Moffat County winter sports start their seasons | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County winter sports start their seasons

Swimming, basketball, wrestling travel for weekend events

The football and soccer fields and golf greens may no longer be in use in Northwest Colorado as the days grow chillier, but the competitive nature of Moffat County High School athletes is hot as ever.

The winter sports season goes underway this weekend, as each of MCHS's teams begins their year, including wrestling, girls swimming and boys and girls basketball.

All teams will be on the road to start out, as swimmers make their way to Glenwood Springs Friday for their opening meet, while boys and girls head east and west, respectively, for early season events.

The boys will be on the Front Range at Kent Denver High School, in Englewood, as the Sun Devils host the Herman Schayes Memorial Tournament.

The Bulldogs are coming off a sixth-place finish in 3A last season, and pre-season rankings by Colorado High School Activities Association — as voted on by coaches and media across the state — put MCHS boys as the No. 4 team in the division this year, the only public school in the top 10 and higher than Kent (8), as well as St. Mary's (7) and The Pinnacle (10), squads which will also be part of the two-day tourney.

Head coach Eric Hamilton said he's looking forward to checking out the talent on the other side of the state as his crew gets on the floor, their only taste of competition thus far scrimmages against Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs.

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"We'll be playing some really strong 3A teams, so it should be a great opener for us," Hamilton said. "We won't be playing St. Mary's, but we'll get a chance to see them play, so we'll be able to see where we are right off the bat."

Elsewhere, the girls will travel to Uintah High School in Vernal, Utah, facing the Grizzlies of Logan High School for their first of three matches during the Shanon Johnson Tournament.

First-year MCHS coach Sam McLeod said he hopes the event will continue to give him insight into his players' capabilities. Last year, the girls won two out of three in the kickoff to their schedule, which ultimately ran though the second round of the postseason.

"I haven't seen a lot of play in Utah, but from what I've seen historically, looking at the scoreboard, they've always been tight games, and it's a good way to start the season," he said.

Finally, on Saturday, MCHS wrestling will take its junior varsity grapplers to Olathe varsity while the varsity group goes to Middle Park High School in Granby for a 20-team gathering of squads from both within and outside the region.

"It's a good starting-off tournament, and my expectation is just to be able to compete, to be honest," said coach Tanner Linsacum. "To compete is our biggest goal, I'm not so worried about wins and losses but more about finishing matches, wanting to win and learning how to get better. My expectation is that they give me 100 percent effort."

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