The Pirate wrestling team got its first taste of tournament action this season, traveling Saturday to Bayfield.
The Pirates’ pool included teams from Cortez, Ignacio, Dolores, Piedra Vista and Dove Creek.
The Pirates were 1-4 at the meet, but the result fails to tell the full story.
The original plan: take 11 wrestlers to compete in the varsity tournament.
The reality: take seven wrestlers and fill only half the weights.
Coach Dan Janowsky made a decision to send his freshman and sophomore athletes to a tournament in Aztec, giving the younger wrestlers the chance to compete in several matches on the day.
Further, at the last minute, Janowsky pulled four experienced wrestlers from his lineup — Creede Wiley and Cole Zellner because of injury, and Chase Purcell and Cody Kimsey due to illness.
Given the bare-bones roster, the Pirates did well, coming very close to winning several of the duals, with every Pirate ending the day with a winning record.
The tourney did not begin well, however, as Pagosa was shelled by Piedra Vista 54-9. Keith Archuleta scored six of Pagosa’s points at 152 pounds, pinning Jacey DeJesus at 3 minutes, 37 seconds. Ty Lobato put points on the scoreboard at 220, getting a 10-6 decision over Andrew Duran.
“In that first dual with Piedra Vista,” said Janowsky, “I felt all seven matches were winnable. We had a lead in some of them and didn’t protect it. I chalk it up to a lack of conditioning during the Thanksgiving break. Our kids need to take responsibility for their own training more than they do. I think we lost matches because of this. Piedra Vista outlasted us in the matches we lost — all except Dalton Gregory’s match. He got behind, but rallied. He was wrestling up a weight, against a tough kid, and lost 11-9.”
Following the Piedra Vista match, however, the Pirates found their stride.
“Now, they’re warmed up, with a first match under their belts,” said the coach. “I give them a lot of credit for adapting. They started wrestling tough and I felt that they improved throughout the day. By the end of the day, they were wrestling whistle to whistle. They righted themselves.”
Pagosa lost the dual to Cortez by a score of 36-30, but Gregory fought at 136 and pinned Shelton Little 23 seconds into the second period; and Morgan Shelton won with a pin at 170, beating Alec Atencio at 1:41.
Ignacio eked out a 36-34 win over the Pirates.
Gregory put together a 13-2 major decision over Jeff Herrera.
Danny Shahan scored six with a pin at 145, getting the fall at 3:46 over Kevin Park.
Cody Snow managed a fall at 160, beating Blaine Mickey at the 32-second mark of the match.
Shelton got his second pin of the day, beating Christian Knoll at 1:06.
Dolores managed a 36-30 dual win over Pagosa, but five Pirates put six points on the board each with pins.
Gregory wrestled at 134 and pinned Kolton Shull at 3:12 of the match.
Shahan got the fall over Logan Willbanks, at 3:21.
Keith Archuleta got a win by fall at 152 pounds, beating Ocean Rod at 1:36.
Snow pinned Ethan Upton at 1:04.
Shelton pinned Wyatt Wallace at 3:36.
Pagosa’s tournament win came 26-21 over Dove Creek.
Gregory continued with the pins, defeating Tyler Ebberts, at 3:11.
Dane Murdock, wrestling at 138, earned a 17-2 technical fall over Tommy Fury.
Archuleta pinned Dillon Daves at 3:13.
Snow pinned Alex Ogas at 36 seconds.
Shelton fought to a 7-2 decision over Wyatt Applin.
“I felt if we had been a little heathier,” said Janowsky, “we would have won more matches. We were down to a thin lineup. The team was one in four for the day, but each guy had a winning record. You look at these early meets as a form of practice. You want the wrestlers to feel end-of-season pressures, but the results don’t impact anyone’s ability to qualify for regionals or the state tournament. From that standpoint, this was a positive outing. The day served us well.”
The Pirates had a dual scheduled against the Panthers in Cortez Tuesday but, due to illness among members of the Cortez team, the event was cancelled. The programs will attempt find a suitable date to meet.
Saturday, the team goes to the Buena Vista tournament — another dual meet affair. Pagosa will be joined in one of two pools by Bennett, Eagle Valley, Clear Creek and Salida in a first-round pool.