Bulldogs, Panthers top 5 at Ignacio wrestling tourney
Dove Creek was a bit shorthanded on the wrestling mat, but coach Shane Baughman will take his team's performance.
Four Bulldogs won their respective weight classes in Ignacio, while Montezuma-Cortez High School claimed two titles.
Dove Creek finished second as a team at the annual Butch Melton Invitational last Saturday with 189.5 points. M-CHS was fourth in the 11-school tournament with 144.5 points.
St. Michael's High School made the drive from Santa Fe, N.M., and left with the team title of 260.5 points.
The Bulldogs were without Tyler Ebberts at 138 pounds and Tyler Knuckles at 182. Both sat out with injuries. Baughman feels the final team standings may have been different if the two Tylers could have suited up.
"That really hurt not having those two," he said. "They wrestled real well, but it would be nice to have a full lineup. We still haven't had our full lineup."
Chance Randolph (120), Nick Jones (126), Cole Baughman (132) and Dalton Randolph (152) all won titles.
Jones' championship came on a well earned, hard fought 1-point decision in the finals over a wrestler from St. Michael's.
"Nick Jones finally turned the corner," coach Baughman said. "He works so hard in practice and in the weight room. We kept telling him 'the wins are going to start coming.' It's nice to see him on the winning side of things. His hard work paid off."
Colin Hobbs and Case Baughman each grappled to third-place finishes at 106 and 113.
Wyatt Applin wrestled his best tourney of the year at 170, finishing second.
"We've been working on his conditioning all year. He's healing up and we're starting to go two-a-days," Shane Baughman said. "He's starting to be in really good shape at the right time."
Tyson Smith took third at heavyweight and Dillon Daves placed fifth at 145.
Dove Creek gets back to work Thursday evening for the San Juan Basin League championships at Dolores High School.
The Bulldogs are strong favorites to defend their league title. A heavy contingent of fans are expected to make the short drive from Dove Creek.
"It's great for the fans to be able to come watch. They're pretty excited about it being in Dolores this year," said Shane Baughman about leagues. "Four out of the five schools will have full teams. I think that will be good to have some good competition in our league meet."
Ryan Daves remained undefeated at 138s. His 4-0 mark earned him the Outstanding Wrestler award and upped his overall season record to 28-0. Daves won by a 19-3 technical fall over Aaron Yazzie (Pagosa Springs). He pinned Tommy Fury (Dove Creek), Iassic Pena (Ignacio) and Drake Rhodes (Bayfield).
As a team, the Panthers wrestled their best meet of the season. Each wrestler placed Saturday.
"Overall, I was extremely pleased with the way they wrestled," M-CHS coach Eric Smith said. "Having everyone place for the first time this year, shows me they're peaking at the right time. The boys are really starting to pick it up a bit and feeling some things. They feel what it's like out there to be able to win."
Trenton Gustafson dominated at 182 pounds. The senior pinned his way to the title in three matches. Gustafson pinned Chad McNamera (St. Michael's), Orien Israel (Aztec, N.M.) and Michael Goodman (Bayfield).
Celestino Fernandez, Levi Gross and Seager Oliver all took second at 106, 120 and 160. Justice Ramos placed third at 145 with a 4-1 record and Tyler Hageman placed for the first time this year at fifth.
The Panthers return home today to host 2A Ignacio in a dual beginning at 6 p.m.
"It's nice to have a home meet at the end the season, finally. Especially, for our seniors," Smith said. "Hopefully, we can go out with a win for our community."
M-CHS will be at Grand Junction Central High School on Saturday morning for the Southwestern League duals at 8.
Wyatt Wade led the Dolores Bears with a championship at 145s in Ignacio. The senior went 3-0.
Deano Valdez was the runner-up at 152 with a 2-1 record.
Luke Murefield was fifth at 126 and Kacee Davis placed sixth at 160. Kellen Gatzke and Guy Wallace were both seventh at 170 and 138, respectively.
"Our guys wrestled really well," Bears first-year coach Leo Garand said. "We only brought six, but everyone placed."
Dolores will host the SJBL championships Thursday at 4 p.m.
"It's a great opportunity. These boys haven't wrestled in front of their home crowd in seven years, until this year," Garand said. "To finish the season at home, is great for the kids. Everybody is pretty excited for it. I'm glad we're the ones getting to host it."
The Bears will also wrestle at the Nucla tournament Saturday morning at 9:30.