Montezuma-Cortez wrestlers top Durango, 37-27

Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017 11:49 AM
Durango High School’s Jordan Belt tries to turn Montezuma-Cortez’s Thorin Howell for a pin Thursday night at DHS. Belt earned a 16-1 technical fall, but Howell and the Panthers won the dual 37-27.

The Montezuma-Cortez High School wrestling team on Thursday defeated the Demons 37-27 in Durango.

The Panthers needed a quick start because they gave Durango a 12-point cushion with two more forfeited matches than the Demons had. The Panthers got that start with wins in their first four matches – including a 6-4 overtime win for Anthony Abeyta at 126 pounds – to build a 19-0 advantage.

Anthony Abeyta of Montezuma-Cortez High School scores against Durango High School’s Paul Smagacz on Thursday in Durango. Abeyta picked up a 6-4 overtime decision to help the Panthers to a 37-27 victory.
Shaun Stanley/For The Journal

“We’ve been having some good rivalries with Durango,” said Cortez head coach Shad Bellmire. “We wanted to come out with teeth showing and try to get some momentum and stay with the momentum. That was our whole game plan coming out. If we got on top, we just wanted to keep rolling and rolling.”

At 182 pounds, Kerwin Tom of Cortez scored a pin 20 seconds into the third period against Austin Albrecht. Teammate Swayde Noyes pinned Dominique Maestas in the 195-pound match.

M-CHS freshman Kael Buffington won by decision victory over Owen Eicher at 106 pounds, and 120-pounder Austin Featherman pinned Durango’s Jacob Rowe. Panther Wes Atcitty pinned Tony Romero at 132 pounds, and Ethan Root won by forfeit at 152 pounds.

Durango won by forfeit at 220 pounds. There were double forfeits in the 113 and 285 weight classes.

M-CHS takes a break before returning to the mats for tournaments in the new year. It was the second straight loss for the Demons, who were shut out 77-0 at home on Wednesday night by Pagosa Springs.

Ian MacLaren contributed to this report, writing for The Journal.