The Montezuma-Cortez wrestling team wasted little time jumping back into action following the holiday break.
On Wednesday, after their first day of school in 2017, the Panthers hosted the San Juan Broncos for a dual, hoping to kick off some of the rust lingering after holiday practice restrictions.
Swayde Noyes, Briggs Durban and Matthew Broughton each won by pin in early exhibition matches, while Casen Allmon fell by pin. And then in dual action, the Panthers won in four of the seven competing weight classes to win as a team, 23-16.
At 106 pounds, sophomore Shawn Higgins got M-CHS off on the right foot with a commanding 17-0 tech fall win in the evening’s first official match. And then Stevie Fuentes kept the momentum going with a win by fall in the third period, and Quade Oliver won by forfeit to give the Panthers an early 17-0 lead.
At 138, Yakesin Tso got the Broncos on the board by defeating Ethan Root 12-0 in three periods of action. Then at 145 pounds, M-CHS senior Josh Ramos came up with the Panthers’ final win of the night, handling his business just inside the first period with a pin with two seconds left on the scoreboard.
Grange Simpson and Coleman Black finished the last two matches with pins for San Juan over Durbin and Noyes, respectively. But the Panthers had tallied enough points by that time to hold on to win the dual 23-16.
“There were quite a few guys that did well,” said M-CHS head coach Shad Bellmire. “Josh and Matt wrestled tough, Stevie came out and impressed us because he’s starting to do some takedowns now. And that’s what we’re trying to emphasize to these kids: We’re working stuff in the room, now start working it in the match.”
Bellmire and the Panthers are jumping headfirst back into action, hoping to make a push into the regional tournament.
After Wednesday’s win over San Juan, they traveled to Bayfield for a dual on Thursday, although results were not available at the time of printing.
They’ll continue to put in work this weekend with some grapplers competing in a tournament in Montrose and others in Cedaredge.
“We’ve got to get ready for regionals and get to state,” Bellmire explained. “They should’ve kept in shape over the break, and they know that even if they weren’t in the room. It’s time to get after it, we’ve got to get going and get matches. Mat time, mat time, mat time.”