Moffat County wrestlers battle back to stay in mix at Warrior Classic
GRAND JUNCTION — Bulldog grapplers knew the final week of competition before Christmas would be their fiercest yet, and Moffat County High School athletes brought their determination to the opening rounds and beyond at Grand Junction Central’s Warrior Classic.
With more than half of their varsity roster still standing after the first day at the multi-state Western Slope tournament, the Dogs are ready to fight Saturday following the Friday fracas.
MoCo is guaranteed at least one placement at this point, with freshman Kaden Hixson moving into the Saturday morning semifinals of the 106-pound bracket, remaining undefeated in the early season with two pins and a sudden victory in the opening rounds of the Warrior.
Though he went into the Classic without a loss this season and earned a pin to start the tourney, 152’s Daniel Caddy took his first defeat in the quarterfinals during an 11-5 decision that went to Paonia’s Zeb Etter.
Fellow senior Dagan White (138) took a hard loss right away to Bayfield’s Dylan Pickering — 18-5 major decision — but he remained a threat in the consolation rounds with a 12-4 MD over Palisade’s Nathan Bollinger.
White dominated in his last bout of the night, throwing around Grand Valley’s Connor Ostermiller to quickly get points on the board.
He was on the verge of a technical fall, giving up no points to Ostermiller, but coach Tyler Seislove shouted from the corner for White to focus on gaining the full fall, which he did by putting his opponent on his head for the referee’s count.
“Once you get the right movement, you can feel their body, and you know what to do,” White said.
It may have meant a minimal difference for the team tally but every point counts, he added.
“We want to get that team score as high as we can,” White said.
Elsewhere, Caden Call (113), Anthony Duran (120) and Pepper Rhyne (160) each came back from initial losses to fight through the back route.
Call looked like he may have been done for the day against Dominqu Martinez of Piedra Vista, but a perfectly executed reversal caught his foe off-guard as the match ended with the pin for the Bulldog.
Still, Call admitted he missed a window in the first period that could have won it much sooner.
“It was a good match, but I should have gotten a takedown to start with,” he said.
At 2-2 for the day, Ryan Duzik (132), Michael Voloshin (170) and Daniel Cruz (182) each wrapped up Friday sooner than they wanted, and though none was on their backs, they finished with some heartache.
Duzik couldn’t quite catch up in a 6-3 decision, Voloshin was on the wrong end of a 15-0 tech fall and Cruz lost by a 10-6 sudden victory.
Cruz noted that while challenging, the level of competition meant he was building strength in turn.
“There’s a lot of stuff to learn here at a big tournament like this,” he said.
The first event back in the wrestling program after a two-year hiatus for senior Dario Alexander (126) put him at 1-2 for the season, including a pin of North Sevier’s Braydan Robles.
Wrestling up a weight class at 145 provided a trying time for Coltyn Terry, slightly outsized in two straight matches, losing by decision 9-6 and 4-0.
Even so, he was pleased to represent at the varsity level.
“It’s a lot more fun here,” he said.
Moffat County junior varsity spent the day several miles south at the Fruita Monument JV Invite, with Brody Wiser (106), Blake Juergens (138), and Sean Byers (145) remaining in the tournament for Day 2.