Worth the weight: Moffat County wrestlers best Basalt in dual rematch
- 106, Dagan White/Wilber Pineda — MCHS pin, 1:18
- 113, Karson Cox/Axel Requeno — MCHS pin, 0:42
- 120, Blake Juergens/Miles Heck — MCHS decision, 7-2
- 126, Isiaih Herod/Zach Pagan — MCHS pin, 1:03
- 132, Chris Moschetti/None — MCHS win by forfeit
- 138, Daniel Caddy/None — MCHS win by forfeit
- 145, Ethan Powers/Jobey Esparza — MCHS pin, 0:53
- 152, Drake Zimmerman/None — MCHS win by forfeit
- 160, Connor Winn/Ryan Borchelt — Basalt pin, 3:08
- 170, Miki Klimper/None — MCHS win by forfeit
- 182, Elias Peroulis/Jose Castorena — MCHS pin, 0:21
- 195, Jefferson Piatt/Thomas Wirth — MCHS pin, 2:16
- 220, Toryn Hume/Ernie Lopez — MCHS pin, 3:17
With half his face guarded by a specialty mask, Moffat County High School wrestler Dagan White was giving away no hints to his opponent as to what was running through his mind Tuesday night, but once the whistle blew, he made his main thought pretty clear — winning.
MCHS grapplers were back on the mat this week, coming out strong after the winter break to beat Basalt 69-6 in a home dual. The Bulldogs were nearly back at full strength compared to a Dec. 12 meeting with the Longhorns, which Moffat County lost in points 42-40 due to forfeits at five weights.
“We knew we probably had the better team then, but it was what the final score showed,” said head coach Dennis Fredrickson.
However, in that match, the Dogs also had five pins and a win by decision, upping the ante this time to seven pins.
White led things off for the varsity bouts at 106 pounds, doing so with an extra bit of headgear — a protective mask made of foam rubber deemed medically necessary after he incurred a broken nose during team duals in Grand Junction in December.
Though he’s hoping not to need it much longer, White said he doesn’t mind the mask overall.
“It feels kind of weird, and it’s hard to see, but I’m not afraid to take shots, because you can’t feel it,” he said.
White said his nickname on the team is “Iron Man,” but he may as well have been “Iron Chef.” He quickly got Basalt’s Wilber Pineda under his control and flipped him like a pancake four times before taking the win by pin with 42 seconds remaining in the first round.
Karson Cox followed at 113 and made the clock an even two minutes split between himself and White, taking the victory by fall over Axel Requeno at 42 seconds.
Blake Juergens was next at 120, paired with Miles Heck, against whom he picked up a 12-1 major decision last month. Heck proved feistier this time, but Juergens still was able to corral the Longhorn in a 7-2 victory.
At 126, Isiaih Herod also met up with a former foe in Zach Pagan, whom he won by third-round pin in December, but the fall came much sooner this time, as Herod lifted Pagan off the mat within seconds, slammed him back down and moved to get him on his back with the clock showing 63 seconds elapsed.
Forfeits went to Bulldogs Chris Moschetti and Daniel Caddy at 132 and 138 followed by 145’s Ethan Powers quick pin against Jobey Esparza, getting the win at 53 seconds compared to 3:39 the last time the two met.
After spending nearly all of December recovering from an arm injury, Moffat County’s Drake Zimmerman was ready for some competition at 152, but Ryan Borchelt opted to wrestle up a weight against Connor Winn in the 160 bracket.
Borchelt and Winn proved to be one of the closest matches of the night, neither giving up any points in the first round, but Borchelt — who lost to MCHS’s Greg Hixson in December — made his move midway through the second period to take the win by fall.
“Connor’s really a 52, and that was kind of a higher level for him, but that’s a pretty good kid,” Fredrickson said of Borchelt, adding that having Hixson out with an ankle sprain likely made the night easier for the Longhorns.
Things sped up from there as Miki Klimper took a win by forfeit at 170 and 182’s Elias Peroulis wasted no time pinning Jose Castorena in only 21 seconds.
The tempo slowed back down a bit as the varsity matches came to a close with Jefferson Piatt and Toryn Hume at 195 and 220.
Piatt went back and forth with Thomas Wirth, who seemed to have the upper hand as he neared a pin against the Bulldog, only for Piatt to turn the tables with a reversal that led to a fall. Hume led Ernie Lopez 4-0 in the first period before finishing him in the next round.
Though junior varsity matches didn’t count toward the score for the night, MCHS JV wrestlers went 3-1 with a 10-4 decision for Coltyn Terry, 4-2 wins for both Jeremiah Ziegler and Brock Hartung and a loss by pin for Daniel Cruz.
While JV heads to the Vern Rose Memorial in Rangely this Saturday, varsity will attend the two-day Tournament of Champions starting Friday in Vernal, Utah, a highly-touted tourney featuring 40 schools across three states.
“This weekend will really shed a light on where we’re at,” Fredrickson said. “There’s several state championship teams and placers that’ll be there. There’s not an easy weight there, so if you do well, you’re really doing something right.”
While getting back into the schedule after vacation means training harder than ever, Moffat County and other teams benefit from a new “growth allowance” for weights. Colorado High School Activities Association permits wrestlers to be recorded up to two pounds over a given weight class, which was effective as of Jan. 2, which factors in fluctuations that can take place during the season.
An additional two pounds will also be allowed this weekend, which Fredrickson said should be a boon to the Bulldogs who struggle to cut weight.
Athletes are anticipating tough competition in Vernal, and they welcome the opportunity.
“Now that I’ve got that two-pound allowance, I can eat more, have more energy,” White said. “I don’t care who I wrestle, I’m just ready to go.”
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Following pressure from parents and a consultation with Moffat County Public Health, the Moffat County School District reversed course Monday and will now allow fans at sporting events in Season B.