Bluejay grapplers continue to improve

Archuletta, Strazza-Whalen, place at Norwood Invitational

Everrett Strazza-Whalen finds himself in trouble on the way to being pinned by B. Mickey of Ignacio. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Everrett Strazza-Whalen finds himself in trouble on the way to being pinned by B. Mickey of Ignacio.

While their win/loss records remain ugly, the overall progression of Mancos High School's wrestlers has been striking.

Entering the season with next to no experience, several Bluejays' wrestlers, led by fiery first year head coach Grant Hobbs, have made great strides.

Now, with two weeks remaining in the season, several team members appear primed for success.

Bluejays compete in San Juan Basin League tournament

Kicking off last week's competition at the San Juan Basin League Tournament in Dove Creek on Feb. 6, several Bluejays performed well against tough competition.

Leading the way for the Bluejays was 145-pound sophomore Andrew Morgan, who, competing hard, won his opening match of the tournament.

Also competing for the Bluejays were 113-pound sophomore Rudy Archuleta, 170-pound sophomore Everett Strazza-Whalen and 160-pound freshman Austin Howerton.

"Overall, I thought we did pretty good," said Archuleta. "We got some wins and we did a lot of good things."

As a team, the Bluejays finished fifth in the six-team tournament ahead of Nucla and behind tournament winner Norwood.

Bluejays place two on podium at Norwood Invitational

Continuing their week at the Norwood Invitational on Feb. 8, the Bluejays performed as well as they have all season, winning seven of their 14 individual matches on the day.

Leading the way for Mancos was Archuleta, who, battling throughout the day, finished third in his weight division.

Also performing well for the Bluejays was Strazza-Whalen, who grappled his way to a fourth place finish.

"We're gaining experience every week," said Strazza-Whalen.

Morgan and Howerton and Morgan also performed well, each winning one match on the day.

Next on the schedule for the Bluejays is the 1A/2A Regional Tournament, which will take place Feb. 14-15 in Grand Junction.

"We're peaking at the right time," said Morgan. "It would mean a lot to get somebody to the state tournament and it would open eyes about Mancos wrestling."

Rudy Archuleta has Dolores wrestler Richard Martinez in trouble, but Martinez was able to win the match 15-7. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Rudy Archuleta has Dolores wrestler Richard Martinez in trouble, but Martinez was able to win the match 15-7.

Sam Green/Cortez  Journal

Mancos wrestler Andrew Morgan pins Will Bartley from Dove Creek. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal Mancos wrestler Andrew Morgan pins Will Bartley from Dove Creek.