Ignacio heavyweight Randy Herrera, left, attempts to use his size as resistance against Bayfield’s John Foutz (up a weight from his regular 220 pounds) during the Jan. 4, 2020, ‘Riverside Rumble’ – formerly known as the La Plata County Duals; hosted this season by BHS.
Ignacio 132-pounder Dante Sandman secures a third-period pin of Bayfield’s Xander Hovenstine during the Jan. 4, 2020, ‘Riverside Rumble’ – formerly known as the La Plata County Duals; hosted this season by BHS.
Photo Credit: Special to the Drum | Joel Priest
Photo Credit: Special to the Drum | Joel Priest
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Heavyweight Herrera second in Pagosa Springs

Additional seventh-placers help ’Cats finish 12th


A 1-1 split of two appearances at the Jan. 4 ‘Riverside Rumble’—the bragging-rights ‘La Plata County Duals’ in last winter’s inaugural incarnation—hosted by Bayfield appeared more or less ‘meh’ for Randy Herrera.

Losing by second-period pin to BHS senior star John Foutz, bumped up from his normal 220 pounds, wasn’t all that surprising, and earning six points via forfeit against Durango, lacking possible opponent Eli Russell, wasn’t all that satisfying.

The 2020 Rocky Mountain Invitational, held one week later, changed all that.

Ignacio’s senior heavyweight, still trying to gain ground on his division rivals in terms of total matches wrestled, began work Saturday, Jan. 11, inside hosting Pagosa Springs’ gymnasium receiving a ‘bye’ and then pinning Pueblo Central sophomore Jeremy Bookout 23 ticks into the third period.

The biggest mat ’Cat then flattened Bloomfield, N.M., junior Nick Duarte in an elapsed 3:12 to earn a spot in the division’s championship bout.

Unfortunately, the RMI title would elude Herrera, as La Jara-based Centauri senior Remi Lucero, with just two losses to his name so far this winter, notched his 19th victory by pinning Herrera (6-2) 1:44 into the first period.

Duarte would pin Aztec, N.M., senior Ty Ashley in 2:18 to save third place, while fifth went to AHS freshman Joshua Hannah by pin (in 1:41) over PSHS freshman Sebastian Prunty. Bookout then salvaged seventh by pinning Taos, N.M., sophomore Lucas Filiss in 4:18.

All told, Herrera’s effort helped IHS pile up 53 points and edge THS for 12th place at the event.  PSHS piled up 244 points to clinch the tourney title, with Aztec (231.5) and Centauri (200) the closest challengers.

At 126 pounds, Ignacio freshman talent Keaton McCoy went 3-2 and placed seventh via a pin—his third of the day—of Pagosa Springs’ second-team entrant David Thomas, also a freshman, 47 seconds into the second period.

132-pounder Dante Sandman also went 3-2 for IHS and left Archuleta County with a seventh-place finish, after the senior stuck Montezuma-Cortez’s Jaquin Laner 1:29 into the first period.  Like McCoy, Sandman also pinned his three victims as the emerging duo followed up effectively their combined 4-for-4 work (including three pins) at the aforementioned Rumble.

Isaac Welker went 0-2 and did not place at 138 after being eliminated by Taos, New Mexico’s Eli Sanchez via pin in only 26 seconds.  And sophomore Jeremy Roderick gave it his best against the meet’s 220s, but went 0-2 and was eliminated by Taos eighth-grader Jerome Martinez by pin in just 47 seconds.

Finally, sophomore Tyler Barnes competed at 152 pounds and, after a difficult pin loss to CHS freshman Erik Mestas with only four ticks remaining in the third and last two-minute regulation period, ended up 1-3 after losing 4-2 to Bayfield’s Trey McKee in the consolation-bracket semifinals, and then 7-5 to M-CHS senior Ethan Root in the seventh-place bout.

Up next, the Bobcats will compete Jan. 17-18 at the prestigious Mel Smith Husky Invitational in Florence, then travel one week later to the equally-regarded Screaming Eagle Invite in Paonia.

IHS’ slated 2A San Juan Basin League road dual at Mancos on Thursday, Jan. 9 has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28.


2020 ROCKY MOUNTAIN INVITATIONAL STANDINGS: 1.Pagosa Springs 244, 2.Aztec (N.M.) 231.5, 3.La Jara Centauri 200, 4.Bloomfield (N.M.) 143, 5.Bayfield 122.5, 6.Monticello (UT) 109, 7.Monte Vista 108, 8.Pueblo Central 105, 9.Durango 93, 10.Mancos 89, 11.Montezuma-Cortez 65, 12.IGNACIO 53, 13.Taos (N.M.) 51, 14.Dolores 20, 15.Pagosa Springs ‘2’ 19.


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