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Young and wrestless

Team with six returning state qualifiers is young for Bulldogs

David Pressgrove

A possible shopping list for the 2005 Moffat County High School wrestling team: Bandages and ice for after the tough practices, music for the long road trips and diapers and baby food for the uncharacteristic number of underclassmen on varsity.

“This is the youngest team we’ve had since my first team,” coach Roman Gutierrez said. “We’re so young we might need some diapers and to wipe some noses for the first couple of meets.”

The Bulldogs will start the season with seven sophomores on the 14-member varsity team.



Two of those sophomores, Nick Navratil and Levi Weber, wrestled on varsity as freshmen. Weber was a state qualifier. The other five sophomores are untested.

“We have a small junior class so that opens it up for the sophomores,” Gutierrez said.



Traditionally, the Bulldogs wrestling program has enough depth that is takes a wrestler of extraordinary talent to be on varsity as a freshman or sophomore.

“Usually there are more upperclassmen,” senior Shayne Zimmerman said. “But it’s our job to teach those guys.”

The talent and ability is still there though for Roman’s boys to be where they typically are at the end of the season — near the top.

“We have ability in the upperclassmen to carry us,” Gutierrez said. “The five seniors and two juniors will be our strength.”

Counting Weber there are six returning state qualifiers on the team this year. Three of those wrestlers, senior Scott Garoutte, champion 215-pounds, senior Brent Chamberlain, fifth at 171, and junior Korey Kostur, fifth at 135, were state placers. Other returning qualifiers are Weber, 125, Zimmerman, 160, and senior Eric Fredrickson, 130.

Navratil, 189, junior Daniel Cramblett, 145, and senior Kyle Fredrickson, heavyweight, all wrestled at the regional meet last year.

“I think this team has a good focus,” said Eric Fredrickson, who is a three-time state qualifier and placed sixth as a sophomore. “It’s important for all five of our seniors to be tough at the end of the year.”

It has been commonplace for the Bulldogs, who have three state championships in the past four years, to have upperclassmen come on late in the season. This year, the same will need to happen if Moffat hopes to compete for another first-place trophy.

“We need all five seniors to go deep at state,” Eric Fredrickson said.

Gutierrez agreed.

“If we can get three or four in the finals then I have the faith in our other guys to wrestle well in the back door,” he said.

An aspect that has made the Bulldogs one of the best programs in Colorado is the tough practices. The upperclassmen make the younger wrestlers tougher by going one on one on the mats.

“I think this group will come along through practice,” Gutierrez said. “For example Cody (Norman) will get to wrestle in the group with Kostur and little Fred(rickson) and Cramblett, and it will make him better fast.”

Trenton Duarte, 152, Chris McAlexander, 119, Bryce Boiling, 103, Jake Breslin, 112, and Norman, 130, are the sophomores to start the season on varsity.

Moffat County started the season ranked third by the Rocky Mountain News behind Broomfield and Pueblo South.

“It should be about a four-team race,” Gutierrez said. “South is the favorite but Broomfield, Alamosa could be up there, too.”

South, the defending champ, returns a majority of its team and gains state champion Nick Padilla, who transferred from Pueblo West.

“South is a lot like the team we had three years ago,” Gutierrez said. “They have a lot of weapons.”

Chamberlain thinks it will take an improved effort from him and his fellow upperclassmen if they are to compete with South.

“As seniors, we need to look at being in the finals at state,” he said. “We also need to build team unity because it helps to feel like you’re out there wrestling for your team.”

The Bulldogs begin their quest to retake the title from South today in Las Vegas for the Green Valley Duals, a two day tournament.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.


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