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Wrestling: three days, three tournaments

You want action.

The Pirate wrestling team is ready to provide it.

A major dose, in fact.

The 2011 portion of the season begins tonight and, in three days, the Pirates will have battled numerous opponents, at three events, all at the PSHS gym.

Tonight, Monte Vista comes to town for a dual with Pagosa. It is the first Intermountain League dual meet this season for the Pirates. The IML title is determined on the basis of the results from a series involving one dual meet with each league opponent.

“Monte Vista is a young team,” said Coach Dan Janowsky. But, so are the Pirates, and the two programs have a storied rivalry that goes back decades. Action begins at 6 p.m.

Tomorrow evening, the Pirates host the Rocky Mountain duals. Pagosa will join Espanola Valley, Bloomfield, Taos and Air Academy.? The event will begin at 5 p.m.

Two of the teams seem, at first glance, likely to bring some firepower to the event.

“With Air Academy, you can anticipate a good team,” said Janowsky. “And Bloomfield is always good in dual meets.”

Saturday brings the Rocky Mountain Invitational to town — one of the better regular-season tourneys on the Western Slope. This year, Pagosa will be joined by Air Academy, Antonito, Aztec, Bayfield, Bloomfield, Centauri, Center, Del Norte, Durango, Espanola Valley, Ignacio, Monticello, Monte Vista, Mountain Valley, Taos and Sierra Grande.

All but one of the IML teams will be at the Rocky (Alamosa being the exception, after finishing fifth in the nationally-touted Reno Invitational) and the competition should be formidable.

“This is one of the best tournaments around for getting kids quality matches and a good number of matches, since we place down to number eight,” said the coach. “The depth often reaches deep down into the brackets.

“It’s an excellent training tool, coming right after the break. We get to see each kid’s strengths and weaknesses, with time left to address them.”

Janowsky expects his athletes to be “as ready as any” for the competition that kicks off 2011.

“We have some injury issues (most notably Koby Close, with an injury to his clavicle) and some eligibility issues, but I have a good feeling. We had pretty good participation in holiday workouts and most of our key wrestlers were there most of the time. I was pleased with it and with the obvious progress guys made.”

The Pirates return to the confines of the PSHS gym next Thursday to meet Bayfield in an IML dual. The Pirates lost to the Wolverines at a tournament in December and are anxious to have a chance to even the score.

From there, it is over Wolf Creek Pass for the Pirates, for the 12-team Alamosa Invitational Jan. 14-15.