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Demons gain experience in first wrestling tournament

Dugan and McGrath win titles in Moab
Ryan Dugan of Durango High School, pictured last season, won all five of his matches at the Red Rocks Invitational to place first at 113 pounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Some members of the Durango High School boys wrestling team competed in eight or more matches at the team’s opening tournament over the weekend, the Red Rocks Invitational in Moab, Utah.

“That’s the reason we go, to get mat time,” said DHS head coach Ben Finniseth. “It’s a warmup for what’s to come.”

Two Demons won the tournament while seven others placed fourth or higher.

At 150 pounds, Chris McGrath won eight matches in a dominant fashion to take the title. McGrath pinned five opponents, beat two by technical fall and a third by a 16-2 major decision.

At 113 pounds, Ryan Dugan won three matches by pin, one by technical and one by a 4-1 decision to win the weight class.

Riley Belt went 7-1 to finish second at 138 pounds. Belt pinned six opponents and won one match by a 10-4 decision. Belt’s only loss was a 10-6 decision to Levi Martin of Mancos, who went 8-0 to finish first for the Bluejays. Wyatt Bartel also competed at 138 pounds for DHS and finished third after picking up seven wins and only losing to Belt and Martin.

Miguel Stubbs finished second at 175 for DHS, going 5-2. Teammate Braxton Waddell finished fourth at 175, also going 5-2 with a 16-13 win against Stubbs. Dale Harris placed sixth.

JJ Vickers went 3-2, with all five matches decided by fall, to place third at 190.

Brett Franklin went 4-3 to finish fourth at 285.

Elijah Ponce pinned one foe to finish fifth at 113.

At 120, Izik Garrett picked up two wins to place sixth, including a 9-8 decision over teammate Dillon Harris. Harris also won two matches and placed seventh.

At 132, Cole Pontine won four matches and placed fifth while Gordan Grant won three matches and placed eighth.

Jacob Belt went 4-4 at 144 to place fifth.

Julius Arredondo also placed fifth at 157 with a 4-4 record while Jacob Martinez pinned two opponents to place seventh.

At 165, James Storm went 4-2 with three pins to place third, and Gus Hall picked up a pin to place sixth.

In the team race, Durango finished third out of 12 teams with 270 points. San Juan (Utah) took first with 316.5, and Mancos finished second with 299.5, Dolores placed ninth with 86 and Dove Creek placed 11th with 48. Isiah Martinez (120), Ayden Matthews (165) and Cole Dainty-Guilfoyle (190) also won titles for Mancos.

“We were pretty happy for the first tournament,” Finniseth said. “It was a good starter tournament, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

The Demons will next wrestle in Bloomfield (New Mexico) in a dual meet tournament on Saturday.