It was a rough week for Pirate wrestlers — two trips to La Jara resulted in less-than-desirable results in a dual against Centauri and at the Centauri tournament.
The Pirates boarded the bus Thursday and made the trip to the San Luis Valley for a dual against the Falcons, who are currently ranked No. 1 in Class 3A.
The Falcons defeated Pagosa 57-13.
Three Pirates won matches in the dual.
Alonzo Hernandez, 220 pounds, pinned R.J. Ruybal at 3:37.
Dalton Gregory earned a 12-4 major decision against Shane Wilson at 138 pounds.
Keith Archuleta got the win by decision at 145 pounds, beating Juanito Romero 6-4.
In the battle against Centauri, Pagosa faced yet another in a succession of top-10 teams in Class 3A — three of them in the Intermountain League (Centauri, No. 2 – ranked Alamosa, and No. 9 Monte Vista.)
“We were close in four matches,” said coach Dan Janowsky. “In three matches, we were tied or we were ahead in the last minute. When you are ahead with twenty seconds on the clock, you better win, or this (the team loss) is what happens.”
The team had one day to recuperate before heading east over Wolf Creek Pass on Saturday for a dual meet tournament at La Jara. The event featured a number of the states best 3A teams.
By tourney’s end, the Pirates had won one of five duals — beating Florence 34-33.
Pagosa again dropped a dual to the Falcons, losing 61-12, forfeiting six matches, including those at the four lowest weights.
Cody Snow got the only victory against Centauri. Snow pinned James Richardson in their match at 152 pounds, putting Richardson’s shoulders down at 1:54.
“Right now,” said Janowsky, “we don’t have the team to beat them (Centauri). For example, in our dual on Thursday, even if we had won seven matches, they would have won on the basis of bonus points. On Saturday, we had guys who won on Thursday lose their matches. We looked really tired. On one level, that’s understandable: we have been working really hard, twice a day, and we had five-hour bus trips. But, there are ways to will yourself through things like that, and we didn’t. We’ll recover, and our wrestling will improve. We can’t let our frustration damage our confidence.”
The Pirates lost 55-21 to the No. 10-ranked Buena Vista Demons, 36-30 to the No. 7-ranked Salida Spartans, and 45-18 to Hotchkiss.
Janowsky noted some extenuating circumstances that affected the team’s scores at the tournament. “Everyone is holding out athletes with just two weeks to go before the regional tournaments.” And, Saturday, at La Jara, the Pirates were without the services of Gregory, Chase Purcell (knee) and Chris Archuleta (shoulder). “Dalton Gregory wrestled a terrific match Thursday, won 12-4 and sprained an ankle in the process,” said the coach. “He wanted to wrestle Saturday and was eager to wrestle the whole day, but we pulled him out.”
Now, time is short, with the regional qualifying tournament set for Monte Vista Feb. 15-16.
“We have to figure out how to finish,” said the coach. “Finish our shots and finish our matches. I believe we will do it, and recover. We’ll have a good dual at Bloomfield (Friday, at Bloomfield, N.M., with junior varsity action beginning at 6 p.m.), and the next weekend is the regional tournament. We would have liked to build momentum at Centauri, but we didn’t. But, sometimes, comfort isn’t a good thing in wrestling.
“Now we have to not focus on the overall score and realize that, as individuals, we have had some close matches versus good people. In a few days, we’ll have to win those matches.”