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Wrestling team gaining summer strength

If the recent five-day wrestling camp has taught coach Roman Gutierrez anything, it’s that anything can happen.

Like his team hulking out.

The Moffat County High School wrestling team completed a camp from June 17 to 21 at Western State College in Gunnison, but the real progress has been back home, in Craig.

“I don’t know how much these kids are going to grow from now until November,” he said. “Some have been hitting the weights really hard.”

Although the results were encouraging for the coach, it’s been the work back home that has stood out the most.

“That strength is already showing,” he said. “That’s a good thing. I’m glad to see more kids hitting the weights, getting bigger and stronger.”

Having so many kids in strength training could contribute to a turnaround, Gutierrez said.

“That’s something we’ve lacked for the last couple of years,” he said. “There hasn’t been a good work ethic in the weight room the last couple of years, and it cost us.

“But they’ve already put in work, and they’re helping themselves now, which should pay dividends later.”

The extra weight already has benefited the team, as the Bulldogs had a strong showing in Gunnison.

“It went pretty well – we got in 15 to 16 matches,” he said. “Some kids did well, some of the younger kids have a ways to go, but it was good for them to get experience.”

The camp in Gunnison is the only one scheduled for the summer, but the team may practice in Hayden.

After July 4, the team will resume practicing until August, when football camps begin.

“With camp last week, the kids are kind of beat up and they’ll have a few weeks off to heal up,” Gutierrez said. “So many of the guys play football that once it starts, it’s hard to get the guys in the room.”

The team brought seven young wrestlers, including five incoming freshmen and two eighth-graders.

“The upperclassmen really bonded with the younger guys, and I am pleased to see that,” Gutierrez said. “I was pleased with what I saw in camp – the younger kids didn’t back down from anybody.”

Last year, the team was relatively young, with only two seniors.

This year, there will be plenty of seniors hitting the mat.

“We should have 6, 7 or 8 seniors, so we should be loaded that way,” Gutierrez said. “We’ll have plenty of varsity experience this year.”

Last season didn’t end the way Gutierrez would have preferred.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to compete and have a better showing than the last couple of years,” he said. “Last year, no kids placed at the state tournament, which hasn’t happened for 22 years.”

Because of the lack of grapplers placing in the state tournament, extra work has been spent in the weight room.

“That’s going to be one of our goals,” Gutierrez said, “to get more kids in to the medal rounds, and they’re putting in the work to get there.”


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