The final dual of the season is complete, and it is crunch time for Pirate wrestlers.
A trip to Bloomfield, N.M., last week gave the Pirates their final test prior to the upcoming regional tournament and, while four starters were held out of the action due to injury, the team put in a surprisingly good performance before falling 48-33 to the Bobcats.
The dual started at 152 pounds and Pagosa took a quick lead, building on it through the first four matches of the night.
Cody Snow earned max points at 152, pinning Sheldon Begaii at 5:16.
Next up was Dean Scott at 160, who replicated the feat, pinning Trevor Lopez 52 seconds into the battle.
Morgan Shelton earned a 10-7 decision at 170 over Bloomfield’s Jerome Abeyta.
David McRee won with a fall at 182, beating Aaron Marsden at 4:40.
Bloomfield surged back, getting points with a pin and a forfeit before Creede Wylie snapped big points on the Pirate side of the scoreboard with a pin of Lorenzo LaMere 4:15 into their match at 285.
Weldon Hughes was the next Pirate to win a match, taking his fight at 113 against Ezekiel Jaramillo with a fall at 5:46.
A loss and two forfeits surrendered points to the Bobcats, and Bloomfield closed out the victory with two pins.
Coach Dan Janowsky was anything but discouraged by the results. “Our guys on the mat wrestled pretty well,” said Janowsky. “It turned out to be an exciting dual. With the guys we had out, I had different expectations, and our team made an exciting meet of it.”
Janowsky singled out several of his wrestlers for their valuable performances.
“Dean Scott got an early pin. Creede Wylie, from a technical standpoint, wrestled his best match of the year, with more offense. And, when he got on the bottom, he got to his feet and got out of it. Aaron Yazzie (138) did well to build a 14-0 lead, but his opponent was going for broke and won with the pin in the last minute. We started strong, got a nice win at 113, then the forfeits put them back in front.”
But, perspective is valuable. Four starters were out of the lineup — Chris Archuleta (126), Micheal Mills (132), Dalton Gregory (138) and Chase Purcell (160).
“I was disappointed we couldn’t field our best lineup,” said the coach. “If it had been regionals, all four would have wrestled. They’ll all be wrestling this weekend, and we’ll have our best lineup in place for the first and only time this year, though the health of the four who were held out at Bloomfield will be an issue.”
The Pirates will need all the firepower they can muster at what could be the toughest 3A regional in the state. Among the teams are No. 1-ranked Centauri, No. 3-ranked Alamosa and No. 5-ranked Monte Vista.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class qualify to move on to the state tournament the next week in Denver.
“We’ve competed with these teams this year,” said the coach of Centauri, Alamosa and Monte Vista. “We lost to them, but the margin is the closest its been in a long time. If we get peak performances, we could qualify six wrestlers, or more.”
The attitude among team members is right. Janowsky held a voluntary practice Monday morning and the entire team was there.
“They have rebounded,” said the coach. “They were all there Monday morning, and all in good spirits.”
Monday’s practices were tough, as was a practice held Saturday.
“We worked on pretty simple stuff,” said Janowsky, “stuff we need to work on to improve: basic positioning and incorporating the concept of wrestling when you are tired. We make them tired, put them in a position in which they don’t do well, then make them wrestle out of it. Too many times we’ve had matches in our hands, got tired and in trouble. We need to recognize the situation and keep pushing.”
The chance to push takes place at the regional tournament Friday and Saturday, in Monte Vista. Finish in the top four and you buy a week. Finish fifth or lower and the season is over.
Action Friday begins at 2 p.m.
Semifinals get underway at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Matches for third and fifth start at 1 p.m. with finals at 3:30.