The Pirate wrestling season got underway with a flurry of action last week.
Pagosa opened the season hosting a dual meet with Ignacio on Dec. 3. The Pirates won the meet 48-28, largely on the measure of matches forfeited by the Bobcats
Freshman Chad Hall got the only victory in a match wrestled Friday, pinning Christian Knoll at 6 minutes 40 seconds of their match at 189 pounds.
“Chad got the fall in overtime,” said coach Dan Janowsky. “They were tied at the end of regulation; Chad got the takedown to the back, they let them wrestle it out for team points and Chad got the fall. It saved the dual for us. Ignacio brought only six wrestlers, but they have some good ones (including two-time state champ Alex Pena, at 125). We had to turn around and wrestle them the next day, and it was somewhat difficult.”
The difficult action the next day was the first of a series of duals at the Bayfield tournament.
Pagosa got off on the right foot, defeating Ignacio 36-25.
As in the meet the night before, points flooded to Pagosa on forfeits and the Pirates had one win in a match wrestled. Koby Close saw his first battle of the year and pinned the Bobcats’ Knoll in the first period of their match at 171.
The Pirates also gave up points with forfeits. “I opted not to fill a couple weights,” said Janowsky, “and sent our 189 and 285 to a junior varsity tournament in New Mexico.”
Next up for Pagosa was Dove Creek — a 2A school with a formidable wrestling tradition. Dove Creek won the dual 44-33.
The Pirates, however, scored all their non-forfeit points with pins.
Dalton Gregory scored at 125, pinning Tommy Fury at 1:52.
Will Appenzeller got a win at 140, with a fall against Dalton Randolph at 3:51.
Dakota Miller took the mat at 145 and pinned Jordan Lestina at 3:50.
Danny Shahan pinned Austin Meyers at 1:48 in a fight at 152.
“This defined our finish for the day,” said Janowsky of the dual against Dove Creek. “Had we won it, we would have tied for first. We didn’t, and we fell to fourth. It boiled down to two weights where we wrestled well, with solid leads going into the last period. And we gave up falls. From that point on, we were behind by eighteen points all day long. But, a lot of our kids wrestled well in that dual.”
Piedra Vista was next up for Pagosa and the wrestlers from New Mexico bested the Pirates 42-30.
Miller excelled again at 145, pinning Kerr Josheph at 5:04.
Cody Snow scored maximum points, pinning Manning Vanny at 160, at the 3:29 mark.
Preston Sandoval got his first win of the year at 215, pinning Palmer Mark at 1:43.
“Piedra Vista has some good kids from one-twelve to one thirty-five,” said the coach. “We won all the rest. In this dual, against strong kids, our day started to turn around. Guys started to settle down and attack the problem. They were improving and we were starting to score points, even in losing efforts. I got optimistic after that. With the right attitude, a guy can accomplish a lot. They began to experiment with technique, execute at times. It lifted them up.”
Pagosa went on to compete against the host Wolverines, losing to Bayfield 30-44.
Gregory scored with a fall over Rake Rhodes at 3:29 of their match at 125.
Dane Murdock earned an 11-10 decision over Joe Zink at 130.
Appenzeller pinned Michael Dupree at 2:14 at 140.
Miller got a 6-3 decision at 145 over Cameron Shablo.
Close nailed another fall at 171, this time over Max Arass, at 3:31.
Sandoval got the tech fall at 2:33 in his match at 215 against Colin Williams.
“I was thinking again ... their focus is getting better,” said Janowsky. “There were some real bright spots, and some upsets: we got an escape at the buzzer to win at one thirty-five and we got a good win at one twenty-five over Rhodes, where we have a real rivalry.”
The final dual of the day was against Cortez. Pagosa beat the Panthers 43-12 to end the tourney well.
Gregory got a fall at 125.
Murdock earned a major decision, 16-4, at 135.
Appenzeller got the fall at 140, as did Miller at 145, Shahan at 152, and Snow at 160.
Close earned a 10-6 decision at 171.
“Cortez has a young team,” said Janowsky, “ and we’ll see them again (the Panthers came to town Tuesday night for a dual at the PSHS gym — a match that will be covered in next week’s SUN). We did pretty well at Bayfield; we started six sophomores and gave away three forfeits.
“Things ended up on a positive note,” said the coach. “Now, we head to Buena Vista for their tournament Saturday.”