Mountains

Panthers tame Bobcats

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Ryan Daves gains control over Ignacio's Miguel Perez on his way to a pin Tuesday night in Montezuma-Cortez High School at 145 pounds.

By Bobby Abplanalp Journal staff writer

It was a senior night to remember for Ryan Daves and Trenton Gustafson

The Montezuma-Cortez High School wrestling stars pinned their opponents Tuesday night. The 4A Panthers did a lot of pinning on the way to a convincing 41-6 wrestling dual win over 2A Ignacio.

"It was nice the seniors could have their last (regular season) matches at home," Panthers coach Eric Smith said. "They went out and did what they do. They took care of business."

It was just the second time this season M-CHS wrestled at home. The Panthers indeed gave the fans a good show and finished their home slate with a 2-1 dual record.

"It's nice. I didn't think we were going to be able to have another one this year," said Daves about wrestling a home dual for the last time. "We were lucky Ignacio came over and dualed us. I'm glad that they did."

There were some open weight classes, so both Daves and Gustafson wrestled up a weight class.

Daves went from 138 pounds to 145 and took on Miguel Perez.

It was no problem for Colorado's No. 1-ranked 4A wrestler at 138s.

The M-CHS senior dominated the first period with a barrage of takedowns and near fall points to lead 10-2 after one.

In the second period, Daves quickly put the hammer down. Just 52 seconds into the period, Perez was on his back and the official slapped the mat.

Daves pinned yet another opponent and upped is season record to an unblemished 27-0.

"It didn't really bother me. A match is a match," said Daves about wrestling at 145s. "I just keep it in my head that I can win, keeping that determination that I can stay on top."

Gustafson wrestled up from 182 to 195.

Again, not a problem.

Gustafson made mincemeat out of Javan Webb with a takedown, a near fall and the pin - just 39 seconds into the match. The stalky senior is now 24-3 on the season.

"It just felt good that we actually got another one at home - able to wrestle here one last time," said Gustafson, who plans to play college football.

Sophomore Seager Oliver took care of Blaine Mickey at 170 by a 17-0 technical fall. Fellow M-CHS sophomore Levi Gross beat Kyle Bailey at 126s by third-round pin.

Celestino Fernandez (106), Justice Ramos (152) and Tyler Hageman (160) all recorded wins by forfeit.

The one victory for Ignacio came at 120s when Taylor Smith pinned Johnathan Tavra in the third period.

"I was extremely pleased with the way they went out," coach Smith said. "It's hard coming off a weekend tournament, a one-day practice and then making weight. But they went out, and looked strong and wrestled well. They show improvement every time they step on the mat."

The Panthers will now gear up for the Southwestern League championships on Saturday at Grand Junction Central High School.

"Head-to-head, there's going to be some good matchups between some of our guys and the other schools," Eric Smith said. "I just look for them to take care of themselves, and wrestle fundamentally sound and wrestle hard. That's how I'm going to judge it of what we do on the mat."

Gustafson has huge aspirations in mind this weekend.

"Winning is by far my goal this weekend," he said. "I'm excited for it. It's one last 'Hurrah' and I'm going to put everything I can into it."

Wrestling begins Saturday morning at 8.

bobbya@cortezjournal.com.

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