For an event that wasn’t on the original schedule, the Moffat County Grils wrestling team was more than ready for Thursday night.
The first home game in the program’s inaugural season went well for MCHS, as the Bulldogs earned a 54-0 win over Basalt. The double was announced earlier 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 would be nice to have something here,” said Bulldogs coach Ashleigh Seely. “Their CEO said it was fine, so we said, ‘Bring it!'”
The night had more exhibition matches than varsity bouts, with Callah Caperturan picking up the first home win for Moffat County girls wrestling during a JV meet in the 145 lb class.
Moffat County wrestler Callah C Aperton holds on to her opponent Basalt on Thursday, January 26th. Andy Bockelmann/Craig Press
Moffat County teammates Makaela Simpson and Kenleigh Pubanz lock themselves in an exhibition match on Thursday, January 26. Andy Bockelmann/Craig Press
Moffat County wrestler Kayla Deaton checks in with her trainer as she approaches a pin from her Basalt opponent on Thursday, Jan. 26. Andy Bockelmann/Craig Press
The Moffat County wrestlers applaud a pin from their teammate on Thursday, January 26. Andy Bockelmann/Craig Press
Many of the MoCo athletes pitted against each other to stay fit – Adrianna Price, Raegan McMillan, Mikah Vasquez, C Aperton, Makaela Simpson and Kenleigh Pubanz won by forfeit – while HayLee Staker (125), Kayla Deaton ( 130) and Cydny Witherell (135) each earned a pin against the Longhorns.
“The girls came out strong and we are happy to see their performance. We’re excited to be home for the first time,” Seely said. “It’s been great to have the kids around us and to have the whole community here. It makes it so much more exciting.
Though she fell to Basalt’s Nayeli Membreno in the second bout, Deaton came off the mat a little frustrated that the win didn’t come sooner.
“I’ve been stuck at the bottom longer than I wanted to,” she said. “I think I had quite a challenge.”
Deaton, a freshman, wrestled in middle school alongside both boys and girls, although the high school experience was much more rewarding for her.
“It’s a lot cooler, a lot more energy,” she said.
The downside of the home game was a little extra nervousness in front of friends and family, which Deaton and his teammates said they felt but didn’t let themselves get overwhelmed. For Staker, it made the sophomore MoCo a little bolder.
“That was the first time I ever shot anyone. I’m usually more of a defensive person, but this time I felt more offence,” he told her. “That was pretty cool.”
Staker has noted that her boyfriend, also a grappler, helped encourage her to get involved in the sport, though the positive start the team has experienced in its inaugural season speaks for itself.
“I would encourage any girl to do this. 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 made wrestling a big deal.
“He’s so dedicated to it and it’s really helped us,” Witherell said. “She’s not just our coach; she is one of our best friends.
The girls took last weekend off and will travel for a double in Olathe on Wednesday, February 2, before hosting the Grand Junction District 51 team on Saturday, February 4.
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