Bayfield High School’s wrestling team went on the road and picked up a 39-27 win in an Intermountain League dual-meet Thursday at Monte Vista.
BHS went up 18-6 in a flash thanks to some early forfeit points from the Pirates at 170, 195 and 220 pounds.
Monte Vista answered with a second-period pin from Cole Hindes at 106 points and a 7-6 decision win at 113 pounds from Nathaniel Juarez to get within 18-15 before the Wolverines scored 15 consecutive points to pull away.
James Mars earned a second-period pin for BHS at 120 pounds, while Dylan Pickering secured a third-period pin at 126 for the Wolverines. Pickering’s win came against a ranked opponent, Nicholas Garcia, who had placed second at the Pagosa Springs tournament only weeks earlier.
“I was really pleased with the middle weights there,” BHS head coach Todd McMenimen said. “(Mars) kind of turned the tide for us and got it going, and then Pickering wrestled an outstanding match.”
McMenimen considered shuffling his lineup a bit and moving Pickering up a weight, but Pickering wanted to face Garcia, who he didn’t get to see in Pagosa.
“Pickering told me, ‘Coach, I really want to wrestle this guy. I need to find out where I stand with better wrestlers,’” McMenimen said. “He made that decision, and I’m proud of him for not running away from a tough guy to test himself and see where he’s at. He dominated, and it was an excellent match for him.”
Xander Dykes would later get a second-period pin of his own at 138 pounds, and the Wolverines led 36-21.
The Wolverines put the match away with an 11-5 decision win by Kobe Prior at 152 pounds to secure the victory.
“That was the best match we’ve seen Kobe wrestle all year,” McMenimen said. “I was pleased to see him go out with the aggression he had. It was non-stop action. He got himself in a little trouble late in the third period but knew when to bail on the move. His mat and match awareness was enough to know the score and when to bail at the right time. It was a good victory.”
Bayfield will look to bring a full roster to Ignacio’s Butch Melton Invitational on Saturday inside the Bobcats’ gymnasium. McMenimen hopes to see Pickering’s attitude be contagious to the rest of the team the final month of the season.
“Us three coaches, that’s what was ingrained into us was to never run away from tough matches,” he said. “You want to find the toughest guy in the room and say, ‘I’m going to take him on.’ That’s what (Pickering) did tonight. He’s proven something to himself that he can go out against high-ranked kids and be right there with them and beat them. That’s where you gotta be going into regionals and the state grind.”