Not your typical rebuilding plan | CraigDailyPress.com

Not your typical rebuilding plan

MCHS grapplers back to prove last year is history

John Vandelinder

One.

For a team that has grown accustomed to annually fielding one of the top high school wrestling squads in the state, the number above – MCHS’ state wrestling tournament placers of a year ago – is tough to swallow.

But many things can change in a year.

And the Bulldogs grapplers are out to prove it.

“In the past, our main goal has always been to win a state championship,” coach Roman Gutierrez said. “I think this year, it’s just to get as many state placers as possible. You know, we had one last year, and hopefully our goal will be to have at least six placers.”

Leading the Moffat County charge is sophomore Charlie Griffiths. Griffiths – as a freshman – was the lone Bulldog state placer, finishing sixth in the 130-pound weight class – a division where he was the lone underclassman.

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“Charlie should be even better this year,” Gutierrez said. “He’ll be stronger and more experienced this year.”

The Bulldogs picked up transfer Ethan Kinner, who finished second at state last year while wrestling at 119 pounds for Hilltop Baptist High School.

Heavyweight Halen Raymond joins the team, giving Gutierrez what he calls a “fierce competitor once he gets the rust off.”

In the past, Gutierrez’s teams have proved to be hard working and focused.

This year should be no different.

“We have 24 to 25 kids this year, and normally, we have 18 to 20, so that’s a good start,” he said. “They all work hard and have good workout partners, so that really helps.

“It gives them competition now so they can’t just assume they have a spot, and they have to compete against one another now.”

The team lost just three grapplers from a year ago and returns 15.

That’s a number that should pay dividends for the Bulldogs.

“I think, for the next couple of years, we are really going to see it start paying off,” Gutierrez said. “Most of these kids were sophomores last year, and now, they’re juniors with a handful of seniors. We just have to get them on the right track.”

The track that leads to Denver’s Pepsi Center – home of the state finals.

John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com