Locals wrestle Sand Devil

Photo courtesy of Becky Oliver

Seager Oliver switches Jeremy McEachem, of Camp Verde (Ariz.), into a reversal Friday at the Sand Devil Invitational in Page, Ariz. Oliver eventually pinned McEachem on the way to a wrestling tourney title at 170 pounds for Montezuma-Cortez.

Journal Staff Report

Montezuma-Cortez High School claimed two wrestling tournament titles at the Sand Devil Invitational last Friday in Page, Ariz.

Ryan Daves remained undefeated at 138 pounds. The senior upped his record to 17-0 after four tourney wins. Daves claimed a first-place medal and the Outstanding Wrestler award.

Daves, who's ranked No. 1 in 4A by coloradopreps.com, pinned Arizona's Chad Edgmon (Winslow) and Eric Cassetta (Prescott).

However, Daves was greatly challenged by a Colorado wrestler. In the semifinals match, Daves took on Tyler Ebberts of Dove Creek. After a hard fought three rounds, Daves held on for a 5-3 decision.

"Tyler wrestled Ryan extremely well. He gave Ryan some troubles. I'm glad he got a good match from him," Panthers coach Eric Smith said. "He exposed Ryan to a few things he hasn't seen this year. We can now use that stuff to fix some things he needs to work on. But he rebounded well and had a really nice match in the finals there."

Daves indeed rebounded quite nicely in the finals against Michael Nelson. Daves recorded a 14-2 major decision over the Camp Verde (Ariz.) wrestler.

Seager Oliver won gold at 170 pounds.

The sophomore pinned Dolores' Kellen Gatzke and Jeremy McEachem of Camp Verde. Oliver scored a 9-3 decision over Adam Lucero (Aztec, N.M.) and took a 12-2 major decision in the finals against Kimball Levitt of Snow Canyon (St. George, Utah).

"Seager wrestled extremely well," Smith said. "That kid he beat from Aztec was a really good kid. He really dominated, and came out and set the tempo."

Trenton Gustafson placed second at 182 pounds.

The senior pinned Tanner Guernsey (Kanab, Utah) and Bayfield's Michael Goodman. Gustafson earned a tough 6-4 overtime decision in the semifinals against Nokoni Slivers (Snow Canyon). But Gustafson fell in the finals 10-4 to Austin Gaun from Flagstaff (Ariz.). Gaun is 39-1 on the season.

Justice Ramos went 4-2 at 145s, while Levi Gross recorded a 3-2 mark at 126. Celestino Fernandez and Tyler Hageman each grabbed wins at 106 and 152, respectively.

"Overall, I was pleased with the way the team wrestled," Smith said. "Justice got a few wins to help his confidence. Tyler Hageman got his first win. Levi Gross wrestled well. I thought we did well, which we need to do every week from here on out. We're not where, we need to be yet, but were getting there. The kids are improving on what we need. I was real pleased with that."

The Panthers will wrestle in a tri-meet Friday versus Palisade and Summit at Palisade High School beginning at 5 p.m. M-CHS then goes to Rifle's dual tournament Saturday morning at 8.

As a roster, the Panthers are currently shorthanded with injuries.

"Team wise, we're only traveling six or seven kids right now," Smith said. "I look more at individually, so it's a lot of good mat time for them. We'll take care of each kid individually."

On a scheduling note, the Panthers have secured a home dual with 2A Ignacio on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Dove Creek

The Dove Creek Bulldogs weren't able to fill a full roster due to some wrestlers out with injury and illness. But the Bulldogs had some strong individual performances.

Cole Baughman placed second at 132, while younger brother Case Baughman came in third at 113.

Tyson Smith was also a runner-up for Dove Creek at heavyweight.

"Tyson Smith had his best tourney of the year," Bulldogs coach Shane Baughman said.

Ebberts took fourth at 138, Nick Jones was fifth at 126 and Colin Hobbs came in sixth at 106.

Tommy Fury tallied a 3-2 tourney record at 152s.

"I'm pretty tickled for Tommy. It was his best tourney of the year," coach Baughman said.

It was a good experience for Shane Baughman's team. But there are still some improvements to be made.

"We really need to focus on our technique the next couple weeks," Shane Baughman said. "We're outclassed in a couple of those real tight matches. We need to work on that a little bit more. We're battled tested. We just need to work on the little things."

Dove Creek hosts Grand County (Moab, Utah) in a dual Wednesday night at 6.

The Bulldogs dual at defending 2A state champion Paonia on Friday at 4 p.m., before participating in Saturday morning's Paonia Screaming Eagle dual tournament.


Wyatt Wade, Ethen Upton and Deano Valdez all placed for the Dolores Bears.

Wade took third at 145, Upton finished fifth at 182 and Valdez was sixth at 152.

"It was a high caliber tournament," said Dolores coach Leo Garand about the 21-school tourney that was won by Camp Verde. "A real good effort by all the guys."

The Bears were scheduled to host New Mexico's Shiprock High School today, but that dual has been canceled.

Up next is two days of duals Friday and Saturday in Paonia.

"It's a good measuring stick for regionals and state," Garand said. "We're going to see the teams (in Paonia) we're wrestling for regionals and state."

Action begins Friday evening at 4.

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