Road warriors |

Road warriors

Moffat County High School winter sports teams open season on the road

John Vandelinder

— Location, location, location. It seems to be the deciding factor when Moffat County High School athletic/activities director Jeff Simon negotiates scheduling for the school’s sports teams.

In an annual right of passage, the Bulldogs swimming, wrestling and boys and girls basketball teams open the sporting season on the road.

“Every year, we find ourselves traveling to preseason tournaments,” Simon said. “With our location, it’s hard to get teams to come here.”

Simon said that what the situation demands is how the schedule plays out.

“The girls (basketball team) always travels,” he said. “The boys (basketball team) is in a two-year contract with schools like Alamosa, where we travel there one year to get them to come here the next.”

Boys basketball coach Steve Maneotis doesn’t necessarily loathe the format, but he doesn’t embrace it either.

His team opens the season Dec. 8 but won’t play a home game until a matchup with Steamboat Springs on Jan. 8. The team plays 15 of its 22 games as the visitor.

“We have contracts with other schools that we are in the second year of,” he said. “It puts us in a pickle, but it is a two-fold sword. We are trying to get teams to come to Craig.”

Maneotis said he believes the time away from home should help strengthen his team in the long run.

“It will teach us how to win on the road,” he said. “We look forward to the opportunity to develop the team before we play in front of the home crowd. You have to be a good road team to have a successful year.”

The girls basketball team plays 13 of its scheduled 22 games on the road, the wrestling team has 11 of its 16 matches on the road and the swimming team has just three of its 17 meets in the Bulldogs pool.

“We have quality programs here at Moffat County,” Simon said. “All the road games simply build up the anticipation for when the teams do have a home contest. The traveling gives the teams more game time and more minutes on the court. I think it helps them prepare for the season.”

Swimmer Kelsey Conci doesn’t worry about the lack of time afforded to her team inside the Moffat County pool. She actually embraces the travel.

Conci said the traveling helps the team a lot, enabling them the chance to see what it takes to be at a meet. She believes it will make the team better come postseason time.

She also likes hitting the road because she thinks the travel brings the team closer together as a unit, and the time together on the bus and in hotels simply is fun.

“I look forward to the traveling,” she said. “Most of the meets are later in the day so when we stay in hotels, we get to sleep in. At night, we stay up late playing around in the pools. It’s a lot of fun.”

John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or

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