Moffat County players and coaches excited for opportunity in Season B
As Season B gets ever closer, Moffat County High School coaches are all feeling one thing in common: excitement.
While there are still some adjustments to be made to the schedule — for example the boy’s basketball team still needs to pick up a game — they are pretty much set. The fact that the teams can now look at a schedule excites them.
“It’s great to have a set schedule. Now we can kind of plan and prepare each week,” girls basketball coach Eric Hamilton said. “We’re going to take one game at a time, and we’re looking forward to next Friday night but then it just gets really really tough and games come super fast.”
The 3A Western Slope League will present plenty of challenges for the Bulldogs this year. The schedules for the Bulldogs this year, includes rivalries like Meeker and Steamboat and state champions like Valley High School.
“We always look forward to wrestling Meeker — they are kind of our rivals, so we look forward to it, there is always a good atmosphere, the teams are always pretty competitive with each other,” wrestling coach Tyler Seislove said. “So, we always look forward to them and this year we get the chance to go and wrestle Valley, in a tri meet at Valley.”
From a players perspective the season will be a tough one to battle through, but the excitement to compete will likely factor in as an equalizer this season.
“I feel like all the teams are just like us, they’re trying to get ready. A lot of the teams have had guys leave since last year and they’re all just in the same boat as us,” senior Wesley Counts said. “So, it will be tough all around.”
The season also comes with the challenge of trying to keep games on the schedule and players out of COVID protocol. The teams also will be playing and wrestling in front of empty gyms when they are at home, which presents an energy challenge.
“It’s really important to have the support, especially for these girls’ parents to be able to watch, these kids work super hard,” Hamilton said. “They put a lot of time into their basketball and it’s hard for parents to stay home and not be able to watch their kids.”
One challenge the basketball players have to deal with this year is playing in masks. That decision has been controversial but one that the players have started to accept.
“It feels great minus the masks,” junior Myles Simpson said. “But it’s better than not playing at all, so I guess we could deal with the masks. So, not having a season and having a season is a big difference.”
One of the more unique things that the schedule presents the MCHS boys basketball team is a week off between their first and second games of the season. Head coach Steve Maneotis said the break is something they are very lucky to have.
“Basically it means this, we got a game in, we look at the next opponent, we find out what we can find out, we fix the mistakes that we make, we’re going to make against steamboat and we work to get better,” Maneotis said. “Rather than hitting the ground and having a day or two to adjust, it’s nice to have just a few extra practices to get ready, because after that it becomes a whirlwind.”
Practice leading up to the season has not been the easiest for the teams as they try to scramble to work on their skills before games start later this month, which is causing coaches to work on many different things in practice.
“We’ve been working on the fundamentals of the game, trying to get as many shots up as we can. So they just get comfortable, grooving out their shots again,” Maneotis said. “So, pick an aspect of the game, we’re breaking it down and working on it. So, we’re busy, they got their hands full, we’re throwing a lot at them.”
The boys and girls basketball team practiced at Woodbury Park while the teams were not allowed to practice at the high school.
“When corona first hit, it was like last summer and we were doing open gyms and we couldn’t do anything,” Simpson said. “So we all had to go to Woodbury and it was really unorganized and rough.”
While many teams in the state have not started competition, the MCHS wrestling worked to get ahead of the competition by wrestling over the weekend of Jan 8, in Vernal.
“But like I said before, when we talked last, I think, any experience, any mat time that my guys got in, prior to the start of the season through the club, is definitely going to help them,” Seislove said. “It will make an impact especially when you wrestle teams that haven’t gotten any mat time this season.”
Girls swimming coach Melany Neton could not be reached for comment.
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Moffat County wrestling turned in a strong first day of the 3A Region 1 tournament Friday in Pagosa Springs.