Despite some nasty weather, the Montezuma-Cortez wrestling team was still able to make the trip to Grand Junction last weekend for the Warrior Classic at Grand Junction Central High School.
With 41 teams and strict competition, M-CHS head coach Shad Bellmire said it was a good tournament for his wrestlers to grow from.
“The Warrior checks the small things that maybe you’re not hitting as well,” he said. “That’s what happened. The kids wrestled tough, but there’s just some little details that I just didn’t polish up as much on. We’ve just got to look forward to regionals and take those small things that we need to polish on and get ready.”
Shawn Higgins led the Panthers with a 4-2 finish at 106 pounds. And then Matthew Broughton, Josh Ramos and Swayde Noyes each went 3-2 on the day, and Stevie Fuentes, Ethan Root and Briggs Durban all finished at 2-2.
With the holiday break, the Panthers are now off until their home dual against San Juan on Wednesday, Jan. 4.
But Bellmire said that his squad will still need to put in the work over the break to be prepared for the second half of the season.
“We’ll practice whenever the rules allow,” he said. “But we need to definitely not fall asleep at the wheel, because we’ve got Blanding right when we get back, the Montrose tournament which will be tough, and as far as shape, if we don’t come in, we’ll lose it.”
With freshman Cade Curtis still battling illness, junior Derek Kibel was once again the lone Dove Creek wrestler competing last weekend.
Suiting up at 152 pounds at the Pete and Ina Gomez Invitational at John Mall High School in Walsenberg, Kibel finished with a 4-1 record.
He had wrestled back and was slated to challenge John Mall’s Trystan Estrada for third place, but CHSAA regulations only allow for wrestlers to compete in five matches per day, so he would be forced to hang it up at 4-1.
“He wrestled really well,” said head coach Eric Stiasny. “We were very happy with the way he wrestled, especially being up (at 152) still.”
Stiasny said that he expects both Kibel and Curtis to drop a weight class upon returning in January. The Bulldogs will kick things off in 2017 at the Tournament of Champions in Vernal, Utah on Friday, Jan. 6.
The Mancos Blue Jays spent their last weekend before the break at the Panther Classic at Piedra Vista High School in Farmington, New Mexico.
With just four wrestlers, the Jays dropped duals against Pojoaque, Los Alamos, Kirtland, St. Michaels and Monument Valley. But they had individual success.
Senior Richard Martinez stayed undefeated on the year by going 5-0 and Kaleb Hargraves finished the day 3-2. Then both Andrew Ruatti and Cameron Fury were 1-4 in their matches.
The Blue Jays return from the break at the Pagosa Springs Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 7.
The Dolores Bears joined Mancos at the Panther Classic on Saturday. But prior to that, they hosted Ignacio on Tuesday.
Cameron Chavez, Tezman Hackney and Austin Hackney each picked up forfeit wins over the Bobcats, and then Zander Eichner and David Schmittel came away with wins by fall. But after finishing the match tied at 30, the visiting Bobcats won the tiebreaker to take the dual.
Competing in Farmington on Saturday, the Bears had similar results to the Blue Jays.
They won just one dual, against St. Michaels, and fell to Grand County, Piedra Vista, Pojoaque and Grants.
But Austin Hackney and Logan Fuller each piled up four wins on the day, going 4-1 individually.
David Schmittel and Tezman Hackney each finished 3-2 for Dolores, and then Zander Eichner, Josh Petrow and Aiden Hopcia were 2-3.
Dolores will meet up with Mancos again in their first action in 2017 at the Pagosa Springs Invitiational.