Team-wise, the results might not have been pretty, but individually, several members of the Montezuma-Cortez High School Panthers wrestling team opened their season with a bang.
Kicking off their year against Mancos on Dec. 5, Panthers wrestlers were dominant, consistently controlling less experienced opponents in a 36-24 dual-match victory.
Stepping up in competition later in the night against the Dove Creek Bulldogs, several Panthers wrestlers performed well, keeping their team close in what turned out to be a 25-20 loss.
Among the Panthers that performed especially well against the Bulldogs were juniors Seager Oliver and Justice Ramos, each of whom pinned their opponent in dominant fashion.
“Both Ramos and Oliver are wrestling extremely well,” said Panthers assistant coach Casey Lynn. “Both of those guys could go far this year.”
One day after competing against Mancos and Dove Creek, the Panthers travelled to Palisade on Dec. 6 to face off against the Palisade Bulldogs. Unfortunately for M-CHS, Palisade wrestlers proved tough to handle as the Panthers dropped their second consecutive dual.
Completing a busy weekend at the Maverick Duals in Grand Junction on Dec. 7, the Panthers recorded a 1-5 record, highlighted by a 42-6 victory over Rangely High School.
Panthers wrestlers who enjoyed a great deal of success at the Maverick Duals over the weekend included Oliver and Justice Ramos, each of whom completed the opening weekend with an 8-0 overall record.
Freshman Celistino Fernandez also performed well, registering a combined weekend record of 6-2.
Josh Ramos and Levi Gross also enjoyed success for the Panthers as each wrestler completed the weekend with a 5-3 record.
“Overall, we wrestled fairly well,” said Panthers’ head coach Shad Bellmire. “There are still areas where we need to improve, but team-wise, we’re off to a good start.”
Next up are dual matchups with Ignacio and Durango (Dec. 12), followed by the Grand Junction High School Duals on Dec. 14 in Grand Junction.