Setting the gold standard

Photo courtesy of Becky Oliver

Ryan Daves wrestles Kodie Komives, of Delta, at last Saturday's Delta Panther Invitational. Daves pinned Komives in the first period on the way to a first-place medal at 138 pounds.

Journal Staff Report

Montezuma-Cortez High School's "big three" continue to excel on the wrestling mat.

Ryan Daves, Seager Oliver and Trenton Gustafson all upped their records to 5-0 at the Delta Panther Invitational last Saturday.

The trio went 9-0 in the tournament en route to first-place gold medals at Delta High School.

Daves, a senior, pinned Dallas Rohrig (Rifle), Tucker Schultz (Grand Valley) and Kodie Komives (Delta) at 138 pounds.

Oliver pinned Alejandro Talevera (Basalt) and Bryan Hegwood (Grand Valley), and won by technical fall over William Austin (Paonia) at 170.

Gutafson pinned Eric Steckel (Hotchkiss) and Tony Galaviz (Rifle), and won by decision over Rifle's Jamie Gomez at 182.

Panthers coach Eric Smith was pleased with the expected outcomes of his gold medalists.

"Ryan pinned all three kids relatively quickly. Seager, again, he looked tough. Same with Trenton, he just kind of had his way with the boys," Smith said.

Levi Gross pinned his way to the championship match at 126, but lost a tough 10-5 decision in the finals to Durango's Clay Dillon. Gross went 3-1 on the day and is 4-2 overall.

"Levi wrestled really well," said Smith about the sophomore. "He ended up losing to Clay Dillon of Durango, but he wrestled one of his best tournaments since I've had him here. He wrestled smart matches."

Victor Perez took fourth at 220 for M-CHS with a 3-2 tourney record. The freshman's three wins were all by fall.

"It was his first tournament at varsity. He improved as the day went on," said Smith about Perez.

Freshmen Celestino Fernandez and Parker Oliver each picked up wins at 106 and 120 pounds.

"At this point, they've definitely showed a lot of improvement over our first time (meet)," Smith said about his team. "We're really good with our conditioning. We're working on some technique now. I don't expect them to peak yet."

Defending 2A state champion Paonia won the Delta Invitational.

The Panthers will wrestle Friday and Saturday at the prestigious Grand Junction Central Warrior Classic on the campus of Colorado Mesa University.

"If they can go into this tournament and wrestle well, and even place, it's a good measuring stick to see where you're at in the state," Smith said. "All four classifications being there, you get some really tough kids there. You place here, it's a pretty good indication of where you're at."

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