BAYFIELD – While the gap in Class 3A Intermountain League wrestling might be closing, there is little doubt Pagosa Springs is still one of the teams to beat.
The Pirates went on the road and recorded eight victories via pin against Bayfield High School en route to a 66-9 win on the home mat of the Wolverines on Thursday night in front of a packed crowd at BHS.
The Wolverines picked up one win via forfeit, and senior John Foutz controlled his match at 220 pounds for the other victory of the night. Otherwise, the momentum was with the Pirates all night in the first team dual-meet of the IML season.
“It’s a good start coming off of the break, and some of those matches were closer than the score indicated,” said Pagosa Springs head coach Dan Janowsky. “When you wrestle dual meets, that final score can be deceiving, but our guys wrestled hard. So did Bayfield, and, hopefully, we can build upon it this weekend.”
The most-anticipated bout of the night came at 220, where two top-five wrestlers in 3A met. Foutz, the No. 3 wrestler according to the latest On The Mat rankings from Tim Yount, took on Pagosa’s Skyler Hill, who was ranked fourth. Foutz controlled the match from start to finish and won decisively, 7-0. Still, the Wolverines trailed 27-3 after that match. Foutz is looking forward to more competition at this week’s big tournament held in Pagosa Springs.
“I don’t really go in with a game plan, I just go in with a mindset,” Foutz said. “My mindset is, ‘I’m going to win no matter what the cost is.’ I thought I wrestled pretty well and am looking forward to Pagosa this weekend.”
After Foutz picked up the win, BHS was unable to sustain momentum and could not capitalize after the upper weights wrapped up.
Cameron Lucero got the Pirates on the scoreboard after he pinned Kobe Prior 1 minute, 24 seconds into the second period in their 160-pound matchup.
In the closest contest of the night, Pagosa’s Dustin Clark pulled off a two-point takedown at the buzzer of an overtime period to earn a 12-10 decision against Shane Moore at 170 pounds.
Moore said it was a tough loss because he thought he had the match won a few seconds earlier.
“I had to wrestle through overtime, and it felt pretty even the whole way through,” Moore said. “I got tired at the end, a little bit lazy and was taken down, if I’m being completely honest. I will take a lot from that loss, and it gives me a chance to come back and be a stronger opponent.”
Paden Williamson of Bayfield had a close call that did not go his way at 195 pounds. He was in prime position to score a pin against Kaden McKee in the first period, but McKee escaped and survived. McKee would not let his chance slip and pinned Williamson 48 seconds into the third period.
In the lower weights, Bayfield managed to cut the deficit to 27-9 when Caden Krueger scored the forfeit win at 106 pounds. BHS’ Avery Mitzlaf was pinned at 113 by Trevor Torrez.
At 120, Bayfield’s Shayden French lost by a 15-0 technical fall against Chandler Mazur.
Even after the loss, French has plenty to look forward to, as she and her fellow female wrestlers, Brooke Morse and Lindsey LaMay, will travel to Douglas County for their first all-female tournament of the season Saturday.
“Tonight, I got caught in a lot of wrist locks, but coach (Todd) McMenimen and I talked about it after the match,” French said. “Looking ahead, I’m pretty excited for that because most of the girls I’ve seen wrestle, I am able to predict a lot of their body movement. I’m looking forward to getting good competition in.”
The Pirates were able to close out the match with pins from Erik Wyman, EJ Monterosso, Hunter Anderson, Brae Bergdolt and Tay Barker along with a 13-2 major decision victory scored by Dylan Tressler at 138 pounds against Bayfield’s Dylan Pickering.
FMcMenimen said he has seen strides in the last two seasons in league action for his team and believes the Wolverines can start to tip the league scale in their favor.
“We were in every match that we wrestled,” McMenimen said. “Our motto last year was, ‘Building tradition from the mat up,’ and these guys are on the ground floor and are the foundation of what we are trying to build. From last year to this year, we’ve made huge strides and we just have to keep building on it.”
McMenimen will be with the three female BHS wrestlers along with Durango’s trio of girls for the Tiara Challenge, while his assistants will be with the boys in Pagosa Springs for the Rocky Mountain Invitational.