Moffat County girls wrestling bests Basalt in program’s 1st home event
For an event that wasn’t on the original schedule, the Moffat County girls wrestling team was more than ready for Thursday night, Jan. 26.
The first home meet in the program’s inaugural season went well for MCHS, as the Bulldogs took a 54-0 victory over Basalt. The dual was announced early in the week after the team returned from the MLK Tournament, where the Bulldogs had seen a handful of Basalt opponents.
“We saw them in Grand Junction and thought it might be good to have something here,” said Bulldogs coach Ashleigh Seely. “Their AD said it was good to go, so we were like, ‘Bring it!’”
The evening had more exhibition matches than varsity bouts, with Callah Caperton getting the first-ever home win for Moffat County girls wrestling during a JV bout at the 145-pound class.
Many of the MoCo athletes faced off against each other to stay sharp — Adrianna Price, Raegan McMillan, Mikah Vasquez, Caperton, Makaela Simpson and Kenleigh Pubanz won via forfeits — while HayLee Staker (125), Kayla Deaton (130), and Cydny Witherell (135) each gained a pin against the Longhorns.
“The girls came out strong, and we’re happy to see their performance. We’re excited to be at home for the first time,” Seely said. “It was nice to have the boys surrounding us and have the whole community here. It makes it that much more exciting.”
Though she got the fall over Basalt’s Nayeli Membreno in the second period, Deaton came off the mat a little frustrated that the win didn’t come sooner.
“I got stuck on bottom for longer than I wanted to,” she said. “I think I had a good challenge.”
Deaton, a freshman, wrestled in middle school alongside boys and girls, though the high school experience has been much more rewarding for her.
“It’s a lot cooler, a lot more energy,” she said.
The downside of the home meet was a little extra nerves being in front of friends and family, which Deaton and her teammates said they felt but didn’t let it overwhelm them. For Staker, it made the MoCo sophomore a tad bolder.
“That was the first time that I’ve actually taken a shot on somebody. I usually am more of a defensive person, but this time I tried more offense,” she said. “That was pretty cool.”
Staker noted that her boyfriend, also a grappler, helped encourage her to participate in the sport, though the positive start the team has experienced in its inaugural season speaks for itself.
“I’d encourage every girl to do it. It’s something you don’t see every day, but it’s getting big,” she said. “Our coach is really the one we want to thank.”
Witherell, a freshman, agreed that Seely has made wrestling a great endeavor.
“She puts all of her dedication into it and has really helped us,” Witherell said. “She’s not only our coach; she’s one of our best friends.”
The girls took last weekend off and will travel to a dual in Olathe on Wednesday, Feb. 2, before hosting a triangular with Soroco and Grand Junction’s District 51 team at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4.
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