Wrestlers worked at Warrior Classic
GRAND JUNCTION — Even an eternal optimist would have a hard time finding the bright side to Moffat County wrestling team’s performance Saturday at the Warrior Classic.
Maybe the optimist’s answer would be that because 13 of the 14 Bulldog wrestlers were done by 3 p.m., it allowed all the visitors from Craig to finish up their Christmas shopping.
At 3 p.m., coach Roman Gutierrez was not an eternal optimist.
“This doesn’t even really serve as a wake-up call,” he said. “Other than (senior Korey) Kostur’s performance, there’s nothing positive to point out about today.”
The Bulldogs started the day in fourth place with 10 wrestlers still alive. Four hours later, Moffat was in 11th place with one wrestler, Kostur, still alive.
“There’s no real explanation for today,” Gutierrez said. “We are so up and down in consistency, it’s a problem.”
Senior 152-pounder Daniel Cramblett and junior 189-pounder Nick Navratil were in position to make the medal round by advancing to quarterfinal matches in the early afternoon. Then both lost in the quarterfinals, and only Cramblett won a match in the consolation bracket.
The senior finished one match away from the medal round after he was pinned by Douglas County’s Eli Lichtenstein in the consolation quarterfinal. Cramblett hurt his efforts to medal Saturday when he injured his hand by punching a locker after losing to rival, Rifle’s Tim Long.
Kostur said Cramblett’s injury was indicative of the weekend’s effort.
“We’re getting too down after a loss,” he said. “Once guys lost their first match, we didn’t recover.”
The only other wrestlers to finish the weekend with a winning record were junior Jake Breslin, 119 pounds, who finished one match from the medal rounds and a 4-2 record; sophomore Matt Kincheloe, 125 pounds, who finished two matches from the medal round with a 3-2 record and junior Chris McAlexander, who finished out two matches from the medal round with a 3-2 record.
To find one bright spot for the Bulldogs, rewind to the first round Friday morning. Moffat County wrestlers were 9-5 in the first round, with eight pins and finished in first place as a team after the round. Then the second round started the team’s demise. The Bulldogs in the winners bracket finished 3-6.
The performance put forth from the weekend left Gutierrez hopeful that his team would take advantage of its time during Christmas break. “We have a lot of catching up to do to teams, and I really hope these guys recognize it,” he said. “We’re headed for bigger trouble than what we’ve seen if we don’t toughen up mentally and get to work over break.”
In the team race, Paonia won with 152.5 points. Second place was Thunderbird, Ariz., with 137.5 points, and Broomfield was third with 135 points.
After break, the Bulldogs will compete Jan. 6 and 7 with the Dogfight Duals.
“We have to improve in all aspects,” Gutierrez said. “Mainly we need to improve the mental aspect. We’re a better team than we showed this weekend.”
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