Dove Creek wrestlers ready to roll

Coach Baughman, team primed for another successful season

Tommy Fury struggles to keep from being pinned by assistant coach Eric Stiasny during the Dove Creek wrestling practice. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Tommy Fury struggles to keep from being pinned by assistant coach Eric Stiasny during the Dove Creek wrestling practice.

Over the last twenty-one years, the Dove Creek Bulldogs wrestling program has combined continuity, commitment and chemistry to achieve a sustained level of success.

Returning several quality wrestlers from a team that placed in the top-five of the 1A/2A state tournament last season, the Bulldogs appear primed for yet another successful season.

Leading the way for the Bulldogs will be senior Nick Jones, who, after placing in the state tournament as a freshman, has narrowly missed the podium at the state tournament the last two seasons.

Likely to wrestle in either the 132-pound division of the 138-pound division, Jones is hoping that offseason weight training and a wrestling tournament in Las Vegas will pay off.

“We lift every week Monday through Friday,” said Jones. “We go to a Vegas camp where there are California schools. My goal is to win regionals and place well at state.”

Also figuring to play a major role for the Bulldogs will be junior Chance Randolph, who, after placing sixth in the state tournament as a freshman, narrowly missed the podium last season.

“I want to qualify for state and do my best,” said Randolph, who will wrestle in either the 132-pound division or the 138-pound division. “I think I’ve gotten better with my technique. I think we’re going to be really good this year.”

Other Bulldogs’ wrestlers who figure to have success this season are sophomore Case Baughman (126 pounds), junior Tyler Knuckles (195 pounds) and junior Wyatt Applin (170 pounds) and senior Tommy Fury (182 pounds).

“We’ve got a smaller team this year,” said Bulldogs’ head coach Shane Baughman, who is entering his twenty-first season. “We’ve got eleven kids out. We’re a young team, but I think we’ll be pretty good.”

As always, this year’s Bulldogs’ team will face a brutal schedule, which includes several large tournaments and matchups against 4A and 5A schools.

“We have beefed up our schedule every year in the twenty-one years since I’ve been here,” said Shane Baughman. “Everybody we wrestle is bigger. Our records aren’t always the greatest, but we go into regionals and we’ve been tested. It helps us when we get to Denver.”

As for goals for this season, Baughman is hopeful that his team can once again place well at state in the 1A/2A classification.

“A team goal is top-ten at the state tournament in Denver,” said Baughman.

If past seasons provide any indication, a top-ten finish in state is by no means beyond the realm of possibilities as Dove Creek figures to once again field one of the state’s most competitive wrestling programs.

Case Baughman and Nick Jones grapple for position during the Dove Creek wrestling practice. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Case Baughman and Nick Jones grapple for position during the Dove Creek wrestling practice.