Nothing flashy, nothing showy. Just hard, fundamental wrestling. Tough and energetic.
Ask members of the Bayfield wrestling team. They got a dose last week.
Prior to last Thursday night, the Wolverines had taken the measure of Pagosa this season, winning more matches than they lost.
Not so at Pagosa’s final dual meet of the season.
Pagosa 51, Bayfield 23.
The Pirates won seven of 11 matches wrestled in what coach Dan Janowsky called, “One of the better home duals we’ve wrestled in some time — against a good opponent.”
The dual began with three victories following easy points by forfeit — key to gaining some momentum and building a point lead. In a match at 182 pounds, David McRee pinned Bayfield’s Michael Goodman. Chase Patane pinned the Wolverines’ Dom Brittan at 195, and Alonzo Hernandez earned a major decision over Matt Cerdas.
Bayfield then closed the gap, setting up a classic, dramatic finish.
It was Senior Night, and the match would be decided on the basis of how Pagosa’s four seniors wrestled the final matches of the night.
“It was the last home match for our four seniors (Dalton Gregory, Keith Archuleta, Cody Snow and Chase Purcell),” said Janowsky. “The dual worked out to where they had the last four matches. It was still up for grabs and each of our guys wrestled like a veteran. We had a couple of matchups that haven’t always gone our way, but they did this time.”
The last time Gregory and Bayfield’s Drake Rhodes met, Rhodes emerged the winner. Not so this time: Gregory got the win with a decisive 13-6 decision.
Archuleta has had trouble with Bayfield’s Joe Zink. Not so this time: Archuleta earned the 10-6 decision.
Snow dominated Bayfield’s Ian Hermans, forging a 17-2 tech fall.
Purcell closed out his career in the home gym by pinning James Young.
“That’s the way you want to go out in your home gym,” said the coach. “These guys have been good; they’re positive, hard workers and to get them into a position where they had to have good matches was a fine opportunity.”
Other Pirates also found themselves in a similar position, and they came through for the team.
McCree has had little experience at 182 but, according to Janowsky, “He set the tone with relentless offense.”
Hernandez faced a wrestler who had bested him in their last meeting and, said the coach, “… had a real solid match. Those two (McRee and Hernandez) started things well.”
With obvious improvement in hand, what is the next step for the Pirates?
“I hope our guys understand: This is just a dual,” said the coach. “It’s a stepping stone. Our opponents will react, and get better. We need to react and improve as well. This dual was noticeably better than we’ve seen since the first of the month and, in fact, over the last two years. It showed good, solid effort, and that’s the way it should be done.”
Using that stepping stone will be necessary this week as Pagosa takes two trips across the pass to La Jara, home of the Falcons, the current No. 1-ranked team in Colorado 3A.
“Centauri is ranked number one,” said Janowsky, “but we’re starting to gain some momentum. We’re thinking we’re on the rise.”
The Pirates dual the Falcons tonight then return for the Centauri dual meet tournament Saturday. On Saturday, the Pirates will start action in a pool with some formidable opponents — Centauri and Buena Vista (currently a top 10 team), and Florence and Hotchkiss — both traditional 3A powers.
“This is what we want,” said Janowsky. “It’s tough and it’s what we need — a series of hard matches, Our focus going over there is to use this as a way to get better. Our guys have an opportunity to fight five tough duals, to work on technique against good opponents, to get better. This is the way we will position ourselves to do our best in next few weeks.”
Tonight’s dual at Centauri begins at 6 p.m.
The Saturday tournament in La Jara starts at 9 a.m.