In a loaded field of sure-fire state championship contenders at the Mel Smith Husky Invitational in Florence on Saturday, Bayfield had two placers while Ignacio was shutout at the podium.
Lamar took home the team championship with 175 points, Pagosa Springs was second with 160 and Valley was third with 155.5. Bayfield took 20th with 57.5 points and Ignacio was 29th out of 30 teams with 15 points.
The Wolverines were led by John Foutz, who took third at the 220-pound weight class. Foutz, ranked No. 3 in the Class 3A 220 On the Mat rankings, pinned No. 1 Cody Ponce of Eagle Valley 37 seconds into the third period to claim bronze and improve to 24-3 on the season. The other placer came from Dylan Pickering who took fourth at 138 pounds. Pickering, ranked No. 5 at 3A 138, lost his third-place match to No. 2 Lucas Comroe of Eagle Valley, who he beat earlier in the day.
Foutz started the day with a pin over Manny Lucero of Centauri in his second-round match after receiving a first-round bye. In the quarterfinals, he pinned Eli Miramontes in 1:09 to advance to the semifinals. In the semifinals, he lost to Drew Book of Sterling with 21 seconds remaining in the second period. Book would go on to take the title in an 8-7 decision.
“When John wrestles the way he wants to wrestle and the way we want him to wrestle, there’s not a 220-pounder in the state that can keep up with him,” said BHS head coach Todd McMenimen. “He looks really tough to beat when he’s in that zone, and if he can stay out of a few tough match situations, he can go all the way. Drew Book is really quick on his feet and we have to change on how we approach it because he’s got a quick go-behind move. John will take the approach that we want him to take, I don’t think he can stay with him.”
In Pickering’s bracket, he dominated Comroe, who took third-place in last year’s 3A state tournament, in the quarterfinals on Saturday morning. Pickering got in a few early scores and dominated from start to finish, as he scored a technical fall right before the buzzer in a 25-9 win. In his semifinal bout against Dylan Tressler of Pagosa Springs, he was pinned 57 seconds into the first period. Pickering was unable to beat Comroe twice in one day, and lost in the third-place match.
“We saw so much confidence out of Dylan today.” McMenimen said. “He absolutely dominated Comroe in the quarters and wasn’t scared when he walked onto the mat to take on Tressler like he used to be. Without a doubt he belongs out there. He started to turn it on and is wrestling really well for us.”
For McMenimen and his staff, this part of the year is about getting the wrestlers to realize much like Pickering did, that they belong with the best.
“This really is the 3A state tournament for the most part,” said BHS head coach Todd Mcmenimen. “It’s a really tough competition and it showed today. The effort was there all weekend which I liked, and we had a handful of matches that we should’ve won. We have to realize that we in fact do belong here, because if we did, we would’ve had a few more kids reach the placing rounds.”
BHS will travel to Centauri on Thursday for an Intermountain League dual before traveling to Aztec for the Tiger Duals on Saturday.
The Ignacio High School wrestling team was unable to come away with any placers in Florence, but head coach Jordan Larsen said the Bobcats fought hard and put together strong performances.
“That’s a tough tournament,” Larsen said. “When I attended the draw for the brackets, there were multiple weights with multiple state champions. It was a loaded tournament and our guys did well I thought. Super happy with their performance and we’re looking to get back to the room and move on.”
Three Bobcats advanced to Saturday’s winner’s bracket, all of which were at 152 pounds or greater. Tyler Barnes had the best performance of the tournament for IHS, as he went 3-2, which included a win against Brian Hoerr of Cedaredge, a state qualifier from last season. Jeremy Roderick lost in the consolation bracket third round to Alexavier Vigil of La Junta to go 2-3 at the tournament. At 285, Randy Herrera saw a familiar opponent in Remi Lucero, whom he saw last weekend in the championship match at the Rocky Mountain Invitational in Pagosa Springs. On Saturday, he lost 7-0. He then lost a 5-3 decision in the third round of the consolation bracket to Ryan Metzger of La Junta.
“This was a good way to prepare for the next month,” Larsen said. “It’s a good mid-season bench mark, we’ll get some rest and will get after it before regionals.”
IHS will travel to the Paonia Invitational on Saturday.
While the BHS boys were battling to earn podium spots in Florence, the Bayfield and Durango High School female wrestlers came away with plenty of medals at the Battle of Hera Folkstyle tournament in Layton, Utah, just north of Salt Lake City.
Bayfield’s Shayden French won the 110-119-pound bracket, as she pinned Sabrina Jensen of the Norther Utah Girls Wrestling team in just 38 seconds to take the title. In the same bracket, BHS’ Lindsey LaMay took fourth, after she lost the third-place match to Isabelle Clements of Champions Wrestling Club five seconds before the second period expired. French and LaMay met in the semifinals, and French pinned LaMay in the first period. Brooke Morse also took fourth place at 138 pounds, as Amber Nalder of Fremont Wrestling Club won the third-place match over Morse in a 1-0 decision.
Durango High School’s three female wrestlers all got on the podium on Saturday. Angelica Reyes won the 112-117 weight class after she pinned Ani Deelstra of Fremont one second before the second-period buzzer sounded. Hailey Branch took fourth for DHS, as she lost her third-place match in a sudden victory to Brinlee Gines of Fremont. Anna Newman took third at 127 for the Demons, as she pinned Haylee Cope of Fremont in 27 seconds. Finally, Bridget Henry took fourth at 152, as she was pinned by BreAnn Nalder of Fremont early in the third period.