Moffat County wrestling fights through home opener with Basalt
A quick run for Moffat County High School wrestling got increasingly exciting in the first home meet for Bulldog grapplers.
Wednesday night saw MCHS host the Basalt Longhorns in a dual match, one which saw the Dogs win 54-18.
With eight uncontested weights, the advantage immediately went to the Bulldogs as seven of the Moffat County crew — Kaden Hixson, Brody Wiser, Caden Call, Anthony Duran, Ryan Duzik, Blake Juergens, Dagan White — and Basalt heavyweight Ernesto Lopez had only to jog onto the mat to have their arm raised and claim a forfeit.
But, the four weight classes where the two teams went head to head contained some swift action.
At 152 pounds, Daniel Caddy came out fiercely against Longhorn Ryan Zheng, building up a 13-3 lead with takedowns and near falls near the edge of the ring until he pinned his opponent at 1:48.
Though Caddy is 8-0 to start the season, this was only his third official match, earning three forfeits at the Maverick Duals and the only one at his weight at the Steamboat Springs triangular.
Though his bouts have been sporadic, the first two weeks of the season have hardly been boring.
“It’s still fun watching my team,” Caddy said.
MoCo’s Pepper Rhyne followed suit against Brady Samuelson at the 160 class, also getting into double digits and holding a 10-0 count on the scoreboard before he earned the fall at 1:46.
However, the Longhorns didn’t take the two first period pins lightly.
Matched with Bulldog Billy Lawton (170), Ruben Samuelson took on the Moffat County freshman with vigor, getting Lawton onto the mat in 46 seconds.
MCHS head coach Tyler Seislove noted that as a younger competitor at a higher weight, Lawton will likely see opponents with more experience in his first year of high school.
“For any freshman, there’s always a learning curve. He’s really coming around and working hard, figuring everything out,” he said. “We want to keep them all improving.”
Daniel Cruz (182) had the longest varsity match of the evening but had his work cut out for him against Basalt’s Jose Castorena. Cruz trailed only 2-1 after the first round, but the second period saw Castorena gain the fall at 2:54.
The 2-2 night for varsity had both its pros and cons, Seislove said. While fast victories are great, he emphasized that wrestlers need to be able to go the distance if the early show of strength doesn’t result the way they want.
“We’re doing really well pinning, but when we lose, we’re getting pinned too often. If we want to beat the good teams, we’ve got stop giving up bonus points in some of these matches,” he said.
While Bulldogs haven’t lacked in late points so far, it’s still something he feels the team can build on in coming weeks.
“It’s something mentally you have to work on,” he said.
The junior varsity exhibition matches later in the evening gave the home crowd their money’s worth as well as showing the skills of the rest of the Bulldog roster.
Taylor Coleman was paired with Zheng at the 152 slot, and the first-year Bulldog went the full three rounds — bloodying the Longhorn’s nose in the process — with a 10-2 decision.
Alexander Black was matched with Brady Samuelson, who fought back from Black’s 6-3 lead to gain a pin midway through the second period.
“We have some pretty talented JV guys who matched up well with their varsity,” Seislove said. “Really proud of their effort.”
It was Michael Voloshin who got spectators roused as he battled Ruben Samuelson with a 2-2 draw heading into the last two minutes.
Despite his own bloody nose, Voloshin earned a takedown before nearly getting in trouble against the Longhorn’s counter, which in turn saw Voloshin gain a reversal to finish the night 7-2.
“That went pretty good, I was feeling pretty conditioned,” Voloshin said. “All my teammates have been helping me out, making me better.”
Though Samuelson had defeated his teammate earlier, Voloshin knew he couldn’t expect him to be too tired.
“He was pretty well-rested by then,” he said.
Moffat County will travel to Hotchkiss for a dual Friday, which will lead the Bulldogs into another weekend of big competition at the Grand Junction Tiger Duals for varsity and the Rifle JV Invitational for the rest of them.
While the following weekend will see the group at Central’s Warrior Classic and the Fruita Monument JV event, the penultimate week of competition may be the most hectic, Seislove said.
“This week is kind of hard — a lot of matches and not a whole lot of practice time,” he said. “We’re really hoping the stuff we worked on practice earlier in the year carries over so there’s things the coaching staff can identify that we can help them work on.”