Possibly the best quote at last Thursday's 2A San Juan Basin League Duals didn't come from any individual champion or coach; it came from a referee.
Addressing a parent and volunteer volunteer after all was said and done, he said, "The more mothers we have in wrestling, the more wrestlers we'll have!"
If it seemed to him as though the tournament inside Nucla High School's gymnasium went faster than expected, that's because it probably did. With only two wrestlers entered at 182 pounds or above, and with just one weight contested by all four crews (due to extremely low numbers, Dove Creek did not attend), it took barely two hours to decide the league's top team.
Filling 10 of the 14 available weights, the Norwood-Nucla co-op went 3-0 to earn the duals' championship, including a 42-24 win over second-place Ignacio in the final round.
IHS, meanwhile, doubled up both Dolores (36-18) and Mancos (30-15) with seven grapplers competing. Leading the way with three pins in as many matches was Stocker Robbins, the SJBL champ at 132 pounds.
Noting a pre-meet goal of pinning each foe in a minute or less, Robbins met his expectations by sticking Josh Petrow of Dolores in 32 seconds, then Andrew Ruatti of Mancos in 0:44. Norwood entrant James Franklin, however, had to have impressed himself by enduring against the Bobcat senior until 1:14 had elapsed in the third period.
Ignacio senior Ethan Appenzeller picked up a forfeit win at 145 against Mancos, but pinned Dolores' David Schmittel in 0:58 and Norwood-Nucla's Austin Overholt in 1:19 to clinch the team's second individual title. Knowing he'd have forfeit wins against Norwood-Nucla and Dolores, senior 160-pounder Lorenzo Peña needed only to defeat Kaleb Hargraves of Mancos, which he did by pin 35 seconds into the second period.
138-pounder Dustin Sanchez drew additional praise from head coach Jordan Larsen after rallying himself to pin Norwood-Nucla's Michael Pfifer with only three seconds left in the second period, atoning for a 4-2 loss to Mancos' Breccen Morelli after initially receiving a forfeit against Dolores.
Senior Dalton Mickey went 2-1 at 152 pounds, but lost his only match to Norwood-Nucla star Hayden Harris by pin in 1:10. Cesar Pedregon went 1-2 at 170, picking up a forfeit versus DHS, and Hunter Robbins went 1-2 at 113. Injured while pinned by DHS' Zander Eichner, the younger Robbins was unable to face Norwood-Nucla's Hunter Wilson after receiving a forfeit against MHS.
Up next, the 'Cats will travel to the 2A-Region I Championships, to be held Friday and Saturday Colorado Mesa University's Brownson Arena in Grand Junction.
The top four in each weight qualify for the Class 2A state championships, Feb. 16-18, inside Pepsi Center in Denver.