Pirate wrestlers faced a series of difficult opponents last week and the high level of competition and pressure should serve them well as the post-season tournament schedule begins next week.
The action began with an Intermountain League dual meet at Centauri Jan. 29 — a meet the Falcons won 66-18.
Centauri’s victory gave the Falcons the league title and put Pagosa in a position to battle for second-place honors, with one league dual remaining in the regular season.
Three Pirates won matches in the dual — all three by fall.
Dakota Miller pinned Dakota Barr at 1 minute 40 seconds of their match at 125 pounds.
Joe DuCharme got the fall at 3:49 in a 160-pound match against Justin Hamilton..
Senior Mike Smith fought at 171 and pinned Justin Rogers at 3:48.
“Thursday’s dual was downright ugly,” said Coach Dan Janowsky. “The momentum went their way and they rolled with it. It was not as bad as the score makes it look, though. Nearly every match seemed as if it would be close through the halfway mark. But, we lost the emotional battle too many times in the second half of matches, and we couldn’t rise to meet the challenge. Centauri presents some difficult matchups for us, up and down the line. There’s a whole bunch of weights where we’re good and they are just a little bit better at this point.”
The Pirates returned to the scene of the crime Saturday for Centauri’s dual meet tournament and placed fourth in a field of eight teams — a field that featured the top three ranked teams in Class 3A: Centauri, Florence and Olathe.
The Pirates dropped a close 36-28 decision to Florence.
Steven Smith got a 14-2 decision over Derek Tucker at 119
At 140, Cole Mastin pinned Cody Matthewson at 5:10.
DuCharme, continued to steamroll opponents at 160, getting the fall at 1:10 over JJ Moore.
Jordan Neulieb stepped in at 171 and won an 8-2, decision over Devin Espinosa.
Mike Smith moved up to 189 and pinned Steven Hanson at 3:34.
At 215, Clint Manzanares got the 7-6 decision over Seth Medly.
Pagosa came back with a 39-33 win over Monte Vista.
In a match at 119, Steven Smith pinned Donavan Valdez at 2:40.
Caleb Pringle got a pin at 130, putting Jody Stucky’s shoulders down at 4:53.
Waylon Lucero earned six points at 160, pinning Ronnie Mascaranes at 1:22.
Mike Smith fought again at 189 and earned a 14-12 decision over Aaron Heredia.
Pagosa stayed on a roll with a 45-27 win over Gunnison
Dakota Miller pinned Ramon Sanchez at 3:57, in a match at 125.
Caleb Pringle made short work of Jesse Draft at 130, getting the pin at the 31-second mark.
At 140, Cole Mastin pinned Ryan Roper at 5:26.
Ducharme took only 37 seconds to pin Jeremey Rulz, at 160.
Returning to his accustomed 171, Mike Smith pinned Juan Garcia at 2:41.
Neulieb earned a 9-6 decision over Caleb Harmen at 189.
Pagosa lost the dual with Olathe, 14-59.
Steven Smith got six points with a fall at 48 seconds over Joseph Pridg, at 119.
DuCharme got a tech tall over JC Jimenez at 160.
Mike Smith decisioned Marvin Rivera ,6-4, at 171
The Pirates faced Centauri for the second time in three days and managed a better performance, in a 21-57 loss.
Steven Smith rebounded from a Thursday loss at 119, pinning Mario Espinosa at 3:48
Miller got a 10-6 decision over Dakota Barr at 125.
DuCharme won his match at 160, over Justin Hamilton.
Mike Smith, at 171, pinned Jared Rogers at 3:13.
“Saturday was different,” said Janowsky. “It was a tough day; we dualed the number one, two, three, seven and twelve teams in the state. We started off against number-two Florence and were respectable in a losing effort. We beat Monte and Gunnison, then lost in the finals to Olathe and Centauri. Olathe has a lot of confidence, coming off the state title in football. They beat Centauri to take first at the tournament.”
Noting his teams losses have come to higher-ranked squads, and that the Pirates have beaten those teams ranked below them, Janowsky said, “ I believe our quality guys are as good as you see in our classification this year, and this will make a difference in tournament scoring, but Olathe and Centauri will be hard to catch. “
The Pirates are at home tonight to meet Bayfield in a dual meet that will determine which team will finish second in the IML regular season standings and it should provide fans with some spirited and entertaining competition.
“These duals are fun,” said the coach. “They are a good way to put the kids under pressure, though duals are not a particularly accurate assessment of how you will do in a regular tournament format. The dual with Bayfield is a great chance to showcase both teams and to show how much fun high school wrestling can be. It’ll be an exciting evening.”
Action at the PSHS gym starts at 6 p.m.