Buffs’ wrestlers open with strong effort at Best of Best; girls team impresses Prieto

BUFFS ROUNDUP: Monday, Dec. 9, 2019

WRESTLING

It was a big and busy weekend of wrestling for the Garden City High School wrestling teams as the Lady Buffs began a new program with their first team tournament in Valley Center on Friday, Dec. 6, while the boys headed to the foothills of the Colorado Rockies to participate in the Best of the Best Duals at Pine Creek High School, just outside of Colorado Springs.

Coach Carlos Prieto saw his boys wrestling team produce a 6-1 won-loss record in the duals to finish second to nationally-ranked Pomona, Colo., with defending state champions Silas Pineda (126) and Jacob Holt (145) going 6-1 over the course of the Pool Play qualifiers on Friday and then the Finals Matches on Saturday.

The Buffs rolled through their Pool B opposition by scores of 57-24 over Centauri, 63-15 over Eaglecrest, 57-21 over host Pine Creek, and 81-0 over Riverdale Ridge. That put the Buffs into Saturday’s Final Four, where they first beat Cheyenne Mountain, 40-36, and then won over Pueblo County, 47-29. That put them into the championship match with Pomona, where the Buffs managed to win just one of the 14 weight divisions.

“We knew Pomona was really tough and they certainly proved it,” Prieto said of his team’s final match. “They’re nationally-ranked and have several wrestlers who will be Division I wrestlers next year.”

jacob holt

Junior Josh Janas was the lone wrestler to win in the finals, earning a fall to finish out the two days with a 5-2 overall record. Pineda finished the tourney with three wins by fall, one major decision and one decision with another coming via a forfeit. Holt, meanwhile, a two-time state champion, pinned five of his opponents, won a decision in the other before getting pinned in the Pomona finale.

“It’s why we go there to wrestle with the best and when we come home, we know we have a measuring stick to see where our boys are,” Prieto said. “We know the things we have to practice on to get better so we’ll be back in the practice room and get after it.”

Overall, a number of Buffs posted 5-2 records, including Janas (152), Jared Arellano (160), Christhian Benitez (195), Matt Smith (225), Dakota Smith (113), Ryan Heiman (120) and Steven Sellers (132). In all, the Buffs posted a 62-36 individual match won-loss mark.

“Dakota was a pleasant surprise and he’s stepped in at 113, but we also think he may go down to 106 at some point,” Prieto said. “Ryan Heiman did a good job, too, and I was pleased that we got better as the matches progressed.”

The Lady Buffs, meanwhile, has their measures of success in the one-day Valley Center meet.

Senior Destiny Avila lost her opening match at 123 pounds, but then won four consecutive matches. Anjelina Serrano placed second at 130 pounds, finishing with a 3-2 mark. Bethanie Cruz went 4-1 at 130 pounds, and placed third when she pinned teammate Nallely Hinojos.

Chloe Sullivan posted a 3-1 mark in the 109-pound division, Esmerelda Corado went 3-2 at 116 pounds. Camila Estevez-Perez went 2-1 in the 235-pound division to highlight some of the top performances.

“For the first time out, in their first matches, I think most of them had the case of the jitters,” Prieto said. “But like Destiny – she lost and then won four straight matches.”

Prieto said he was also happy to see the continued improvement as the day’s matches were contested.

“They got their feet wet and they got better as the tournament went on,” Prieto said. “They’re working hard on how to improve and they’ve been like sponges.”

Prieto said he was able to get the Lady Buffs into the Great Bend Invitational, which will be contested on Saturday, with matches starting at 9 a.m.

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