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Pirate wrestlers 5-1 to start season

The Pirate wrestling season got off to a good start last weekend with a dual meet victory over Ignacio on Dec. 4 and a second-place finish at the Wolverine Classic in Bayfield on Dec. 5, with four victories and one defeat at the dual meet tournament.

Pagosa’s win over the Bobcats Friday night was close — 39-38. Two wins by fall and a decision made the difference for Pagosa.

Silas Thompson pinned his 103-pound opponent, Taylor Smith, just 49 seconds into the match

E.J. Romero got a win by fall at 112, pinning Hagen Sanchez at 3 minutes, 4 seconds.

Preston Sandoval scored at 285 with an 8-4 decision over Tanner Harwood.

“I thought our performance was a bit flat,” said Pirate coach Dan Janowsky. “You never know what to expect: Ignacio has some good wrestlers, and we’re in a rebuilding phase. We had some good matches from guys that allowed us to get the win. We won three and we were close in some others, and if you look at the rematch Saturday (the final dual at Bayfield, against Ignacio, won by Pagosa) you see we got much better performances out of some of our guys; they were very combative the second time around. There were a lot of Ignacio forfeits Friday night, and I am proud of our guys who work hard all week in the wrestling room and who don’t get the chance to wrestle when there’s a forfeit by the other team. Sometimes you have a really good guy who doesn’t get a chance to compete.”

On Saturday, at Bayfield, the Pirates ended the day in second place at the Classic, finishing two points behind Piedra Vista, 204-202.

The Classic gave the Pirates the chance to fight dual matches with Piedra Vista, Bayfield, Ignacio, Dove Creek and Cortez.

The Pirates dropped the dual to Piedra Vista 32-30.

Romero won his match at 112, beating Nick Pacheco 8-0.

Dakota Miller got his first pin of the season at 140, defeating Devin Haver at 1:40.

Koby Close got a pin at 145, beating Aaron Velasquez at 1:37.

There were few forfeits in the Dove Creek match and the Pirates dominated, winning 42-29.

Alan Van Ness (119) pinned Dillon Bailey at 1:15.

Danny Shahan (135) scored a 19-4 decision over Jeff Sparks.

Miller got his second pin of the tournament, beating Daylen Oren at the 53-second mark.

Ryan Hamilton scored points at 152 with a 14-5 decision over Dillon Sanders.

Jordan Neuleib (171) pinned Jacob Layen 40 seconds into their match.

Sandoval went at 215 and pinned Blaine Daves at 2:44.

Patrick Manzanares wrestled at 285 and pinned Cory Leponte at 1:26.

The match against Cortez was a forfeitfest with Cortez surrendering seven matches, handing the Pirates a 45-33 win.

Romero scored a 9-8 decision over Ryan Davis at 112.

The Pirates beat the host Wolverines 46-26.

Van Ness dropped to 112 and pinned Drake Rhodes at 2:37.

Andrew Clark got a win at 125 — a 14-7 decision over Joe Zink.

Miller scored maximum points with yet another fall at 140, pinning Justin Shupe at 5:26.

Waylon Lucero got his first win of the season at 160, beating Tanner McGahey 10-9.

Clint Manzanares got his first win of the year at 189, pinning Thomas Clofton at 1:20.

Patrick Manzanares nailed down six points, pinning Matt Eckstein at 55 seconds.

Pagosa finished off the Classic with a 42-32 win over Ignacio, riding three falls and a wave of forfeits to the victory.

Van Ness pinned Hagen Sanchez at 1:58 in a match at 112.

Thompson pinned Taylor Smith at 103.

Patrick Manzanares got the fall at 285, pinning Tanner Harwood at 2:31.

“We competed well in every match but the one against Cortez,” said Janowsky. “And if you look at the final team scores, we were one match away from first place. One match, any time during the day, would have put us over the top.

“The weekend was a good start,” said the coach. “We came away seeing potential, but the matches were just a building block for us. One thing I will say about the guys on this team is that they don’t do anything flashy, but they don’t make big mistakes and give up big points. Our guys are fighting to stay in a match, fighting off their backs when they find themselves there, learning to detect when there is a chance they could go to their back, and avoiding it. They are getting themselves six minutes per match, and that allows a lot more time for coaching, more time to get better. That’s their disposition, and it’s a great disposition to have in this sport.”

With a dual against Cortez postponed Tuesday, the Pirates move on Saturday to a familiar event — the Buena Vista dual meet tournament, where the team will get in another five duals. Included at the meet with the hosts and the Pirates will be regional powerhouses Centauri and Florence, as well as St. Mary’s, Steamboat Springs, Battle Mountain, Salida and Glenwood Springs.

“The Buena Vista tournament will be another stepping stone for us,” said Janowsky. With another five duals, hopefully we’ll continue to show improvement.”