Back on the mat
In first competition in 3 weeks, Mavs ride 7-match run to win
Colorado Mesa wrestled its first match in more than three weeks, but it didn’t take long to shake off any rust.
The Mavericks, ranked 16th in NCAA Division II, won seven consecutive matches Thursday night and rolled to a 36-9 victory over Bethany (Kan.) College at Brownson Arena. The Swedes are ranked 13th in the NAIA.
“It was a good win for us,” CMU coach Chuck Pipher said. “They are a good, young team.”
Mesa (3-1) scored first in seven of the 10 matches and won eight.
“The focus was staying on track,” CMU sophomore Jonathon Stelling said. “We haven’t wrestled for a couple weeks now. We just went hard and made sure to get those extra points. They come in handy later. I loved the way we wrestled.”
Bethany (0-1), which wrestled in tournaments the past two weekends, won the first match, a 4-3 decision at 125 pounds.
“I haven’t talked to him yet, but I don’t think (Erick) Vargas knew what the score was,” Pipher said. “He thinks it’s 3-2 and he had riding time, so he cut him. I don’t know what happened there, but he’ll learn.”
Stelling quickly put the Mavericks back on track, building a 6-1 lead before pinning James Lohman one minute, 25 seconds into the second period at 133 pounds.
“I tossed him to his back, got a couple near-fall points and eventually put him in an arm bar,” Stelling said.
It was his first match back since the Old Chicago Northern Colorado Open on Nov. 17.
The sophomore returned to practice this week after sitting out four weeks with a concussion.
“It was tough,” Stelling said. “I had to get back in shape really fast. I stayed conservative in the first period, so I wouldn’t over-tire myself. As soon as the second period came, I knew I had to get after it.”
Daniel Salazar rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the first period, took a 7-4 lead and eventually pinned Colt Rogers with 19 seconds left in the 141-pound match.
“I started out a little bit slow, but I’ve got to break that habit,” Salazar said. “I just didn’t wrestle good in the first period, but we’ll fix it.”
The sophomore went to his go-to turn, locked up Rogers and squeezed.
“I just had to flip the switch,” Salazar said. “When you start down four, you get into it real quick.”
No. 3-ranked James Martinez was sick this week, but he still managed to defeat Bethany’s Courtney Strauss 4-1 at 149 pounds. Strauss wrestled in place of No. 2-ranked Colby Crank.
“Martinez has been fighting sickness,” Pipher said. “He got caught underneath, and the kid rode him pretty well.”
Trevor Donarski needed only 24 seconds to pin Bethany’s Jonathon Blackwell at 157 pounds, giving the Mavs a 21-3 lead.
Redshirt freshman Jessie Hoffschneider won the first home dual match of his collegiate career, rolling to a 15-3 major decision over 15th-ranked Jordon Ward.
“I was pretty nervous,” Hoffschneider admitted. “It was bugging me out all day yesterday and today. At 10 o’clock this morning I was all pacing back and forth at my house. It helped. I went out there and wrestled harder, that’s for sure.”
Eighth-ranked Chester Granard dominated the 174-pound match with a 17-1 technical fall.
“Chester wrestled like a veteran,” Pipher said. “You can tell the difference at the end of the match this year compared to last year. He’s not having to cut too much weight.”
Scott Verner followed with an 8-4 victory over Spencer Wilson at 184.
“Verner is figuring it out,” Pipher said. “He’ll be fine. He’s filling 184s pretty well. He just needs some consistent time.”
The Swedes ended Mesa’s run with a pin at 197 pounds, but it mattered little at that point in the dual.
Mesa heavyweight Jordan Passehl, ranked eighth, capped the dual with a 5-1 victory.
“Jordan wrestled a good, smart match,” Pipher said. “He’s trying to battle back from the injury on his knee. Hopefully he didn’t hurt the other one.”