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The Pirate wrestling squad lost a dual meet against the Alamosa Mean Moose this past Saturday at home. Ranked in the top ten 3A wrestling teams in the state, Alamosa proved to be formidable competition for the pirates, who lost the dual meet by a score of 33-46.
“Alamosa is a good team,” explained head coach Dan Janowsky. “We knew they would be tough competition.”
Despite the loss, Janowsky told The SUN this week that Pagosa wrestlers remained competitive overall, demonstrating focus and determination. However, many Pirate wrestlers still lacked the confidence necessary to compete well against or beat tough competitors.
“Lots of our guys haven’t realized how far they’ve come and that they’re even with their opponents in many cases,” said Janowsky. “We didn’t wrestle aggressively enough last weekend. Assuming your opponent is better that you are can really slow you down.”
Although the team as a whole still struggles to display confidence during matches, Janowsky explained that wrestlers who participated in optional practices during winter break noticeably improved — the majority of these wrestlers are older varsity and experienced junior varsity competitors. Improvements made during these extra practices will give the team a good start to the second half of the wrestling season, although the loss to Alamosa was disappointing.
Additionally, Janowsky told The SUN that he was pleased with the leadership demonstrated by junior and senior wrestlers this past weekend. Wins by key team leaders including junior David McRee at 182 pounds, junior Alonso Hernandez at 220 and senior Micheal Mills at 132, who all pinned their opponents Saturday, fired up other wrestlers and instilled drive and confidence. Junior Chris Archuleta also demonstrated leadership and won his match, competing at 138. Janowsky explained that each of these wrestlers demonstrated focus and intent to win last weekend and that their performances were good examples of how he wants their younger teammates to compete. Unfortunately, heavyweight Creede Wiley was unable to lift his teammates up with his victory last weekend, as it was the result of an Alamosa forfeit.
The varsity team lineup still is not set and younger wrestlers are working hard to improve every day, competing for the chance to represent Pagosa on the varsity roster. Younger wrestlers who are able to develop aggressiveness, command of their skills and techniques and understanding of their capabilities will complete the varsity line up early this calendar year.
“It’s always a disappointment to lose,” said Janowsky of the Alamosa meet, “but when you see and feel progress, it’s cause for optimism.”
Janowsky’s optimism also stems from his observation of the wrestlers working hard to improve as individuals at practice and during competition while also coming together as a team, rallying around and supporting each other as competitors and teammates. A sense of team unity present at the end of the last wrestling season is beginning to grow amongst members of this year’s team. Cohesiveness and team support will help individual Pirate wrestlers rise up and meet challenging IML competitors as the season progresses.
Each Pirate wrestler will get the chance to demonstrate gumption this coming weekend at the Rocky Mountain Invitational tournament. During this individual, double elimination tournament, each competitor will wrestle independently, but a team score will also be totaled at the end. This means that no team can advance a wrestler that has lost more than two matches. If competitors continue to win matches, they will wrestle a total of five matches in their weight class including a championship match. Wrestlers will not score any points for their team if they lose a match, but victory points, bonus points and points for placement will all contribute to the ending team score.
Eighteen teams of varied sizes will attend the tournament held at Pagosa Springs High School this weekend, representing varied schools in Colorado and New Mexico.
“It’s a good test and popular tournament in the area,” said Janowsky. “In my opinion it’s the best tournament in the area in terms of event quality including administration and attendance.”
Some traveling teams will arrive early Friday, so some official dual matches will be held at the high school Friday night, although opponents are still to be determined. Tournament action will take place all day Saturday starting at 10 a.m. and concluding around 7:30 p.m. Come cheer on the Pirates as they face competitors from all over Colorado and New Mexico.