Opening its season at the Maverick Duals in Grand Junction on Dec. 1, the Montezuma-Cortez High School wrestling team faced tough competition and walked away with its fair share of victories.
Even so, Panthers head coach Shad Bellmire said that his team can be better and emphasized that his wrestlers will need to get more takedowns as the season progresses and they face increasingly tough competition.
“Overall, we’re trying to get back in the saddle and get in the role of things,” Bellmire said. “We’re trying to really emphasize the neutral position, so we didn’t get as many takedowns as we wanted to.”
Among M-CHS wrestlers who stood out for Bellmire was 160-pound senior Matthew Broughton, who won three of his four matches for which statistics were available. Sophomore Anthony Abeta also enjoyed success at 145 pounds, with four wins in four matches.
“Anthony (Abeta) goes hard, and he doesn’t give up,” Bellmire said. “He’s finally starting to put things together. “(Matthew) Broughton also wrestled tough and did well.”
Other grapplers for M-CHS included Kael Buffington, who finished 3-1 at 106-pounds, Jayven Valdez, who finished 2-2 at 113-pounds, Austin Featherman, who finished 2-2 at 126-pounds, and Shawn Higgins, who finished 2-2 at 138-pounds.
Ethan Root won two of his four matches at 152-pounds and drew praise from his coach, and Casen Allmon finished 1-3 at 170-pounds. Kerwin Tom finished 0-1 at 195-pounds, Swayde Noyes finished 1-3 at 220-pounds, and Devan Frost finished 0-2 at 285 pounds.
As a team, M-CHS emerged victorious in duals against Montrose and Meeker. The Panthers lost duals to Paonia, Cedaredge, and Grand Junction Central.
“We have a lot to improve on and we have to keep working,” Bellmire said. “We just need to keep grinding and we have to have more takedowns.”