Moffat County wrestlers keep kicking at Day 1 of regional tourney
From feisty freshmen to a stalwart senior, the athletes of Moffat County High School wrestling showed their strengths Friday during the opening rounds of the 3A Region 1 Tournament.
With nine Bulldogs attending the big event in Montrose, eight will continue to the second day with several MoCo grapplers already certain to claim a spot on the podium by Saturday evening.
Following the first round and quarterfinals, Hunter Fredrickson (106 pounds), Anthony Duran (113), Dagan White (120), Isiaih Herod (132) and Daniel Caddy (138) will take sixth or better as they progress to the Saturday semifinals.
Fredrickson, Duran and White each took a bye round to start the day Friday, but Fredrickson followed with a 17-4 major decision against Glenwood Springs’ Ray Rosenmerkel, while Duran picked up a 16-0 technical fall in a dominating bout against Basalt’s Walker Lassiter.
White wasted no time on getting back to 3A state, the first step of which was a pin in less than 30 seconds against Rifle’s Justin Henderson.
Herod and Caddy didn’t get a gimme in the first round, though neither much minded.
Herod, the team’s lone senior still in competition, took a fall over Zach Jackson in about one minute for starters before moving on to Glenwood’s Matthew Flores.
Flores nearly had to take a medical forfeit with a heavily bandaged knee, though he sprang into action late in the match to surprise Herod, who nonetheless wrestled smart until the whistle to win 10-9.
In another pairing of the Longhorns and the Bulldogs, Caddy pinned Basalt’s Nathan Rivera in the second period and felled Mohammed Alnajdawi of Steamboat Springs to get his slot in the semis.
Still, Basalt did cause the Dogs some grief. Ryan Duzik was knocked out of championship possibilities with a loss by 13-4 MD to Longhorn Zach Pagan in the 126 class. Daniel Cruz (160) likewise was pinned by Basalt’s Ruben Samuelson, while at 152, Brock Hartung fell to Olathe’s Brent Gray.
Hartung and Cruz each had byes to start the day and to end it in the consolation rounds, though Duzik bounced back after his loss, gaining a 6-2 decision over Bryce Rowley of Rifle.
In the 145 bracket, Pepper Rhyne had a whirlwind start, taken down in an 18-3 tech fall loss to Alamosa’s Hunter Smith, taking another defeat in the double-elimination tourney with a pin by Steamboat’s Caleb Anderson.
“You come into a big venue like this, and for kids who haven’t been here before, it’s kind of shell-shocking,” said coach Dusty Vaughn. “It keeps you on your heels, and you can get in trouble real quick. This is where the tough kids are.”
The regional event is one of the weightiest yet for members of the team in their first year of high school, including Rhyne, Duzik, Duran and Fredrickson.
Even so, the freshmen aren’t too intimidated.
“I feel like I’ve been doing my part for the team, keeping it tight, and I’m ready for tomorrow,” Fredrickson said.
A blend of Northwest Colorado imagery and splashy colors now greets Craig drivers and pedestrians.