CMS wrestling preparing athletes for high school |

CMS wrestling preparing athletes for high school

Joshua Gordon

Four years ago, the Craig Middle School wrestling team only consisted of nine athletes.

Now, as the end of the Bulldogs' 2011 season draws closer, the 26 wrestlers on the current roster are making strides to make the CMS program known.

"Our participation is way up this year," coach Ron Linsacum said. "We are working on fundamentals right now and trying to get them on track for what they can expect in high school."

The team began the season Feb. 26 in the Craig Invitational.

The Bulldogs took third overall out of 10 teams in their home gymnasium.

On March 12, the Bulldogs competed in the Oak Creek and Soroco Invitational, which Linsacum said is the equivalent of a district meet.

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"There was about 15 teams there and we beat everyone of them by about 20 points," he said. "We had seven individual champions and a couple of our wrestlers took fourth, as well."

Eighth grader Ashlee Griffiths and seventh grader Shandon Hadley, the team's standout wrestlers, are undefeated at 11-0.

Griffiths, the sister of Moffat County High School wrestling state finisher Charlie Griffiths, said her hard work has allowed her to go undefeated.

"I have been working out and running a lot," she said. "I have been doing a lot on my feet and have been able to take most of my opponents down pretty easily."

Hadley, who comes from the Craig Bad Dogs youth wrestling program, said the extra practice has also helped him this year.

"In Bad Dogs, we only practiced two days a week," he said. "Practicing every day has helped me in a lot of areas of my technique."

Moving forward, Linsacum said if Griffiths can get stronger, she would be one of the best in the program.

"Ashlee is really aggressive and is always going to be tough in a match," he said. "If she was a little stronger, she would hang with anyone on the mat."

Linsacum said his team has lost three big contributors either to sickness or injury and late in the season, his team is getting tired.

"A lot of the kids on my team are three- or four-sport athletes," he said. "Their work ethic is phenomenal and they practice really hard."

Linsacum said a wrestler who has stepped up is eighth-grader Omar Pizono.

"Omar had never been on a mat before this year," he said. "He went from going 0-3 in the Hayden tournament to going 3-0 and being district champion the next week.

"He came back and pinned every kid that beat him the week before."

In the wrestling room at CMS, Linsacum said it is a team effort from the coaches to get the wrestlers ready.

Linsacum said he mainly works with wrestlers on their feet and takedowns, while fellow coaches Mark Voloshin and Roman Gutierrez also share their expertise with the wrestlers.

"Mark really helps with the top position while Roman helps the kids with their pinning combinations," he said. "We are all trying to get the kids polished up and have a smooth transition to high school."

The team will compete today at Granby Middle School.

Season at a glance

Top performers for the Craig Middle School wrestling team this season:

(Name — grade — record)

• Ashlee Griffiths — 8 — 11-0

• Shandon Hadley — 7 — 11-0

• Issac Herod — 7 — 11-3

• Stelious Peroulis — 7 — 10-3

• Garrett Uptain — 7 — 9-2

• Brett Loyd — 7 — 9-2

• Tyler Wells — 8 — 9-3

• Thayne Riley — 8 — 9-1

• Kelsey Coates — 8 — 8-3