Fielding a team of five wrestlers for the Montrose Indian Invitational on Jan. 11, the Montezuma-Cortez High School wrestling team knew that odds would not be in their favor.
Undeterred by their scant numbers however, the Panthers wrestled well, placing three wrestlers in the top four while placing ninth overall as a team.
Leading the way for the Panthers as he has throughout the season was 170-pound junior Seager Oliver, who placed first overall and was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler for the upper weights.
Dominant from start to finish, Oliver won three of his four matches by pin, including a pin victory in the finals over Berthound High School's Chad Ellis.
“He went up there and spun through the kids,” said M-CHS head coach Shad Bellmire, discussing Oliver's performance.
Also performing well for the Panthers was junior Justice Ramos, who, after beginning the tournament with two pins, dropped a 10-5 decision to Pueblo West's Travis Myers in the 145-pound finals.
Rounding out the Panthers top four placers was freshman Josh Ramos, who wrestled his way to a fourth-place finish in the heavyweight division.
Other grapplers hitting the mat for Cortez included junior Levi Gross and sophomore Victor Perez, who both finished the tournament with a 2-2 overall record.
“We're definitely on the right track of where we need to be heading into regionals,” said Bellmire after his team's performance. “We need to polish up a few things though.”
Next up for the Panthers will be a home dual against Durango on Jan. 14 at 6:30 p.m.