Pirate wrestlers ended the 2012 portion of their season with a dual meet victory, a strong tournament performance and improvements that bode well for the season in the new year.
The Pirates were in Walsenburg on Dec. 14 and they faced the Swink Lions — the No. 7 ranked 2A team in the state — in a dual meet.
Pagosa defeated Swink in sure fashion, 50-18.
Dalton Gregory got a pin at 132 pounds; Keith Archuleta earned a 12-3 major decision at 145; Chase Purcell won with a 15-6 major decision at 160; Alonzo Hernandez nailed a pin at 220; and Creede Wylie won with a fall at 285.
“We addressed things during the week before the trip to Walsenburg,” said coach Dan Janowsky, “and we looked better. We were missing a couple of guys from the lineup, but we are wrestling better all the time.”
The next day, the team competed at the Pete and Ina Gomez Invitational at John Mall High School. Pagosa placed second in the team standings, behind tourney winner Del Norte.
Four Pirates took top honors in their weight classes.
Michael Mills placed first at 138 pounds. Mills earned 23 team points with a pin, a 6-4 decision and a 14-4 major decision.
Keith Archuleta contributed 29 team points, placing first at 145. He fashioned two pins and an 11-1 major decision on his way to the medal.
Purcell was first at 160. Purcell managed two wins with falls and one with a 13-0 major decision. He earned 29 team points for the cause.
Wylie took first at 285, with two wins by pin and an overtime 4-2 decision in the title bout. His wins were worth 28 team points.
Three Pirates placed third in their weight classes
Cody Snow won four of five matches at 152, good for third and 22 team points.
David McRee was the victor in five of six matches at 170. He took third place and earned 24 team points.
Morgan Shelton placed third at 180, winning four of five matches and adding 18 points to the team total.
Austin Courtney (2-2) was fourth at 138.
J.C. Parsons (4-2) placed fifth at 152.
Chris Archuleta went 3-3 and finished sixth at 126.
Jeremiah Miller was sixth at 145, at 3-3 on the day.
Hernandez fought both opponents and illness, was 2-3, and took sixth at 220.
Other Pirates had wins at the tournament but did not place.
Dean Scott fashioned two wins at 160.
Dylan Lindberg (113), Daniel Sloan (120) and Kyle Casaceli (160) had single wins in their competitions
“The tournament was stronger this year,” said Janowsky. “Adding Lamar strengthened the field. As a result, we were getting a lot of full-length matches. At the end of the day, a lot of our guys got four or five pretty tough challenges. It was a good day from a developmental standpoint.”
Two of the Pirates provided a positive example with their successes at Walsenburg.
“Two of our seniors — Keith Archuleta and Chase Purcell — had great tournaments,” said the coach. “They show that guys find success if they stick with it. They’ve earned their success.”
Janowsky noted that, “a lot of guys had to fight through difficulties.” Hernandez was pulled from his final match of the day and Gregory was kept out of the tournament due to illness.
“When you put everything together,” said the coach, “it was a pretty productive experience for us.”
This team has made strides during the first part of the season, the athletes responding well to competition and to instruction. Progress has been the main theme in the early season and the Pirates are on a roll.
Now, however, the holiday break puts a roadblock in place that will test the resolve of the individual athletes.
The team does not resume competition until Jan. 10. In the interim, there is one week where regulations prohibit contact practices.
Janowsky said the break concerns him, but he sees a possible advantage in the situation — one that, if exercised, could indicate a boost in the maturity level of his wrestlers.
“We have some momentum,” he said. “It’s hard to maintain the edge; you need feedback from competition and, without it for three weeks, our guys need to do some thinking about how to keep that momentum, to keep improving.”
The first emphasis will be put on maintaining, if not improving conditioning.
“We’ll stress the need to maintain conditioning to those guys who stay in town during the vacation,” said Janowsky. “They need to develop the habits and take care of it themselves. They need to discipline themselves and, in a way, the week break from any practice could end up proving valuable to them if they take responsibility. It could be better than practice.”
Holiday treats and big holiday meals? Hours on the couch watching the tube? Chair time in front of the computer?
Or hard, self-motivated work?
Time will tell.