A thorn in the Wolverines’ side

Steve Lewis/Durango Herald

Bayfield heavyweight Matt Eckstein improved his record to 24-6 this season with a second-period pin of Brandon Ratcliffe of Alamosa on Thursday night at the BHS gym.

By Dale Strode Herald staff writer


R oses, roses, and more roses turned the Bayfield gym into a rose garden on Parents Appreciation Night.

There were roses for the wrestlers’ moms and dads, even roses for the coaches’ wives.

But when the wrestling matches started, the Wolverines discovered that every rose has its thorn – No. 3-ranked Alamosa stuck Bayfield 57-15 in an Intermountain League dual Thursday night at the BHS gym.

The Wolverines’ points came on a second-period pin by heavyweight Matt Eckstein and a comeback 8-4 decision by 145-pounder Joe Zink.

“It was ... a matter of just stay tough,” Zink said after he fell behind Dillon Bance of Alamosa 4-2 in the second period of their match, scoring with just 14 seconds left in the period.

The late reversal got him back in the match.

In the third period, Zink patiently worked for a favored move.

“When I got that wrist to tilt, I thought I’d better hang onto the wrist.”

He did.

Three points for a near fall on the tilt, a maneuver that uses the wrist and opponent’s arm for leverage to force the opponent’s shoulders to the mat.

“Those were the points I needed,” Zink said.

Three more points for another near fall for the final margin of victory.

“Coach told us to come in with a no-fear attitude,” said Zink, son of Faith and Pat Zink, two BHS senior parents who earned their roses Thursday night.

The Wolverines and their fans celebrated again when Eckstein took on Brandon Ratcliffe of Alamosa in the final match of the dual.

At the end of a scoreless first period with the two heavyweights hand-fighting on their feet, Eckstein executed a single-leg takedown for a 2-0 lead.

Early in the second period, he turned Ratcliffe over with a half-nelson.

The pin came 45 seconds into the period, elevating Eckstein’s season record to 24-6.

“Last year, I was much more of a thrower,” Eckstein said. “This year, people are actually taking shots on me, and I have to be able to get out from under them.”

He set up his first-period takedown when he jumped away from a takedown shot by Ratcliffe.

Eckstein, son of Jeff and Ute Eckstein, said he and the BHS coaches have been working on evasive moves such as the ones he used Thursday night.

“I thought our guys wrestled hard,” Bayfield head coach Todd McMenimen said.

“I was pleased with the way Allec (Rodriguez) and Drake (Rhodes) wrestled. Those are matches we can win at regionals,” McMenimen said after Rodriguez lost a 15-0 decision to Kole Kelley (132 pounds) and Rhodes a tense 9-5 decision to Brandon Heredia of the Mean Moose (138).

In other Thursday matches:

Neff Malouff of Alamosa beat Tyler Beebe 17-0 at 120 pounds.

Nate Henry of Alamosa scored a 16-0 technical decision over Ian Hermanns (152).

Chris Aguirre of Alamosa pinned James Young in 37 seconds (170).

Gunnar Robinson of Alamosa pinned Michael Goodman in 38 seconds.

Nick Jones of Alamosa pinned Dom Brittain in 20 seconds.

Pablo Villareal scored a 14-1 win over Matt Cerdas.

It doesn’t get any easier for BHS: It will host No. 1 Centauri at 2 p.m. today in a makeup dual.

dstrode@ durangoherald.com

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