The return of key varsity wrestlers was not enough to help the Pagosa Springs High School wrestling team bring home any victories over the weekend.
With only eight veteran varsity wrestlers traveling to La Jara for the Centauri Dual Tournament Saturday (a younger portion of the team participated in a tournament in Ignacio), opponents of the Pirates essentially gained a 36-point lead on the Pirates from the get-go due to forfeits — an insurmountable lead.
“It’s going to be tough to win duals when you’re in that situation, but I thought they did a real nice job,” Coach Dan Janowsky said.
In fact, despite the forfeits and losses on the day, two Pirate wrestlers — Dakota Miller and Will Appenzeller (returning from a shoulder injury) — went undefeated with five wins each.
Miller, wrestling in the 135-pound class, recorded forfeits against Florence High School and Trinidad High School, while defeating Gunnison’s Kit Reed in 1:47, winning a 4-3 decision against Hotchkiss’ Ryan Spor and earning a fall over Monte Vista’s Mitchell Vanderpool in 1:49.
“It was real good momentum for us as a team and for Dakota,” Janowsky said.
Though Janowsky believes they’re not yet out of the woods with Appenzeller’s shoulder, Appenzeller came back Saturday night with five wins to his name.
Appenzeller gained a fall over Florence’s Joey Magno in 3:05, defeated Hotchkiss’ Ben Smith in 1:50, defeated Monte Vista’s Garrett Pacheco in 1:05, and tallied forfeits against Gunnison High School and Trinidad High School.
Two other Pirates went 4-1 at the tournament.
Koby Close defeated Florence’s Kenny Roberts in a 9-5 decision, similarly defeated Gunnison’s Jesse Duft in a 9-4 decision, tallied a win against Trinidad’s Brian Shaw in 1:31 and beat Monte Vista’s Nick Maes in a 9-2 decision.
Close lost only to Hotckiss’ Brett Suppes on the day, in a 12-4 decision.
Preston Sandoval, too, went 4-1 at the tournament with a series of quick victories.
Sandoval recorded a fall against Florence’s Dillon Crawfer in only 21 seconds, defeated Gunnison’s Jeremy Ruiz in 43 seconds, Trinidad’s Justin Cardenas in 28 seconds and Monte Vista’s Isaac Medina in 51 seconds.
Sandoval also recorded his only loss on the day against Hotchkiss, dropping a 10-3 decision to Jake Richards.
“I was hoping, and we got, a glimpse of what we might be able to do ... if we got our best lineup out there,” Janowsky said.
Dalton Gregory also brought home a winning record for the day, going 3-2.
Though losing to Florence’s David Martinez in one minute and a 10-1 decision against Trinidad’s Richard Baca, Gregory beat Gunnison’s Jeremy Cadwell in 1:52, Hotchkiss’ Jesse Head in four minutes and was on the winning end of a 17-7 decision against Monte Vista’s Chris Brewer.
With roughly 80 percent of the normal varsity lineup in tact, the Pirates will continue facing tough opponents tonight and tomorrow as they round out their regular-season schedule.
Pagosa will travel to Alamosa tonight for a dual against the state’s number one team.
“They’re just an outstanding program and have been for 20-plus years. They do have a very strong team again this year,” Janowsky said, adding, “ We definitely have a big task ahead of us.”
Pagosa will end regular season action Friday night in Bloomfield against the team which defeated the Pirates at the Rocky Mountain Dual Tournament in January.
“We’re going to try to make both duals as competitive as possible.”
With regular season competition quickly waning, wrestling will return to Pagosa Springs Feb. 11 and 12, in the form of the Regional Wrestling Tournament at Pagosa Springs High School.
Time is also running out for Janowsky’s full squad to be healthy, but he believes the Pirates will have that lineup in time for the regional tournament.