Both the Durango and Bayfield High School wrestling teams had good performances at a loaded Warrior Classic field in Grand Junction on Friday and Saturday, as each team had one wrestler earn a podium spot.
Uintah of Utah won the tournament with 208.5 points, while Rocky Mountain took second with 195.5 and Grand Junction rounded out the top three with 167 points. Bayfield finished in 25th with 42 points, while Durango took 29th with 36 points. Here’s a closer look at the final weekend of wresting before Christmas break.
Bayfield’s John Foutz came close to securing another tournament title, but ultimately fell just short, after he lost in the championship match to Cody Ponce of Eagle Valley. In a matchup of On the Mat’s top two wrestlers in the Class 3A 220-pound weight class, it was top-ranked Ponce who edged Foutz in a close match, as he pinned the BHS senior with 43 seconds remaining in the final period to take the win. It was Foutz’s first loss all season, and he is now 14-1 on the year.
“It was a really good match for John, and while it stings right now, he’ll bounce back,” said BHS head coach Todd McMenimen. “I thought John was the better wrestler, but he got caught in a headlock late right towards the end of the third period. From a coaching standpoint, that doesn’t bother me at all. We learned a lot with what we can do against (Ponce) when it comes down to it later in the season.”
Other wrestlers who picked up points for the Wolverines were Paden Williamson, Deegan Barnes, Dylan Pickering and Kobe Prior.
Williamson went 1-2 in his season debut at 195 pounds, and beat Dominic Butts of Severance in 27 seconds in the third round of the consolation bracket. Barnes, a freshman, went an impressive 2-2 at 145, and pinned Daniel Gray of Olathe and Dante Gonzales of Alamosa for wins. Prior pinned Juan Solis of Rawlins in 58 seconds for his lone win, while Pickering pinned Jushua Mendoza of Denver East in 3:18 at 138 pounds, and scored a major decision of Dagan White of Moffat County.
“We knew this competition was going to be tough this weekend, and I think we learned a lot,” McMenimen said. “We needed to see that high level of competition because that’s what we’re going to see when we get to the state tournament. There were some guys that might not have scored for us, but were in really competitive matches. We’ll go back to the drawing board and hopefully we can get on the right end of those decision next time. Overall, it was a good test for us, and we’ll rest up and be ready for some big tests after the holidays.”
BHS will have two weeks off before hosting the La Plata County Championships on Saturday, Jan. 3 at Bayfield.
Durango High School
The Durango High School wrestling team only took six wrestlers to Grand Junction this weekend, but still learned a lot from its tight-knit unit. The Demons had five out of six wrestlers score at least three points, and had one placer in junior Tyler Woodworth, who took sixth at 160 pounds.
Woodworth went 4-3 overall and lost his quarterfinal match to Dahlance Smith of North Sevier out of Utah, but bounced back with two wins to reach the consolation semifinals. He lost in a sudden victory to Christian Haley of Grand Junction, and lost in the fifth-place match to Smith, this time in a 5-4 decision.
DHS assistant coach Josh Woodworth said while it was a small group, they each learned a lot from a competitive weekend.
“We came for the next level of competition, and we got what we wanted,” Woodworth said. “Now we know what it takes to get to the next level, and we have to keep our noses to the grindstone and keep getting stronger in the future. We had two guys make it to Saturday in Tyler and Austin Albrecht, but I thought the others had good performances, as well.”
Payson Albrecht recorded two wins at 138, as he pinned Jaquin Ianer of Montezuma-Cortez in 3:55, while he also won a 9-2 decision over Brayden Magallon of Norwood. Jacob Rowe won his opening match on Friday against Cade Uhrich of Severance in a 12-0 major decision. Sophomore Ben Belt won two matches, as he won a major decision over Dontea Pearce of Montrose, and pinned Zak Baumgartner of North Sevier in 1:36.
Austin Albrecht, a senior captain at 182 pounds, picked up 10 points for the Demons and went 3-1 before he was forced out of the tournament with a knee injury. He picked up wins via pin over Tyler Ziek of Grand Junction Central, in 39 seconds Matthew Marshall Jones of Battle Mountain in 57 second sand Brick Marsh of North Sevier in 2:13. He was forced to end the tournament early in the fourth round of the consolation bracket against Hunter Planansky of Hayden.
“Every bracket was loaded with talent, and I thought our guys fought hard today,” Woodworth said. “We came up, we got what we asked for and now we know what to work on.”
DHS will also compete at the La Plata County Championships Jan. 3 in Bayfield.