Top Dogs: 4 Moffat County wrestlers move on to state quarterfinals
DENVER — Moffat County High School wrestlers took both confident wins and hard-fought defeats Thursday during the opening round of the 3A CHSAA State Championships.
Bulldogs are tied for seventh overall, with 14 points and four of 11 grapplers moving on to the the quarterfinals.
Dagan White (106 pounds), Chris Moschetti (132), Miki Klimper (170) and Elias Peroulis (182) each took a victory to start the biggest tournament of the season.
White, Klimper and Peroulis each won by fall, matched up with competitors from Valley, Pagosa Springs and Salida, respectively.
The win by White, who took third at the 3A Region 3 Tournament, took some time against Javan Valdez, but he got the Viking into pin position with 59 seconds left in the match. Klimper, the top-ranked competitor in his weight, got the Pirates’ Ian Reinhardt on his back midway through the second period, while Peroulis dominated the Spartans’ Jesse Camp, getting the fall with his family and other MCHS fans chanting in support with six seconds in the first period.
Moschetti battled through a close bout with Alamosa’s Tyler Kenison but stayed in front to advance with a 4-3 decision.
The four of them will progress in the championship rounds — White will meet Woodland Park’s Zach Dooley, and Moschetti will challenge Homero Navarro of Sheridan.
Peroulis will take on Grand Valley’s Michael Kelly, and Klimper will see a rematch against Braeson Lewis of Eaton, whom he pinned to win January’s Valley Viking Invitational.
The seven additional Dogs struggled in their first matches but will move on to the consolation rounds for a chance to place as high as third in the tourney.
MCHS coach Dennis Fredrickson said he was pleased with the quality of wins, though he was surprised to take seven losses so soon.
Fredrickson noted that he thought a loss by Daniel Caddy (138) was most shocking as he took a 15-9 defeat to Brush’s Oswaldo Nunez with the Beetdigger earning multiple near-falls.
“Daniel had a winnable match, and I think he’s a better wrestler than what he’s been showing, but other kids are there to win, too,” he said. “I really think he’s got the heart for it to come back and the skills for it.”
Caddy placed second in regionals, as did Drake Zimmerman (152) who went 4-0 in a loss to Woodland Park’s Cole Gray, and Toryn Hume (220), enduring a 6-1 loss to Alamosa’s Logan Thompson.
Third-place regional recipient Jefferson Piatt (195) kept it even with Berthoud’s Brock Johnson before losing by second-period fall.
Fredrickson said that the three fourth-place regional finishers were the wrestlers who would have the most trouble on the first day, each matched up with a regional champ.
Isiaih Herod (126) took a 16-0 technical fall defeat to Salida’s Ryan Moltz, and Greg Hixson (160) battled his best before a third-period pin by Eaton’s Ty Garnhart.
Ethan Powers (145) also took a loss by tech fall, but he managed to add some points before the 19-3 total built up by Centauri’s Brandon Buhr.
“I got a takedown on him, but I don’t think I was aggressive enough,” he said.
Powers will have a tough match again Friday when he sees Alamosa’s Kolten Hillis.
“I looked him up, and it seems like we’ll be pretty even,” he said.
Despite their early setbacks, Fredrickson said he anticipates any and all athletes can stay the course Friday and Saturday, even taking the long route through the consolations.
“I really think they can all come back,” he said. “I don’t see why we can’t get everybody through the next round. That’s when it gets tough, so we just have to hang in there. It can turn around in a hurry, and I think we’ve got the kids who will do it.”
The Moffat County High School volleyball might want to consider bringing a cleaning crew with them to away games, because once the MoCo student section broke out the brooms, a Saturday sweep was all but a certainty.