Bayfield High School held its own against one of the most storied wrestling programs in Colorado.
Up against third-ranked and two-time defending Class 3A state champion Alamosa, the Wolverines went on the road Thursday night for the final 3A Intermountain League dual-meet of the season. While Alamosa claimed a 54-21 victory, BHS head coach Todd McMenimen was pleased with how his squad wrestled in the middle through upper weights.
“Alamosa is loaded, a powerhouse,” McMenimen said. “They’ve had that tradition of theirs for 30-plus years. Whether they’re 4A, 3A, it doesn’t matter. They’ve been a power. The matchups didn’t work in our favor, but their toughest kids are at the lower weights where we’re still pretty green. We gave them quite a few pins at those lower weights, but we came to wrestle. From 138 pounds to the upper weights, we held our own.”
Brandon Reveles got the night started for Alamosa at 120 pounds with a first-period pin of Keyton Cugnini. At 126, Hunter Anderson of Bayfield was pinned in the first period by Trevor Maestas. Colton Liddell, the second-ranked 132-pounder in Class 3A in the latest On the Mat rankings from Tim Yount, beat Xander Hovenstine of Bayfield with another first-period pin.
BHS would get on the board thanks to Dylan Pickering, who is ranked fourth at 138 pounds. The Bayfield boy beat Kodi Rockcastle with 16-0 technical fall in the second period.
Bayfield would get another win at 152, as Deegan Barnes earned an 8-3 decision with against Dante Gonzalez. Another BHS win would come at 160 pounds in a key match between Kobe Prior and Alamosa rival Brooks Anderson. Prior controlled the match and won 12-5.
“That’s the kid Kobe has to beat at regionals to qualify for state,” McMenimen said. “He handled him really well tonight. It wasn’t a real high score, but at no point in the match was Kobe not in control. That match and Pickering’s performance were real good for us.”
At 182 pounds, Shane Moore of Bayfield would get a second-period pin of Zeke Rangel.
“He was back at 182 from 170s. There are not too many 182 pounders as strong as he is,” McMenimen said of Moore. “He was able to manhandle his way in the match and wrestled real well.”
There would be no matches at 195 and 220 pounds. Austin Trujillo of Alamosa was unopposed at 195 pounds, and Bayfield’s second-ranked John Foutz did not have a match at 220.
At heavyweight, Zaq Bernal of Alamosa would beat Ethan Candelaria via pin. The night finished at the two lowest weights. Kyler Liddell, ranked second in the 106-pound weight class, beat Bayfield’s Jonathan Chapman with a first-period pin. Davion Chavez, a junior who won a state title as a freshman followed by a runner-up finish as a sophomore, then beat Bayfield’s Avery Mitzlaff with a pin at 113 pounds.
BHS will have to see many of the same Alamosa boys at regionals in Montrose Feb. 14-15.
“Regionals is where the season starts,” McMenimen said. “It’s all practice until regionals. It doesn’t matter if you are 52-0 or 1-40 going into regionals as long as you wrestle the way you need to at that point. We have work to do, but we’re pushing in the right direction. At regionals, we hope to open some eyes and punch guys through to state.”
Coach McMenimen is already getting a taste of state tournament action this weekend. He will coach Shayden French and Lindsay LaMay of Bayfield and Samantha Vasquez of Durango in the girls state championships Friday and Saturday in Thornton.