One day after a less-than-satisfactory performance from the Bayfield High School wrestling team in a dual loss to Aztec, the Wolverines bounced back to claim its second consecutive Dove Creek Dawg Fight team championship on Saturday.
The Wolverines edged Durango High School for the title, as the Wolverines wound up with 152.5 points, while the Demons recorded 132. Del Norte took third with 77.5 and Dove Creek was fourth with 56. Ignacio High School took fifth with 54 points.
BHS had four wrestlers claim titles in their respective weight class, as Shayden French won at 120 pounds, Dylan Pickering won at 138, Kobe Prior claimed the crown at 170 and John Foutz earned another title at 220.
BHS head coach Todd McMenimen said he wanted the Wolverines to respond after a sub-par showing on Friday, and they did.
“We battled all day long with Durango and when we looked at the matchups, we knew it was going to be tough,” McMenimen said. “We talked with the kids and let them know that the bonus points were going to be extremely important. After winning the title last year, we wanted to defend the championship, and the kids responded from top to bottom. We looked like a completely different team from last night.”
Foutz went a perfect 5-0 on the day with all five wins coming via pin, but Prior, a sophomore, had an equally special afternoon, as he claimed his first-ever tournament title. He was able to pin Anthony Balderas of Del Norte in 2 minutes, 20 seconds to take home the crown. Pickering won his title by way of a technical fall, as he improved to 9-1 on the season. At 120 pounds, French went 3-0 as she pinned teammate Lindsey LaMay in 2:28 in her opening match, and then beat Durango High School’s Preston Sellers in a 10-9 decision for her first tournament win.
“The way all four won, it was awesome to see,” McMenimen said. “We got contributions all the way up and down the lineup, they all scored big wins for us and I was just really pleased with the way they bounced back after last night.”
Bayfield will compete at the Warrior Classic in Grand Junction, which begins on Friday.
While the Wolverines took home the team championship, the Demons had several placers on the day, and also had five winners on the afternoon.
Durango’s winners came from freshman Beau Brunson at 113 pounds, Jacob Rowe at 145, Tyler Woodworth at 160, Austin Albrecht at 182 and Eli Russel at 285 won via two forfeits. Brunson pinned Bayfield sophomore Avery Mitzlaff in 2:44 for his first tournament title.
Rowe competed in arguably the match of the day, as he and Bayfield’s Deegan Barnes had a fantastic first-place match. Each wrestler got out of two would-be pins in the final minute, but Rowe got the better of his opponent and pinned Barnes in 4:53.
Durango head coach Robert Finneseth took a lot away from the performance, and said that while the Demons fought hard, there is still more work to be done.
“I was really happy with the effort of the kids,” Finneseth said. “We’re still in that transition phase of doing the things that I’m asking them to do and applying that in the match. Yes, it’s good for the winners, but I can’t allow us to focus on victories when I’m trying to get them to apply different things that we are working on in practice. There were lots of good little moments, but at the same time, we’ve got work to do on Monday.”
Woodworth got a win over Ignacio’s Tyler Barnes at 160 after he pinned him in 5:52, while Albrecht, who is undefeated at 11-0, pinned BHS’ Shane Moore in 4:55.
The Demons will also have four days to prepare before heading off to Grand Junction for the Warrior Classic on Friday.
The Ignacio High School wrestling team also had a strong performance in Dove Creek, as the Bobcats had one winner on the day and had four placers for a strong fifth-place finish overall.
The Bobcats’ had one wrestler stand on top of the podium at the end of the day, as Keaton McKoy went 5-0 and pinned Chris McGrath of Durango in 1:19 the final round to win. Dante Sandman took second at 132, and after a first-round loss to eventual winner Caden Baker of Dove Creek, Sandman finished strong and pinned his final four opponents. Tyler Barnes also took second at 160, with his lone loss coming to Albrecht. Jeremy Roderick took sixth at 220, but was pinned in all five matches.
IHS head coach Jordan Larsen was proud of the way the Bobcats fought all day.
“The results kind of speak for themselves,” Larsen said. “Keaton McCoy had a good day and won all five of his matches, and it’s a confidence booster for sure. Donte had another strong day, and I’m super proud of the kid. He’s starting to figure things out. Tyler Barnes had a good first tournament of the season, Jeremy had a tough day, but you’ve gotta remember, he’s a sophomore competing against a lot of upperclassmen, so I think he’ll figure it out, too. We scored a fair number of points and lacked a bit of experience and skills, but I still think the boys have a great attitude, and I like where we are at.”
The Bobcats will host a San Juan Basin League triangular against Dolores and Del Norte at 6 p.m. Thursday.