Moffat County wrestlers set roster, raise expectations for regional tourney
The roster is set, the season numbers crunched and athletes are ready as Moffat County High School wrestling prepares for the 3A Region 1 Tournament.
The two-day event in Montrose features the best of the Western Slope as teams vie for the opportunity to attend the state championships from Feb. 20 to 22 in Denver.
The top four contenders in each weight will represent their schools following regional events, and Bulldogs plan to get as many of their grapplers to the next level, with 12 of the 14 weight classes filled.
Last chance for seniors
All four of the MoCo upperclassmen will be in the mix at regionals as Daniel Caddy, Dagan White, Dario Alexander and Taylor Coleman look to make their last year of competition count.
Making the cut for state in the 152-pound brackets will mark all four years qualifying for the top state for Caddy, who looks to take his second consecutive regional crown after winning the 138 title in 2019, later placing fourth at state.
Caddy boasts the Bulldogs’ best win percentage this year with a 27-1 record, and his only loss to a Paonia opponent was later avenged on the way to victory at Tournament of Champions.
As far as state rankings, Caddy is the only Moffat County athlete who’s regularly been in the top three of the 3A lists, ranked third in 152 this week according to On the Mat.
The regional breakdown places Caddy at second in Region 1, just behind Cameron Lucero of Pagosa Springs, placed second in the state.
The powerhouse Pirates are fourth in 3A team rankings and second among Region 1 groups, seeking to deny Alamosa the top spot as the Mean Moose vie to repeat their team title from last season.
Pagosa Springs has three wrestlers currently ranked first in the region, including 138’s Dylan Tressler, with MoCo’s Dagan White placed third in the mix.
White, a two-year state competitor, had his best results at regionals last year as he advanced to the 120 finals, ultimately finishing runner-up.
While he sat out the past couple weeks as an injury precaution, he heads into the weekend at 16-11 and ready to get back into the action.
Fellow seniors Alexander (126) and Coleman (145) will be seeing the regional level for the first time for Moffat County, and though they have each had to fight for position in the lineup with others at their weights, they’ll be hungry to compete.
Weight — Wrestler, varsity season record; pre-tournament regional ranking
106 — Kaden Hixson, 35-4; 1st
113 — Caden Call, 28-9; 2nd
120 — Anthony Duran, 24-12; 1st
126 — Dario Alexander, 2-6
132 — Blake Juergens, 14-8
138 — Dagan White, 16-11; 3rd
145 — Taylor Coleman, 2-9
152 — Daniel Caddy, 27-1; 2nd
160 — Pepper Rhyne, 29-7; 3rd
170 — Michael Voloshin, 20-7
182 — Billy Lawton, 11-11
195 — Daniel Cruz, 9-18
Back in the grind
Among a young team, Blake Juergens and Daniel Cruz are neither among the oldest nor youngest, though both are looking to build momentum as they move toward next year’s senior season.
This weekend will be the second trip to regionals for each, with Juergens placing fifth in the 113 weight in 2018 as a freshman — just short of the cut-off for state — and Cruz competing last season at the Dogs’ 160 class.
The two juniors have been shuffled around in weights again this season, but with Juergens comfortably in the 132 class and Cruz jumping up to 195, they’ll be seeing ample competition.
Among sophomores, Caden Call will be seeing his first go at regionals among the top grapplers in the area’s 113 class, most recently ranked second in 3A Region 1, just behind Alamosa’s Davion Chavez.
After a rough go last year in the 152 regionals, Pepper Rhyne’s 29-7 record puts him in third at 160, while Anthony Duran (24-12) looks to be the one to beat in the tourney’s 120 class, ranked first in Region 1 just ahead of Alamosa’s Brandon Reveles.
Placement in the regional event this weekend will put Duran at state for the second straight year after finishing third in the 113 regionals in 2019.
First of many
Moffat County was without representation in the top five weights last season at regionals, and though no Bulldogs will be suiting up for the 220 or heavyweight slots, first-year MCHS athletes Michael Voloshin and Billy Lawton will be ready to rumble with the older wrestlers of the 170 and 182 classes.
In the lower weights, teammate and fellow freshman Kaden Hixson holds more wins than any other Bulldog this year, and a 35-4 record combined with crucial victories against highly ranked opponents has him ranked by On the Mat as first in the 106 class for the region.
Bulldogs recently competed against one another in wrestle-offs to determine who would make the trip to Montrose, though some of the team’s strong competitors were already out of the running for the season with injuries, such as Ryan Duzik, Brody Wiser and Trace Frederickson.
“We’ve had a lot of bumps,” said head coach Tyler Seislove.
Though war wounds have impacted the roster, it hasn’t changed how many athletes view the end of the season, he added.
“We have a lot of young guys, but they have a lot of high expectations for themselves to compete well,” Seislove said. “I expect just as much for them to reach their full potential.”