BAYFIELD Classic and close oh so close.
The annual Wolverine Classic, with close matches and close team duals, featured the closest finish in its 11-year history this year.
By the narrowest of margins, in a three-way tiebreaker, Piedra Vista of Farmington edged Bayfield and Dove Creek on Saturday for the 2010 wrestling tournament title at the BHS gym.
Pagosa Springs, Montezuma-Cortez and Ignacio completed the six-team field for the day-long series of team duals.
Dove Creek, Bayfield and Piedra Vista each finished 4-1, setting up a three-way tie. The Bulldogs of Dove Creek were eliminated on the first level of tiebreakers, based on number of matches won.
Piedra Vista, by the miniscule difference of one single takedown, edged Bayfield in the next tiebreaker, winning the Wolverine Classic for the second consecutive year.
Overall, Im very pleased, Bayfield head coach Herb Stinson said after the ultraclose finish. I was a little upset with our kids there at the end. We had a chance to get it, but we started to fall off a little.
Stinson referenced the Wolverines final dual of the day against Dove Creek. A BHS win would have clinched the Wolverine Classic title.
But the upstart Bulldogs came from behind to sting the Wolverines 42-41, rescued by a pin in the final match.
I felt it coming after the Piedra Vista dual, Stinson said. We were so excited to beat them (Saturday morning).
The 43-31 victory over Piedra Vista, the No. 1-ranked Class 4A team in New Mexico, started the day for the Wolverines.
But I felt our energy dropped off considerably in the afternoon. Were still not in shape, but overall it was good, Stinson said. Last year, we were ... last or next-to-last. This year, we climbed up and gave ourselves a chance to win.
Stinson said the Wolverines had solid performances from wrestlers like Aaron Velasquez, Sonny Salazar and Tanner McGhehey.
Velasquez, wrestling up at 160 pounds instead of his usual 152, won all five of his matches, as did Salazar (112). Both are juniors.
McGhehey also went 5-0, including two late comeback decisions and a final exclamation-point pin. He was named one of the tournaments outstanding wrestlers.
After the first two matches, I just didnt have the energy ... thats why the next matches were so close, said McGhehey, a senior.
Im not really in as good of shape as some (wrestlers) because I just got back from football, he said. Once I get in (wrestling) shape, itll be better.
McGhehey managed a great late escape in his match against Piedra Vistas Devin Hower on Saturday morning, helping the Wolverines top the Panthers.
In the afternoon, McGhehey won perhaps the most dramatic match of the tournament. With the back-and-forth bout tied at 9-9, McGhehey executed a reversal against Ignacios Teagan Overturf with eight seconds left to win 11-9, sending the Bayfield fans into an absolute frenzy.
McGhehey concluded his day by pinning Austin Meyer of Dove Creek in a speedy 29 seconds.
I was really scared in the last match. I thought if this one goes long, Ill be really tired ... I wanted to get it done real quick, he said.
Ive always liked the way he wrestles, Stinson said of McGhehey. Hes a winner. And he beat some good kids here.
Stinson said he also saw some good matches from BHS wrestler Austin Shupe (119), Drake Rhodes (125), Ian Sandrey (130), Joe Zink (135), Michael Dupree (140) and Cameron Shablo (145).
I saw some things that could make us a pretty decent wrestling team before the seasons over, Stinson said.
Other top individual awards for the tournament went to Jhett Gomez of Piedra Vista, Ryan Davis of Montezuma-Cortez, Dakota Miller of Pagosa Springs, Chance Johnson of Dove Creek and unbeaten Casey Haga of Ignacio.
Haga, a senior and a three-time state-placer, won all five matches Saturday including three by pin and one by 21-8 decision.
Casey is in shape and on a mission, Ignacio head coach Bob Overturf said. He basically handled everybody.
Im feeling pretty good, the soft-spoken Haga said underneath his everpresent hoodie. Ive been working out quite a bit ... trying to get ready for the season.
Haga is 7-0 thus far in his senior season.
Ignacio teammate Colton Wyatt wrestled up at 215 pounds Saturday and had four pins and a win for the shorthanded Bobcats, who still are missing wrestlers because of eligibility issues.
Alex Peña, Ignacios two-time defending state champion, went 3-0 Saturday before sitting out the final two matches with a minor injury.
Alex looked good ... then he got a hurt a little, so we pulled him out, Overturf said.
The Ignacio coach added he was pleased with the progress of 103-pounder Antonio Torres.
In other tournament awards presented Saturday afternoon, Chris Edwards of Piedra Vista had the fastest pinfall of the tournament 14 seconds. Piedra Vistas unbeaten 125-pounder had four pins in a total of 4:59.
The 2010 Wolverine Classic Sportsmanship Award went to coach Dan Janowskyk and the Pagosa Springs Pirates.