Pirate wrestlers lost a dual meet in Monte Vista last Thursday, but continued to improve their skills Saturday at the Alamosa Invitational.
Despite having a number of exciting matches, Pagosa lost the dual against Monte Vista 30-42.Currently ranked fifth in the 3A division, Monte Vista proved to be stiff competition, bringing hard match ups in most weight classes and especially at lower weights — Monte Vista wrestlers gained the advantage and pinned Pagosa wrestlers in the 106-, 113-, 120- and 126-pound weight classes.
“They really are outstanding at the lower weights,” said Pagosa head coach Dan Janowsky. “We have a lot of young wrestlers at those weights, so maturity was definitely a factor.”
Competition was more fierce at higher weights, with exciting matches seen from junior JC Parsons, who got a pin at 160, junior Chase Patane, who got a reversal in the last ten seconds of his match to win 5-4 at 182, and junior Alonso Hernandez, who went into overtime to get a 2-1 win at 195.
Junior David McRee at 170 and senior Micheal Mills at 132 also had very close matches but were unable to pull out wins. McRee lost 6-9 to a tough opponent who also beat him at the Rocky Mountain Invitational, although the point difference was much closer at the end of the match last Thursday.
Mills had a rematch against Monte Vista junior Daniel Borunda after beating him for the first time at the Rocky Mountain Invitational. This time Borunda scored and won the match at the last second. The two continue to be fierce competitors and may have the chance to compete once more before regionals.
Although the Pirates fell to Monte Vista last week, Janowsky explained that the team continues to improve. As the confidence of individual wrestlers continues to grow, so does team support and motivation. Janowsky thinks that mental toughness showed as the team made a close match of the Monte Vista dual last week.
“Even though we lost, I saw obvious progress, and we’ll keep building on that,”said Janowsky.
Pirate wrestlers also participated in the Alamosa Invitational, another individual, double elimination tournament, last Saturday. Competition at the Alamosa tournament is generally dominated by larger schools, which means that every match is tough and the Pirates had to wrestle hard in every round. Although they didn’t wrestle against many opponents they may see at regionals or state, practicing intensity benefited Pagosa wrestlers as they continue to prepare for upcoming high stakes competition at the end of the season.
Based on points accumulated by individuals, the Pirates placed seventh out of 12 at the tournament. Of the Pagosa competitors present, seniors Mills, Creede Wylie at 285 and junior Chris Archuleta at 138 made it to the championship round.
Mills turned up the heat and wrestled competitively all day in order to win his second tournament in a row. Archuleta beat the second and third seeds in his weight class to get to the championship, where he was defeated by a strong opponent.
Despite the loss, Janowsky explained that his wrestling is promising, especially if he can maintain the intensity he demonstrated in Alamosa.
Wylie suffered his first loss of the season in the finals against the heavy weight from ThunderRidge, a 5A school in Highlands Ranch. Although he scored a lot of points in the tournament and wrestled well, a couple of mistakes in the championship round cost him the match.
“He took the loss hard,” said Janowsky, “but there is a whole lot he can get out of it that will likely help him in the long run.”
Parsons at 160 and McRee at 170 also performed well in Alamosa, both taking fourth place. Janowsky told The SUN that Parsons is really beginning to demonstrate an understanding of complex wrestling skills and strategies.
“A lot of kids are good, athletic competitors,” said Janowsky, “but in wrestling you really have to keep track of time and the score in your head. The ability to do those things helps in strategy. As kids learn those skills, they start to get more wins.”
Pagosa forfeited at weights 106, 113, 120 and 220 in Alamosa.
The team will continue to improve, sharpening their mental game as they face league competition tonight in Bayfield. The dual begins at 6 p.m. Although the Pirates beat the Bayfield team early in the season, Janowsky expects the meet to be competitive.
Saturday, the Pirates will travel to a dual meet tournament in Aztec, N.M. to face many New Mexico teams. Janowsky hopes the team will further develop confidence and get some wins in Aztec.
As the regional tournament looms closer, the Pirates are working to keep in mind that every match is a big match. Maintaining this idea is important because it simulates the pressure of upcoming matches at the regional tournament where teams have to place in the top four to advance to the state tournament. As such, the Pirates are determined to prepare for and wrestle matches with intensity and focus while working to perfect the mental skills that will help them get more wins.