They only got one shot at it, and the Demons made the most of it.
The Durango High School wrestling team defeated Montezuma-Cortez High School 60-16 on Tuesday in its only home match of the season.
DHS benefitted from eight Cortez forfeits in the contest.
Tristan Martinez (106 pounds), Devon Pound (113), Matthew Lavengood (120), Joe Crawford (138), Dillon Anthony (152), Henry Dorr (160), Kyle Duran (170) and Mark Anthony Trujillo (220) all won by forfeit.
Cortez brought in On the Mat’s No. 1-ranked 170-pound wrestler in Seager Oliver, and he wrestled up to 182 pounds to face the Demons’ Patrick Cunnion.
Oliver held an 8-0 lead in the second period and won the match 10-0.
“He got to know which level the No. 1 in the state is at, what level he can work toward,” DHS head coach John Gurule said of Cunnion. “It lets Patrick realize where he can be in the future.”
It was Durango’s turn to have someone wrestle up when it came to the 285-pound match.
Daniel Gustavson moved up from 220 pounds to wrestle Victor Perez.
Gustavson escaped a near pin at the end of the first period, leaving the match tied at four. He pinned Perez with 1 minute, 37 seconds remaining in the second period.
“He almost had 30 pounds on me,” said Gustavson, son of Catherine and Dan Gustavson. “I had to get in there and dictate the pace of the match, be quicker and more explosive.”
DHS scored another pin victory at 126 pounds when Hunter Hall took down Josh Ramos with 15 seconds left in the match. Hall held a 15-4 lead after the second period and controlled most of the match.
“I was really excited for the home meet,” said Hall, son of Laura and Randy Hall. “The crowd got me going. I knew from the start that I had that guy beat.”
The Panthers scored two pins, as well.
Levi Gross took down Cole Gustavson at 132 pounds with 1:28 remaining in the third quarter, while Justice Ramos pinned Diego Martinez with 1:08 left in the second period of the 145-pound match.
Both teams left the 195-pound weight class open.
“When you don’t have that many matches you can mentally get down a little bit, but the boys came out focused,” Gurule said. “In the matches that we did have, the boys came out focused, and I’m proud of them.”
Gurule organized an alumni event before the match to celebrate previous DHS wrestlers and their accomplishments; Demons from as far back as 1957 attended.
“I came into the program as an outsider, and I thought it was important to see where the program was coming from,” Gurule said. “Durango has a rich history, and I thought it was important to recognize that.”
DHS next will wrestle this weekend at the Payson Invitational in Payson, Ariz., a round-robin tournament where the Demons could compete in 10 matches.
“They’ll get a lot of mat time this weekend, which will help us prepare for regionals and eventually state,” Gurule said.