Craig Middle School wrestling locks down win over Meeker | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Middle School wrestling locks down win over Meeker

Team traveling to Steamboat, Montrose

Anyone who thinks athletes younger than high school age can't get a crowd excited clearly wasn't in the Craig Middle SchoolCraig Middle School gym Tuesday. gym Tuesday.

Craig Middle School gym Tuesday.

CMS wrestlers have only one outing on their home mats this season, and they made it count with a 70-21 dual against Meeker in which the Bulldog varsity grapplers got the crowd making some noise.

The ruckus from the stands rose and fell during the early rounds but became ear-splitting once the final varsity match of the evening began to get heated as CMS heavyweight Drake Doherty went to a three-point tie against the Cowboys' Ridge Williams.

Doherty had gotten quick points for a fast takedown to start the period, but his aggressiveness later backfired when he was penalized twice, giving Williams the advantage.

Doherty managed an escape in the third period that sent them into overtime, but after each wrestler gained points for another escape, Williams was called for a bad hold, giving the 5-4 victory to the Bulldog and earning a standing ovation from the spectators.

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Despite the high-energy battle between the two foes — the Cowboy having claimed a championship Saturday in a Hayden tournament to make Doherty the runner-up of the weight class — each showed their sportsmanship by congratulating each other as they left the mat.

The eighth-grader's feeling afterward could be summed up in one word.

"Relief," he smiled.

After starting wrestling last season, he's feeling a lot more confident this time.

"It's way easier than last year, that's for sure," he said.

Leading up to Doherty's bout, the Bulldogs had won most of the lineup, with pins by Slater Durbin, Gage Kawcak, Daniel Caddy, Logan Hafey and Kameron Baker, as well as wins by decision for Ryan Duzik, Kaden Cox, Joe Neal, Keaton Durbin and Corey Scranton to add to the varsity tally.

Dagan White and Tyler Fortune also won by fall, as did Blake Juergens in an 11-1 match for exhibition events that followed, 10 more of which Meeker won, though without picking up any points.

"We wanted to get all our kids a match, and (Meeker) was kind enough to wrestle kids twice," said CMS assistant coach Daniel Cramblett.

The CMS wrestling schedule is quick, Cramblett said, and the start to the year is encouraging between eight champions in Hayden and many powerful outcomes at home.

The team will be heading to two different locations this weekend, as varsity-level competitors head to Montrose and others closer to home in Steamboat Springs.

"The Montrose one is a pretty tough little tournament, a lot of teams around Grand Junction we don't see a lot," he said.

As one of the smallest athletes on the team, sixth-grader Dylan Zimmerman was one of the few CMS kids unable to wrestle Tuesday, with no one his size available on the Meeker roster in the 75-pound class.

It's his first year of competing through the school, but as part of Moffat County Youth Wrestling, he's got many years behind him in the sport and even after the CMS year is finished, he still can look forward to MCYW's schedule.

Before that, he'll be headed to Montrose.

"I can't wait to get back out on that mat," he grinned.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.