Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
In practice, they call it drilling.
Tuesday night, they called it a state record.
At 152 pounds, Durango High School wrestler Nick Tarpley scored 18 takedowns on Aztec’s Justis Francisco to win by decision and break the standing record of 15 set by James O’Leary of Ponderosa in 1997-98.
“I’d like to see a pin,” DHS head coach Doug Cuddie said with a grin. “But 19-0 for him. I’m never going to complain about a win.”
Tarpley, a junior, declined to comment.
Even Tarpley’s final-match record wasn’t enough, however, to lift the Demons over the Tigers; Durango lost 40-25. Cuddie said he doesn’t like to lose, “but our guys battled.”
The Demons avenged two losses from their weekend tournament at Pagosa Springs, first when Demetre Cullison pinned Orien Israel at 182 pounds.
“That was huge for him,” Cuddie said of the first-year wrestler. “Left no doubt he was better.”
Fifty-one seconds doesn’t leave much room for doubt. It was Durango’s fastest pin of the night.
“I’ve been thinking about it all day,” said Cullison, a senior. “Setting it up in my head. It feels good to actually get some revenge.”
At the whistle, Cullison threw a headlock on Israel – the same move he’d put on the Tiger during the Rumble in the Rocky Mountain Shootout, missing the pin when time expired.
“Plan from the get-go was the headlock,” said Cullison, son of Wendy and William O’Neal. “He won last time by points, and this time I wasn’t going to have it.”
Neither was Mathew Lavengood at 113. He pinned Vincent Molina with 29 seconds remaining in the first period.
“We took a step forward,” Cuddie said.
Cuddie also gave a nod to Hunter Hall, who got the Demons’ other win of the evening in a grind-out match.
Under the single overhead light in the DHS auxiliary gym, Hall gave up the first points of the match on a first-period takedown. He retook the lead with an escape and follow-up takedown, but Jesse Ridgley evened the scored when Hall was called for an illegal hold.
Hall didn’t relent. He built a lead over the final two periods and finished it with a near fall for a 10-5 win.
“We need more experience, and this is how we get it,” Cuddie said.