Moffat County wrestling roster moves no further than semifinals, but team score remains high
For the Craig Press
It’s been two days of intense grappling in the Mile High City, and Moffat County High School wrestling remains well in the upper echelon of team rankings.
With seven total Bulldog athletes still in the competition at the state championships after Friday action, MoCo is seventh among all 3A teams.
The morning rounds were rough for MoCo boys, as all but 160-pound junior Michael Voloshin and 170 senior Pepper Rhyne were knocked out of the quarterfinals, with both Voloshin and Rhyne pinning opponents from Bennett and Platte Valley, respectively, to move on to the semis.
Once there, Rhyne had a faceoff with Mullen’s Kaleb Valdez-Lemos turned one-sided fast, as the Mustang racked up plenty of points before getting the pin in the final minute of the match.
As for Voloshin, he held his own for nearly 6 minutes against Eddie Lemos of Resurrection Christian, the pair nearing overtime tied 6-6. However, a literal last-second takedown by Lemos gave him two more points and stamped his ticket to the finals.
Despite the losses, Voloshin and Rhyne are guaranteed to place on the weekend.
The first set of consolation bouts didn’t go well for senior Kalub West (145) or junior Billy Lawton (182), each picking up their second loss in as many days to finish their state runs.
Sophomores Eli Fredrickson (132) and Blake Hill (195) each came back from Thursday losses, with a 5-1 decision for Fredrickson and a fall for Hill, though Fredrickson’s next match against Jefferson proved to be his last, ending it 6-2.
As for the rest in the back brackets, previous losses were a powerful motivator, as Kaden Hixson (120) showed no mercy in a 17-0 technical fall, Anthony Duran (126) had things under control in a 7-1 win, and Caden Call (138), Ryan Duzik (152) and Hill each earned pins to stay in the conversation to place Saturday.
MoCo student Makaela Simpson, representing Soroco, also has a shot at the podium in the girls division; while she was quickly pinned in her quarterfinal, she stayed atop her Bennett opponent to move on to a third day of state.
The final day of matches begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Ball Arena in Denver.
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