Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
The opening of a new season usually brings high energy.
Bayfield High School didn’t get the memo. The Wolverines’ wrestling team lacked conditioning and finished last out of four teams in the 13th annual Wolverine Classic on Saturday because of fatigue and forfeits.
Dove Creek won the team championship after winning all three duals, while Pagosa Springs came in second and Ignacio High School third.
“We tended to stop wrestling halfway through matches into the third period,” BHS head coach Todd McMenimen said. “We were sloppy at times with our technique, but that came directly from being out of condition.”
It even affected the Wolverines’ strongest performer, Colter McMenimen, the Wolverines’ bronze medalist from last year’s state championships.
“It was tough, definitely out of shape,” he said.
The coach’s son still won all three of his matches by a combined score of 32-8.
The third match took longer because of delays caused by McMenimen’s nose bleed after a crossface.
Coach McMenimen and many of Bayfield’s ineligible players used disinfecting wipes and paper towels to help clean the mat off during the delay.
“That’s the first bloody nose I’ve ever had (in a match),” said McMenimen, son of Missy and Todd McMenimen. “It definitely made me upset, but nothing you could really do but keep wrestling.”
As for the rest of the Wolverines’ wrestlers, Blaine Barnes went 0-3 on the day, Clay Crawford 1-2, Kaylie Hodnett 1-2, Gus Roberts 1-2, Cody Speece 1-2 and Taylor Winch 2-1.
BHS forfeited four matches during the day because it couldn’t fill the weight class, but coach McMenimen was more upset about the mentality of his wrestlers on the mat.
“There’s a meanness and an attitude that we talk about in the room all the time that we don’t quite understand and have yet,” he said. “Ignacio was very good about it (Saturday). They were willing to fight through everything.”
The Bobcats went 1-2 in their first three duals under new head coach Cody Haga.
Blaine Mickey and Isaac Peña won all three of their matches Saturday.
The Bobcats’ lone state representative from a year ago, heavyweight Josh Gallegos, went 2-1, but the two wins were by forfeit.
Appenzeller, Christian Knoll, Miguel Perez and Stocker Robbins also went 2-1, while Munroe was 1-2 and Plehinger 0-3.
Ignacio lost by five to Dove Creek and 17 to Pagosa Springs but closed strong with a 42-10 victory over BHS that included four pins.
In that dual, Robbins pinned Speece at 113 pounds, Appenzeller pinned Crawford at 126 pounds, Winch pinned Munroe at 132 pounds, McMenimen beat Plehinger 14-1 at 138 pounds, Peña pinned Roberts at 145 pounds, Mickey pinned Hodnett at 170 pounds, Knoll pinned Barnes at 195 pounds, and Gallegos won by forfeit.
“We were off to a pretty slow start, and I feel like we finished really hard,” Haga said. “The boys really pulled their head together to make that happen.”
Despite those results, Haga thought his team had improvements still to make. He wants them to commit and finish their moves and take care of their points.
“They need to discipline themselves to make that happen,” Haga said. “It was a great start to the year, though; that was a great tournament.”
IHS next will wrestle Thursday at home against Durango High School and Montezuma-Cortez, and both Bayfield and Ignacio will wrestle Saturday at the Dove Creek Tournament.