Bulldogs grapple to early victories

What the Dove Creek High School bulldogs wrestling team lacks in numbers, it makes up for in skill as evidenced by a stellar opening-season weekend.


Opening their season on the road at the Cortez Duals on Dec. 5, the Bulldogs began by dominating a small and inexperienced Mancos team, winning every match in route to a shutout victory.

Immediately after their victory, the Bulldogs faced a much tougher challenge in 4A Montezuma-Cortez High School, winning a hotly contested match, 25-20.

Several Bulldogs’ wrestlers recorded 2-0 records at the Cortez duals, including Cody Kennedy (120 pounds), Case Baughman (126 pounds), Chance Randolph (132 pounds), Nick Jones (138 pounds) and Tyler Knuckles (195 pounds).

“I thought the kids wrestled well for their first weekend,” said Bulldogs’ head coach Shane Baughman. “Most of these kids have wrestled for a lot of years, so it’s not like it’s a brand-new thing to them.”


Stepping up in competition on Dec. 7 at the Bayfield Tournament, the Bulldogs continued their winning ways, besting a three-team field that included Bayfield, Pagosa Springs and Ignacio.

Leading the way for the Bulldogs was sophomore Case Baughman, who, despite his underclassmen status, wrestled his way to a 3-0 record in route to being named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler.

“He wrestled a tough kid from Bayfield and dominated him the whole time,” Shane Baughman said of his son.

Kennedy and Randolph recorded undefeated records at the tournament while Jones and Knuckles finished 2-1.

Never one to rest on his team’s laurels, Baughman emphasized that his small, but experienced group still has room to improve.

“As a group, the biggest thing that we need to focus on is our conditioning,” said Shane Baughman. “We have to be able to finish matches.”