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by David Tesitor

Walsenburg- Last Saturday, Dec. 15th, twelve schools came to town to participate in the JMHS Invitational Wrestling Tournament.  Delores Huerta Prep (DHP), of Pueblo captured the team scoring title with 215 points, sending most of their wrestlers to the placement rounds.  The Panther wrestlers had their best showing by far this season, sending 8 grapplers to the matches.  Five wrestled their way into the championship round.

    Clayton Archuleta of JMHS pinned Angelo Gitano of Trinidad in 51 seconds to capture the 130 pound title and heavyweight Bryan Crespin, for the second week in a row, became champion in the 285 pound class by defeating Billy Gray of Crowley County in a hard fought 6-5 decision.  Crespin has been on fire since the Fowler Tournament earlier this season, going undefeated.  Those Panthers who finished second include Waylon Cordova at 112 pounds  who lost to Garrison Ortiz of DHP in a 14-0 decision;  Justin Pacheco at 119 pounds lost to Carlos Valverde (DHP) in a 12-4 decision and Jonathan Aguirre, 140 pounds, lost in a rigorously fought decision 8-6 to Zach Goldsberry of Las Animas. 

    Academic ineligibility plagued the Cats this week as four wrestlers did not gear up for this tournament.  It seems to be a problem facing all coaches at JMHS, not only in wrestling, but also in  basketball.  Given this fact, the Panthers fared well in the tournament. 

    The team, placed 5th in the field of twelve with 127.50 points, just 13 points behind Antonito.  Team points are earned as grapplers win bouts and go through the brackets.  Coach Vialpando should be proud of the team’s performance in the past three tournaments.  They are gaining the experience and we should look forward to many of our young athletes standing on the championship podium in the coming months.

    The Panthers traveled to Custer County last night to face the Bobcats in individual matches.  Results of those bouts will be published in next week’s Journal.