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Next two weeks busy for Pirate wrestlers

Pirate wrestlers had some time off from competition during the holiday break, but they will make up for lost time during the first two weeks of the 2010 portion of the current season.

The team hosts the Durango Demons tonight in a dual meet, set to begin at 6 p.m. at the high school gym.

The action continues tomorrow with the Rocky Mountain Duals, at 5 p.m.

The Rocky Mountain Duals will feature the Pirates, Widefield, Bloomfield and Espanola Valley.

Saturday, Jan. 9, is the annual Rocky Mountain Invitational, with 16 teams visiting the PSHS gym. Action begins at 10 a.m.

On Tuesday, Cortez comes to town for a 6 p.m. dual meet, rescheduled when weather forced a postponement earlier in the season.

The Alamosa Invitational is on the schedule for Jan. 16.

The Pirates head into the second half of the season following a positive start to the schedule. In the midst of a rebuilding year, Pagosa fared well in December.

Pagosa defeated Ignacio 39-38 in a dual meet Dec. 4, then placed second at the Bayfield dual meet tourney the next day, defeating the hosts, Ignacio, Dove Creek and Cortez, and suffering only one loss — to Piedra Vista.

The team followed the next weekend with a second-place finish at the Buena Vista dual meet tournament, with wins over Centauri, Buena Vista, Battle Mountain and Bennett. The only loss came at the hands of Florence.

In a final appearance prior to the break, the Pirates took third place at the 12-team Piedra Vista Invitational, finishing behind San Juan, Utah, and Bloomfield, N.M.

“We made a lot of progress early in the season,” said Pirate Coach Dan Janowsky. “Now we have to keep raising the bar.”

The bar definitely goes up for the Pirates the next two weeks.

“By the end of the Cortez meet, some of our guys could have eight or nine matches,” said Janowsky. “High school kids are amazing in the way they will adapt. Some will return from the break in good shape, but those who don’t will work into it by the end of the weekend. This is a great teaching opportunity. In eight or nine matches, we can see a lot, can determine what needs to be done. A weekend like this tells us where we are.”

The team could be helped by lineup changes. “Typically what happens,” said the coach, “is guys get eligible, guys heal from injuries.”

One notable change in the lineup could be the appearance of Will Appenzeller at 140 pounds. Appenzeller, a state qualifier last year at Ignacio, had to sit out the 2009 portion of the season to be eligible following his transfer to Pagosa Springs High School.

Saturday, Jan. 16, Pagosa makes its annual trip to compete at the Alamosa Invitational — this year, a 12-team tournament, featuring programs from schools larger than Pagosa. The Pirates will send a fairly complete lineup to that event and will also send a team composed primarily of freshmen and sophomores to compete the same day in the varsity division at the Center Tournament.

“In this two week-stretch,” said Janowsky, “we have our proving grounds. The season starts to get hard now.”