Pirate wrestlers captured four of five duals during the past week, coming very close to finishing at the top of the standings at Saturday’s Buena Vista tournament.
The action began Dec. 7 when the Cortez Panthers came to town for a dual at the PSHS gym.
Cortez brought only eight wrestlers to Pagosa and, by night’s end, the Pirates had won seven of eight matches contested — most of those in dramatic fashion. The home team gained an impressive 63-6 win.
Dalton Gregory got a pin at 125 pounds, beating Christine Sanders at 1 minute, two seconds.
Chris Wade decisioned the Panthers’ Scott Sanders, 11-6.
Keith Archuleta got a fall at 140, defeating Shelton Little at 5:16.
Dakota Miller fashioned a 19-3 tech fall at 145, over Wiley Kirks.
At 152, Danny Shahan scored a 14-1 major decision, beating Dakota Kibel.
Jordan Neuleib fought at 171 and decisioned Trenton Gustafson 12-5.
With victory under their belts, the Pirates competed in the Buena Vista dual meet tournament and won three of four matches. One win in a critical dual with Eagle Valley would have put the Pirates near the top of the heap.
The day began with a battle against Gunnison, which Pagosa won 54-19.
Gregory pinned Ty Reed at 125.
Neuleib got a pin at 189, berating Colton Hoots.
Preston Sandoval wrestled at 215 and pinned Jeremy Ruiz.
“It was hard to get a read on things,” said Coach Dan Janowsky of the Gunnison match. “They had some good guys, but they had some holes in their lineup. We won. We held our own.”
Next up for Pagosa was Eagle Valley, a match the Pirates lost by a slim 40-33 margin.
Will Appenzeller scored points pinning Rick Ramunno at 140.
Sandoval got a 3-0 decision over Joey Sanchez at 215.
The key to the match was a disqualification at 145 for Miller for a slam in the first period.
“Basically, “said Janowsky, “you win one other match, you win the dual. I wasn’t real happy; we could have done better. And the slam call took out one of our better wrestlers. The guy basically fell on his back. It turned out to be the margin of victory. But, I don’t pay that much attention to wins and losses. What’s important is whether we are combative, competitive. You have to wrestle to win and we didn’t work hard enough in that way. And that kind of carried over into our next dual, with Mead.”
The Pirates faced the fledgling Mead program in the next dual at the tournament. The two-year-old school is located in Longmont and, after a few years in Class 3A, is expected to move up a classification. Pagosa won the match 47-33.
Dalton pinned Alec An Hooker at 125.
Appenzeller got a 15-0 tech fall at 140, dominating Leo Wahl.
Miller pinned Kyle Counch in a match at 145.
Ty Lobato got the fall against Dustin Vialpondo, at 171.
Sandoval pinned Jorge Cortez at 215.
Creede Wylie beat Nick Testroet at 285.
“I brought Creede Wylie along. He’s a freshman and he weighs two hundred-twenty pounds. He wrestled at two eighty-five. He went out and got after it and got a win for us. He’s one of our younger guys, in transition — freshmen and sophomores who are better than they give themselves credit for.
“We got a lot of wins, but I know what we have to do to get out of the pack. That’s where we are now. We need to get out of the pack and get after teams that are in front. That is going to require intensity I don’t think we showed.”
The final dual of the day was against Salida. Pagosa beat the Spartans 42-33.
Cole Zellner pinned Matt Trueblood in a fight at 119.
Appenzeller got a pin at 140, defeating Justin Payson.
Miller put max points on the board with a fall at 145, against Clint Doren.
Cody Snow fashioned a fall at 160, beating Hayden Anderson.
Lobato finished his day at 171, pinning Tyler Martin.
“Our guys responded,” said Janowsky. “We talked it over, resolved we’d be more combative, and we were. We had guys step up and get wins. I put Cody Snow in for Koby Close at 160 after Koby was injured Cody barely met the minimum weight to wrestle at one sixty; he fell behind, but he kept plugging away and he got the pin. Cole Zellner had a big win. He got caught on his back, fought his way out, got a reversal and got the pin. I felt a little better at the end of the day. We won three and lost one — and that one was to the team that won the tournament.”
Where the team goes as the holiday break begins is anyone’s guess as of Wednesday. Due to an administrative error, it was questionable whether Pagosa would compete at the Piedra Vista tournament. Janowsky said his junior varsity would make the trek to New Mexico Friday and Saturday but said, if the varsity does not accompany them, the team will likely compete at a tournament in Walsenberg.
Whatever the site, the action will be the last before the holiday vacation. The team returns to competition Jan. 6 at Monte Vista.