Warrior might be out of reach
It’s not something heard often from a Moffat County High School wrestling coach, but Roman Gutierrez isn’t predicting a win for his team this weekend at the Warrior Classic in Grand Junction.
“A lot of it is going to depend on how we come out with the draws,” he said. “We could have some of our best wrestlers stuck with studs in the first round, and it would hurt us.”
The Warrior is a bracketed tournament that seeds wrestlers according to past success at state tournaments, Warrior Classic successes and a wrestler’s current record.
The Bulldogs aren’t bringing a lot of marks from past experience to get a good seed.
“Eric (Fredrickson) and Scott (Garoutte) are the only ones who will have a decent seed,” Gutierrez said. “Other guys who have been wrestling well like Jesse Brookshire might get some tough draws because they didn’t accomplish a lot last year.”
To make things worse for the Bulldogs’ hopes at winning the tournament for the fifth consecutive time is an absence of wrestlers in three weight classes. At 112s senior Adam Evans left the team this week indefintely and sophomore Steven Englert is on vacation. Junior Dale Owens is injured and won’t be there to fill in the 152 bracket. A lack of depth in the heavyweights leaves a spot at 171 open.
“Probably 171 is the toughest bracket in the tournament,” Gutierrez said. “Of course it is the Warrior so every bracket is tough.”
Three empty spots leave a lot of points that the Bulldogs can’t earn for the team race. With top teams from Utah, Arizona and Colorado at the meet the blue and white will need some colossal efforts.
“We are going to have to wrestle above our heads,” Gutierrez said. “We did it in Vegas in the finals (where they beat Temecula Valley, Calif.) and there are going to need to be a lot of points from the back door for us.”
The Bulldogs will get to see Class 4A powerhouses Alamosa and Pueblo South this weekend as well as Montrose who finished ahead of top-ranked Fort Morgan last weekend at the Pueblo East tournament last weekend.
Gutierrez said that his team will have a chance to win if the other teams beat up on each other enough to even out the points.
“There are a lot of studs in this tournament that once Saturday rolls around they will be beating up on each other,” he said. “Our unseeded need to earn some surprise wins.”
The tournament started this morning with the first round and the second round will conclude tonight at the Mesa State College gymnasium.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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