Champion at his weight from among 16 teams' representatives in Pagosa Springs two nights before, sophomore Stocker Robbins' unexpected absence Monday was a head-scratcher for a much smaller crowd in Cortez.
Should Ignacio sophomore Lorenzo Peña miss tomorrow's trip to Salida, however, everyone inside Montezuma-Cortez's Ron Wright Memorial Gymnasium was a witness as to why.
"A.C.L., M.C.L.," were head coach Cody Haga's fears for his 145-pounder's right knee, injured with 35 seconds left in the second period and rendering Peña unable to finish his San Juan Basin League dual match versus Mancos' Andrew Morgan. "Going to get an MRI right now, and they'll know more results tomorrow."
"I'm a little 'fired up' right now," he lamented, despite the Bobcats' 48-18 defeat of the Blue Jays. The Bobcats were led by senior 152-pounder Iaasic Pena-runner-up at PSHS' Rocky Mountain Invitational -pinning Cameron Fury in just 72 seconds to regain IHS an 18-12 advantage.
"I didn't get to see what happened," he said of what caused the crutches eventually brought out for his brother. "We bounced back and just put in more effort, I guess."
Senior Mike Perez then received a forfeit at 160, classmate Davey Cooper then followed with a pin of MHS' Austin Howerton in 78 ticks at 170, and fellow senior Blaine Mickey received a forfeit at 182 for an unapproachable 36-12 lead.
Senior heavyweight Josh Gallegos, senior 106-pounder Wyatt Mickas and 138-pounder Ethan Appenzeller (second at the RMI to Aztec's Austin Littlefield) also received free 6-point wins. Junior 132-pounder Tyler Beebe pinned Nick Valdez in 1:22 in the dual's only other pairing.
Action against 3A M-CHS, each lineup showing five vacancies, was often slow in developing but each match-after the younger Peña had pinned Panther Briggs Durbin to tie the non-league clash's score at 9-9-had an exciting finish. Unfortunately no other 'Cat, except an unopposed Cooper, would have his hand raised in victory.
Panthers Justice Ramos (at 1:12 of the third period), Andrew Finch (1:00, p3), Seager Oliver (1:02, p3), Victor Perez (1:27, p2) and Colton Reynolds (0:28, p2) all prevailed by pin-of, respectively, Iaasic Pena at 152, Perez at 160, Mickey at 182, Gallegos at heavyweight and Mickas at 106-to punctuate a 39-15 win.
Appenzeller's early 4-2 defeat of Josh Ramos, right after Beebe fell 9-2 to Levi Gross and Panther Dakota Tycksen had begun the scoring [neither team sent a wrestler out at 120] with a forfeit win at 126, accounted for Ignacio's other three team points.
"I think we just weren't prepared, weren't ready," Peña said. "In my opinion we came out kind of flat and slow.but we're just going to have to take it back to 'The Room' and work from there!"
"We were a little slow," agreed Haga. "After a good day of wrestling [in Pagosa] Saturday I would say.there's room for improvement. And the season's young; that's what it boils down to."
Competition at the Rob Mickel is set to start at 8 a.m.
"All the boys will be wrestling this weekend as long as they're healthy," Haga said optimistically. "And it should be a good weekend. Saturday's going to be a good tournament at Salida, and I'm looking forward to it."
NOTES FROM PAGOSA: After beginning the RMI pinning teammate Alex Lopez, Gallegos lost to Aztec's Justin Slavey but bounced back with three wins to save fifth place (Lopez ended 0-2). Iaasic Peña faced teammate Perez in the winners' bracket quarterfinals, won by a third-period pin, and went on to post a 2-1 meet mark (Perez did not place after finishing 1-2). Mickey went 2-1 and took third at 182.
Appenzeller (2-1) had to defeat teammate Dalton Mickey en route to reaching the finale; the younger Mickey finished 2-3 and took eighth at 138. Lorenzo Peña finished the meet 2-2 and fourth at 145, Beebe was 2-2 and sixth at 132, and Cooper went an eighth-place 2-3 at 170. Mickas went 0-2 at 106.