Pirate wrestlers: three meets in three days

It’s back to the mats for Pirate wrestlers as, just four days into the 2009 school year, the team competes three times in three days this week.

Action begins tonight at Durango when the Pirates and Demons meet in a dual meet. Pagosa is no stranger to dual meet competition. The team participated in a dual meet tournament at Buena Vista to begin the season, a tourney that featured a couple of the state’s top teams.

Pagosa also dualed the Ignacio Bobcats near the start of the season.

Duals will stay center stage Friday as the Pirates return to the PSHS gym to host the Rocky Mountain Duals. This year’s event will feature the hosts, Air Academy and Widefield high schools from the Colorado Springs area, and Espanola Valley, from New Mexico.

There will be no rest for the grapplers, and no excuse after the weekend for not being in competitive shape, since Saturday the Pirates host the annual Rocky Mountain Invitational at the school gym.

This year’s Rocky will feature 14 teams. Among the competitors will be Centauri — currently ranked No. 1 in Colorado Class 3A — as well as fellow Intermountain League teams Bayfield and Monte Vista. Widefield, a highly-regarded 4A team, will be at the Rocky, as will Air Academy and Espanola Valley. Other Colorado teams participating are Center, Antonito, Del Norte and Durango. Other New Mexico teams at the tourney will be Aztec and Kirtland Central.

“I would think Centauri is probably the favorite,” said Pirate Coach Dan Janowsky. “But, I expect a pretty close team pack, with several teams that could win or place high, including us.”

The Pirates went back to the wrestling room and to practice Jan. 2 and, according to Janowsky, the wrestlers “looked OK, considering what you expect after a break. They held their weights. We had some good practices and we hit it hard this week. Our overall conditioning seems intact.”

It will need to be: three competitions in three days’ time is an end-of-season, post-season regimen. “If you add it up,” said the coach, “from Thursday to Saturday, our wrestlers should get six to eight combative matches. This will really help us assess where we need to go. I like back-to-back days of wrestling. Our kids get better; lessons you impart at practice get applied a lot better than they do with a week of practice followed by a single match. The three-day events mirror the state tournament, as well, with one match on Thursday and a series the next two days.”

Dual meet action at Durango begins at 6 p.m. Thursday. The Rocky Mountain duals are set for 5 p.m. at the PSHS gym. The Rocky Mountain begins at the gym Saturday at 9 a.m.