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The Pirate wresters continued to improve their skills, winning matches and scoring points last weekend at the Columbine Invitational tournament in Littleton.
After competing against other wrestlers from a number of 3A, 4A and 5A schools, the Pirate team took third place out of 12 teams overall, scoring 102 total points. Two other 3A schools, Sterling and Weld Central, placed first and second scoring 151 and 117 points respectively.
At the Columbine Invitational, wrestlers competed individually in their weight classes in double elimination brackets. The team was in second place going into semifinals with seven wrestlers competing. Unfortunately, only two competitors, senior heavy weight Creede Wylie and junior Alonso Hernandez ,won semifinal matches and advanced to the finals. Wylie, competing in the 285-pound weight class took first place and was the only champion from Pagosa. Hernandez took second place competing at 195.
Wylie went undefeated last weekend, winnng three matches — pinning a Columbine wrester in 48 seconds and two Weld Central wresters in 1 minute, 2 seconds and 3 minutes, 1 second respectively.
“Tournaments with more 4A and 5A schools are good for heavyweights like Creede,” explained head coach Dan Janowsky. “There just isn’t as much competition in the category in 3A, so it was important to get him there (to the Columbine Invitational).”
Other Pagosa competitors also stepped up, competing well in their weight classes but failing to make it to the semifinals or finals.
Senior Micheal Mills at 138, junior David McRee at 171 and junior JC Parsons at 160 each took fourth place. Some younger wrestlers also helped the team place third at the tournament, demonstrating their individual wrestling skills and gaining confidence from winning matches. Junior Chase Pattney went 2-2 competing at 182 as did sophomores Tanner Schlom at 113, Tyler Cowan at 145 and Connor Bjork at 152. Each of these wrestlers were one match away from placing.
The Pirates were able to fill more weights last weekend than they did at the Bayfield meet the previous weekend. Competing in more weight classes allows individual wrestlers to score more points for the team.
After a long weekend of travel and competition, the wrestlers recovered, practicing escapes and doing short, hard workouts earlier this week. Currently, they are working on takedown skills at practice while working to maintain mat wrestling skills practiced earlier in the week.
Wrestlers will have another chance to showcase their skills and progress this Saturday, Dec. 21 at the 10th annual Panther Classic in Farmington, N.M., at Piedra Vista High School. Competition at the dual meet tournament begins at 9 a.m. and the Pirates will face wrestlers from 3A and 4A schools in New Mexico. Ten teams will attend the tournament, competing in two, five-team pools.
“I think we will field a more complete lineup this weekend,” said Janowsky. “It’s still not what we hope it will be come January, but we’ll have a full lineup of solid wresters competing.”
At the tournament this weekend, Janowsky expects the team to win more individual matches and duals than they lose. The tournament will be the last competition for the Pirates until Jan. 4. The team will hold voluntary practices on days allowed by CHSAA over the holiday break and will resume normal practices on Jan. 2.