by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG — The John Mall Panthers played host to the Pete and Ina Gomez Invitational wrestling tournament last Saturday and placed three wrestlers in the top four. The team finished ninth out of a field of sixteen.
First up for the Cats was John Paul Vigil who wrestles at 126 pounds. Vigil opened the day with a decisive victory, pinning Richard Maldonado in a time of 33 seconds. He then went on to pin Domique Garcia of Pueblo Centennial in 54 seconds, setting up a semi-final match up with Josh Valencia of Taos (NM).
The winner would advance to the finals while the loser needed to wrestle an additional match to wrestle for placement in the consolation bracket. Valencia entered the semi-finals with a pair of quick pins too, the first in 19 seconds, (which was the fastest tournament pin) and his second in 34 seconds. It proved to be a tough fought match up with Valencia coming back in the second period to pin Vigil at the 2:44 mark.
Vigil needed to win one more to vie for third. He defeated Chris Archuleta of Pagosa Springs in 59 seconds. In his final match of the day, Vigil wrestled his longest bout of the day, defeating Robert Gonzales of Del Norte by pin in 5:11. Vigil led the entire match before he dropped Gonzales to the mat for the win.
Vigil’s record is 7-2 on the season. He entered the competition as the number 8 ranked wrestler in the state and should move up a notch mid week as teams enter the holiday season.
One other Panther to place was heavyweight Lorenzo Trujillo. Trujillo finished second in the tournament. After an opening round bye, Trujillo faced Shane Shaerin of Del Norte. He took the entire six minutes to hold on and defeat the big man in an 8-2 decision.
Trujillo then met Ray Riggings of Trinidad. Riggings, who was the number 8th ranked wrestler in 3A entering the meet, defeated his first opponent in a quick fall of 26 seconds. Trujillo then took Riggings to task, narrowly missing a first-period pin as the referees hand hit the mat and the buzzer sounded. It was called a near pin and points awarded to Trujillo. Wanting the victory by pin, Trujillo maneuvered Riggings to the mat for a pin 44 seconds into the second period.
In the finals, Trujillo met Creede Wiley of Pagosa. Wiley, who came off as the more aggressive of the two, was warned for an illegal arm hold and on one occasion the match was delayed because of a finger to the eye on Trujillo. No points were awarded in either case. It didn’t stop Trujillo though.
With the match deadlocked through 3:40 seconds, Wiley was awarded two points as the second period ended for a near pin. Entering the final period and trailing 2-0, Trujillo was awarded a point for an escape and as the match was ending, another single point for a takedown. The match went into overtime, with Wiley taking down Trujillo 30 seconds in, gaining two points and the win.
In another unusual turn of events Jacob Pino took fourth place. He was to wrestle for third, but a five-match rule gave third place to Tyler Hendricks of Limon. Pino opened the meet strong with a pin over Jake Jolly of Del Norte in 1:19, but lost to Chance Purcell of Pagosa in 5:50. Purcell got a late period takedown and maneuvered the pin, sending Pino into the consolation brackets.
His first opponent was his teammate Dylan Tenorio, who wrestled unaffiliated. Pino gave his friend a wrestling lesson and pinned him in 1:29, ending Tenorio’s tournament hopes. Pino then defeated Kenny Soto of Lamar by pin (2:09) and Alex Bartel of Custer County (1:28).
Pino was on a pinning roll and, given the chance, his next match could have been a tough one. However, because he had already wrestled five matches, the rules stated his day was done.
Earlier in the day, Bartel defeated Tenorio and Vigil’s victory over him sent a message. The other oddity of the 160 pound class was Adam Bobian, also of Walsenburg, who wrestled in that weight class. He went 1-2 for the day while Tenorio was 0-2.
Dakota Cagel opened his first round match with a pin over Kevin Chapparo in 1:44 seconds and James Colazzo of Pueblo Centennial by pin in .39 seconds. He lost his third match to Brian Bothell of Del Norte by pin in a time of 2:13, ending his tournament hopes.
The final Panther hopeful was Julius Langer at 145. Langer was pinned twice but in his last match wrestled the best he had all year, according to his coach.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward