To be the best, it is necessary to wrestle the best.
Such appears to be the theory of the Dove Creek Bulldogs wrestling team as they navigate their way through a schedule that includes matchups with some of the top teams in the nation.
Most recently competing at the Tournament of Champions in Vernel, Utah on Jan. 10-11, the Bulldogs had a solid showing, placing two wrestlers on the podium and receiving solid performances from several others.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs in the highly competitive tournament was junior Chance Randolph, who, wrestling with grit and determination, fought his way to a fourth place finish in the 132-pound division.
“(Randolph) is looking tough,” said Bulldogs’ head coach Shane Baughman. “It was great for him to get to this tournament.”
Also navigating his way to a top-eight finish was Bulldogs’ sophomore Case Baughman, who, wrestling in a 126-pound bracket that included several former state champions, finished seventh overall.
Narrowly missing out on the podium due to a tough draw was 138-pound standout Nick Jones, who lost to his bracket’s champion and his bracket’s third place finisher.
“(Jones) probably looked the best in terms of technique,” said a clearly pleased Baughman.
Rounding out the Dove Creek wrestlers who made it to the second day of the tournament, junior Wyatt Applin continued his solid season as he competed hard against several tough opponents.
“(Applin) wrestled real well,” Baughman said. “Even the matches he lost, he was wrestling for six minutes.”
Next on the Bulldogs’ schedule will be Doc Wright Invite, which, held Jan. 17-18 in Winslow, will be Arizona’s largest tournament.
“It’s great to wrestle tough competition,” said Baughman. “The experience will help us at the state tournament.”