Wrestling here and now, then and there

Steve Lewis/Durango Herald file photo

Jordan McKnight and the Durango Demons will be busy on the wrestling mats throughout the week. First up, Durango will host Bayfield at 6 p.m. Thursday. Ignacio then will host Bayfield at 5:30 p.m. Friday, and all three schools will wrestle at the Bobcats’ annual Butch Melton Invitational on Saturday.

By Dale Strode Herald staff writer

Check the local sports schedule this week, and you’ll see high school wrestling listed.

Lots of high school wrestling.

The wrestling week extravaganza will begin Thursday night with one of the Four Corners’ top dual rivalries – Bayfield at Durango.

A similarly intense dual rivalry is scheduled for Friday night – Bayfield at Ignacio.

All of the teams in the Four Corners will converge on the Sun Ute Community Center in Ignacio on Saturday for the annual Butch Melton Invitational. That means Bayfield, Durango and Ignacio and the rest of the regional wrestling world will vie for Butch Melton titles in a one-day wrestling marathon.

“We’re really looking forward to (Thursday night),” Durango head coach Doug Cuddie said.

“Bayfield has a good program. I think we match up pretty well with them,” Cuddie said. “It’s a matter of which Durango team shows up and which Bayfield team shows up, I guess.”

Cuddie said the dual against Bayfield will be a good test for the Demons, who are coming off the rugged Top of the Rockies Tournament in Lafayette last weekend – considered the deepest invitational tournament in Colorado.

“It was, honestly, as tough as the state tournament,” Cuddie said. “It was mostly 5A schools and 4A schools and top 3A schools like Alamosa. There were no easy matches for anyone.”

Durango High School

Nick Tarpley led the Demons with a fourth-place finish on the Front Range.

Durango’s 152-pounder won six matches and lost his first two bouts of the season at the tournament. Tarpley is ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 4A by coloradopreps.com with a record of 24-2.

Clay Dillon (126) of Durango went 5-2 last weekend and just missed the podium, as did teammate Daniel Gustavson (220).

Matthew Lavengood of the Demons is ranked fourth in the 113-pound division by coloradopreps.com.

“I felt really good about the way we wrestled. We were ... in Denver. It was a different atmosphere. I think it was really good for our team,” Cuddie said.

Bayfield High School

DHS will take on a Bayfield team coming off a strong showing at the Aztec Duals in New Mexico last weekend.

“I felt like we wrestled better than the last couple outings,” Bayfield head coach Todd McMenimen said. “Actually, we wrestled a lot better.”

Two Wolverines went 5-0 at Aztec: Heavyweight Matt Eckstein and 182-pounder Michael Goodman both went undefeated in Aztec.

Drake Rhodes and Allec Rodriguez went 4-1 for Bayfield.

Tyler Beebe, Joe Zink, James Young and Matt Certes posted 3-2 records at the tournament against Colorado and New Mexico competition.

Ignacio High School

BHS will double up with a dual at Ignacio High School on Friday night.

The host Bobcats are coming off their best showing of the season at the Screamin’ Eagle Tournament in Paonia last weekend – the premier small-school tournament in Colorado.

Three Bobcats made the prestigious podium in Paonia – Mike Perez was fourth at 145, Javan Webb was fifth at 195, and Blane Mickey was sixth at 170.

The Bobcats will extend their roles as hosts Saturday at the annual Butch Melton Invitational, named after longtime Ignacio coach and athletic director Butch Melton.

The BHS and IHS varsity squads will compete with a host of schools from the Four Corners. Durango will send its junior varsity team to the Butch Melton Invitational, with some varsity wrestlers entered in the tournament.

“This weekend, we’ll give our varsity guys a choice. We’ll send a full JV team. But next week is our league duals ... that’s five duals on a Saturday. So, we need to think about that,” Cuddie said.

“But I know our varsity will be ready to go against Bayfield (Thursday night),” the DHS head coach said.

Thursday night’s dual in the Durango High School auxiliary gym will start at 6 p.m.

Friday’s dual between Bayfield and Ignacio will start at 5:30 p.m.

Saturday’s Butch Melton Invitational will begin at 9:30 a.m., with wrestling throughout the day at the Sun Ute Community Center.


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