Wrestlers second in opening tourney
The opening tournament for the Moffat County wrestling team went about as expected.
At the Middle Park Invitational on Saturday, the lower weights scored a majority of the team’s points, defending state champion Korey Kostur’s 145-pound bracket was stacked, and the young Bulldogs found a way to wrestle well.
All were items coach Roman Gutierrez predicted before the tournament.
Moffat County finished in second place, behind defending Class 4A state champions Pueblo South, 220-189.
The Bulldogs, No. 6 in 4A, had 10 wrestlers place in the top four. Nine of those were in the lower 10 weight classes. Moffat County finished in front of 3A’s No. 6 Olathe and Eagle Valley, 4A’s No. 5.
“For our youth, I thought we had a good effort,” Gutierrez said. “We wrestled on top aggressive, but from our feet and on the bottom, we need some work.”
The marquee match of the tournament happened in the 145-pound championship match between Moffat senior Korey Kostur and South senior Mark Beaudry.
Both wrestlers were state champions last year, but Beaudry had the career advantage, 2-0.
The seniors went into overtime at 9-9, and Beaudry found an opening for a takedown and the win.
Kostur has six losses since his sophomore year, three of which are against the Pueblo South wrestler.
“An early loss for every kid is never a bad thing,” Gutierrez said. “Korey didn’t need it as a wake up call, but it will make things interesting to see where he’ll want to wrestle at the Warrior (Classic in Grand Junction in two weeks).”
The Bulldogs finished with two champions: junior Levi Weber, 135 pounds, and senior Daniel Cramblett, 152 pounds.
Weber wrestled for the first time since injuring his shoulder last year in the first month of the season.
Juniors Jake Breslin, 119, and Chris McAlexander, 130, made their way into the championship matches for the Bulldogs, finishing second.
“Jake had some good pins early on,” Gutierrez said. “He was called for stalling in overtime, and that was a tough call for an official to make.”
The tournament was bracketed according last year’s state results, so the challenges came early for some of the less-experienced Bulldogs. With only four state qualifiers wrestling Saturday, the other nine were thrown in without any previous qualifications.
“There were some early tough matches,” Gutierrez said. “It also was a wake up call for some of our guys.”
One of the tough early matches was for junior Nick Navratil, 189. Navratil, ranked fourth in the state by On the Mat Rankings, had to face Eagle Valley’s No. 2-ranked Brendan Best.
Navratil defeated Best and won two double-overtime matches to finish second in the tournament. Navratil wrestled in two of the Bulldogs’ five overtime matches for the tournament.
Sophomore Cory Vigil, 103, and junior Brice Boling, 112, lost within their first two matches but came through the consolation bracket to wrestle for third and fourth. Since Vigil had wrestled his limit of five matches in one day, he had to forfeit for fourth place. Boling won his match for third place.
Sophomore Matt Kincheloe, 125, and junior Trenton Duarte, 160, both finished fourth for the Bulldogs.
The youngest of the Bulldogs, freshmen Lyle Schaffner, 140, Clancy Garoutte, 171, and David Hickson, heavyweight, as well as sophomore Chet Peterson, 215, all lost twice before the medal rounds.
“Those guys took a bit of a beating,” Gutierrez said. “But we’ll have nine matches for them this weekend that will help.”
The Bulldogs head to Vernal, Utah, on Friday night for five duals and Rock Springs, Wyo., on Saturday for four more duals.
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