Bulldogs wrestle nation's best

Dove Creek places top-10 at 48-school, Tournament of Champions

Dove Creek wrestling is one of Colorado's best teams.

The Bulldogs are pretty good nationally, too.

Dove Creek finished ninth out of 48 teams at the prestigious Tournament of Champions. The two-day tourney was hosted by Uintah High School in Vernal, Utah, last Friday and Saturday.

"It's a pretty tough tournament. There were a couple nationally ranked teams there," said Bulldogs coach Shane Baughman. "We placed ninth out of 48 schools, we were pretty tickled to place top-10 in that tough of a tournament."

Baughman feels it was the toughest competition his team will face all year, which should bode well for state next month.

"There's nobody in Colorado that's ranked in the nation, as far as teams go. There were several nationally ranked kids at this tournament," Baughman said. "It helps prepare the kids (for state). I think it's good for them wrestling that tough competition. It may ease their minds at state."

Cole Baughman, 126 pounds, suffered his first loss of the season in the finals to finish 4-1 in the tourney. He lost by decision to a wrestler from Pleasant Grove (Utah).

"He didn't wrestle a good finals match. He went defensive instead of offensive," coach Baughman said about his son. "It will help him understand, he needs to go offensive and stay in his style."

The top-8 placed in their respective weight class.

Case Baughman and Chance Randolph were fourth at 113 and 120. Nick Jones, Tyler Ebberts and Tyson Smith placed eighth at 132, 138 and heavyweight.

"I felt like everybody on the team lost their last match that they could have won," Shane Baughman said. "We just got to finish better than what we've been doing."

Dove Creek will wrestle Friday and Saturday at the Page (Ariz.) Tourney.

"It's a new experience for us. We've never been there. I don't know what to except," Shane Baughman said. "I don't know if it will be the same caliber (as Vernal). I hope it is. We have a couple kids that are switching weights to get comfortable for (state in) Denver."

The wrestling begins Friday afternoon at 1.