Work heating up for Moffat County winter sports

Moffat County High School wrestlers work on their technique on the first day of official practices.
Andy Bockelman

With the weather cooling down, the athletes of Moffat County High School will move their way indoors, and the Bulldog teams are already hard at work.

Nov. 10 was the first official day for practices to begin under Colorado High School Activities Association rules, and in their first week, MCHS basketball, wrestling and girls swimming have gotten back into the groove.

For some, the wait was longer than others.

Swimmers had fewer opportunities during the fall to hit the water, though the summertime team Craig Sea Sharks provided the boost outside of winter that Moffat County girls need, said coach Meghan Francone.

“Some of these girls haven’t touched the water since last season, so our goal right now is to get back to basics, get our technique under us,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of great additions, a lot of strong swimmers.”

MCHS swimming will host a Dec. 1 triangular with Summit and Glenwood Springs, which will be Moffat County winter sports’ first home event, as well as the first home meet in several years for the girls program.

The third floor of MCHS has been busy week to week as the wrestling room has been open for optional practices for the past few months. Coach Dennis Fredrickson said he was pleased with the amount of competitors who turned out for those sessions and is looking forward to seeing more now that the season is truly underway.

“So far we’re not trying to push them, just get them used to what we’re doing in warm-ups and conditioning drills,” he said. “We’re working on positioning right now, a whole series I have. Once we get into those, we’ll move on. With the seniors, we want to make sure it’s not too different from what they’re used to, but a lot of the younger kids pick it up pretty quick.”

Varsity wrestlers will attend a varsity tournament at Colorado Mesa University Dec. 2, while JV will head to Olathe the same day to start the season.

Last but not least, open gyms for both boys and girls basketball have allowed for players to keep in shape in the off-season, and dozens turned out for each program’s tryouts.

The kickoff for the girls team saw players take to the gym for multiple practices, as well as a team dinner and a lock-in last week to start on the right foot.

“Great numbers this year,” head coach Kenley Nebeker said, noting that athletes hit the weight room with gusto this season.

MCHS girls will also host a set of scrimmages this Saturday against Steamboat Springs, Soroco, Hayden and Meeker.

“The way I’ve pitched it is it’ll give us an opportunity to look at each other early in the season,” he said. “I also want to do scrimmages during Christmas break so we can see the progression, an dipstick to see where we’ve gotten to. I think all the coaches like that idea.”

Varsity and JV teams for MCHS girls basketball will open play at Meeker’s White River Electric Cowboy Shootout starting Nov. 30.

Boys coach Eric Hamilton said his first practice was an excellent showcase of talent.

“Very competitive, a lot of guys trying to make the team,” he said.

A Lake County tournament at the start of December will be varsity boys hoops’ first games, led off by a JV tourney in Fruita-Monument Nov. 30.

Hamilton added he’ll be tweaking his stratagem this year against what’s expected to be a

slate of sizable opponents within the Western Slope League.

“We’ve just gotta be ready to defend, to stop people,” he said. “I know we can score, we just really need to be able to defend and rebound.”

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