missed competition due to early injuries seek to make up for lost time.
Following the tourney will be more duals at home Jan. 18 against Rifle and Jan. 23 with Meeker, as well as an away bout Jan. 25 at Soroco.
Just getting their feet wet
MCHS girls swimming will have the longest wait before competing again, but a Jan. 13 meet hosted by Summit will see the Bulldogs’ aquatics athletes amply prepared for the remainder of the season.
They’ll be on the road for the rest — Jan. 19 in Aspen, Jan. 20 in Glenwood Springs and Jan. 27 at a triangular with Delta and Montezuma-Cortez.
Swimming is the shortest of Moffat County’s winter schedules, wrapping up entirely by mid-February, but MCHS plans to take it all the way to the state championships.
The 200-yard freestyle relay team is within four seconds of the 1:56 needed to qualify for state — set by Colorado High School Activities Association — with Kelsey McDiffett, Katelynn Turner, Alex Neton and Molly Neton looking to get past their 1:59.77 set at the Colorado Mesa University relay meet in December.
McDiffett is likewise aiming for state times in the 100 breaststroke — her best time 1:22.8 close to state’s 1:20 — and 200 individual medley — 2:39.99; 2:36 — and Molly Neton is closer still in the 100 backstroke, her 1:11.49 nearing the 1:10 benchmark.