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Wrestling season picks up momentum

Staff Writer

SUN photo/Karl IsbergDavid McRee works to turn his opponent during a 170-pound match at Saturday’s Rocky Mountain Invitational. McRee won two of four matches and the Pirates finished in eighth place in the team standings. The squad returns to the fray tonight, hosting Monte Vista, travels to Durango for a dual meet Friday, and competes at the Alamosa Invitational Saturday.

SUN photo/Karl Isberg
David McRee works to turn his opponent during a 170-pound match at Saturday’s Rocky Mountain Invitational. McRee won two of four matches and the Pirates finished in eighth place in the team standings. The squad returns to the fray tonight, hosting Monte Vista, travels to Durango for a dual meet Friday, and competes at the Alamosa Invitational Saturday.

When the vacation ends, it’s time to get down to business.

For Pagosa Springs High School wrestlers, the business was intense, including a dual meet at Alamosa and the annual Rocky Mountain Invitational in the home gym.

A trip to Alamosa is a high-caliber way to begin the 2013 portion of the season. The Mean Moose are a perennial favorite to capture a state crown, but Pagosa stayed in the fray, dropping the match 50-30, but scoring big points with five pins in the upper weight classes.

Cody Snow won with a fall over Nate Henry at 152 pounds, the win coming at 46 seconds.

Chase Purcell pinned Adrian Ramirez at 3:40 in a match at 160.

In a 170-pound bout, David McRee pinned Chris Aguirre at the 5:37 mark.

Alonzo Hernandez scored top points at 220, pinning Joey Gile at 1:14.

Creede Wylie (285) earned the fall over Brandon Radcliffe at 2:53.

Nasty weather led to the postponement of a scheduled dual meet event at Pagosa on Friday night. The weather contributed to a smaller team roster for Saturday’s tournament (13 instead of 17 teams) and the Pirates fought their way through a highly competitive day to finish eighth in the standings. The Rocky was won by Piedra Vista (Farmington, N.M.), with Air Academy High School taking second place.

Pagosa’s team finish could have been higher, with one or two differences in several bouts.

“The difference between eighth and fourth was pretty slim,” said coach Dan Janowsky. “We lost our chance for a higher finish in the semifinal round. We were in it at that point. We had six guys in the semis. That is a real positive sign for us. The round was tight and the reason it didn’t work out, possibly, is that we still have an inability to wrestle when we’re tired. For various reasons, we weren’t quite there as far as finishing it off.”

The coach clarified the picture, highlighting the positive aspect of the round. “If we had six guys make it to the semifinals at last year’s tournament,” he said, “I would have been ecstatic.

Two Pirates took third place in their brackets — Snow, at 152 (4-1 overall, with four wins by pin) and Morgan Shelton at 182 (3-1 with two pins and a 9-5 decision in the third-place match).

McCree placed fourth at 170 ( 2-2, with a 12-3 major decision and a pin).

Five Pagosa wrestlers ended the day in fifth place: Dalton Gregory at 132 (to pins and a major decision); Keith Archuleta at 145 (3-2, with a decision and a major decision); Purcell, at 160 (3-2 with a decision and two pins); Hernandez, at 220 (2-2, two pins); and Wylie, at 285 (1-2, with a pin).

Several Pirates won matches but did not place. Michael Mills won twice at 132; Austin Courtney got two wins at 138; Dean Scott got a victory at 152.

“This year,” said Janowsky, “ the kids and we coaches were disappointed, but there’s no finger-pointing. We need to correct our mistakes, learn to wrestle when tired, not hang on to a lead or a position. This is the first time this group has been in this position — this is the toughest tournament this group has seen so far. It was good competition and it exposes our weaknesses. You don’t hide from them, you face the truth. I think this is a good group of kids, aggressive enough to deal with things and to make corrections.”

There will be ample opportunity to test those corrections this week, with three difficult trips facing the Pirates in three days time.

Tonight, Pagosa entertains longtime rival Monte Vista for a dual meet at the home gym. Monte finished fifth at the Rocky and action tonight starts at 6 p.m.

Friday, the team travels to Durango, for another tough dual, starting at 6 p.m.

Saturday, it’s back to Moose country for the always formidable Alamosa Invitational, a 10-team tourney this year. Wrestling starts at 9 a.m.

“Our guys want it,” said Janowsky. “They’re ready for it and they’re looking forward to it.”

This story was posted on January 17, 2013.