CMU wrestlers find a way to win

Colorado Mesa’s wrestling team trailed in nearly every match Saturday night, yet found a way to win six matches and defeat CSU-Pueblo 21-18 at Brownson Arena.

The 13th-ranked Mavericks (8-4, 4-2 RMAC) had a pin from Paco Retana to go with five decisions.

“Every match was a nail-biter,” CMU coach Chuck Pipher said. “We definitely earned our living on those.

“That’s the difference where we’re at right now. We were behind and found a way. It was good on our part to finish matches. It is staying solid and not getting too far behind early.”

CSU-Pueblo (3-8, 1-4 RMAC) scored two pins in the first three matches, including one at 141 pounds despite a valiant effort from Colorado Mesa’s Jonathon Stelling. The sophomore, who is wrestling up a weight class, injured his left ankle in the first period and struggled to put any weight on it. He managed to keep the match going until the third period when he was pinned.

Nick Swanson started the Mavericks’ turnaround with a 3-1 decision over Northern Colorado transfer Justin Gonzales.

“Gonzales has been around,” Pipher said. “Swanson wrestled a good, smart match. He was down early, but he kept battling.”

Swanson is filling in for second-ranked James Martinez, who is out with a minor knee injury. Pipher expects Martinez to return in time for regionals, possibly sooner.

“I had to fill in for James and do my part,” Swanson said. “I can’t treat it like any match. I have to treat it like a varsity match and go win one. Last night, I had to get (the nerves) out of my system. Tonight, I felt a lot better. I did what I had to do tonight.”

Trevor Donarski followed with a 6-3 victory over eighth-ranked Ray Hall at 157 pounds, then fourth-ranked Jessie Hoffschneider mimicked Donarski with a 6-3 decision over former Florence High School three-time state champion Matt Addington.

“The kid Trevor wrestled was an All-American last year,” Pipher said. “That was a good win for him. It was a good win for Hoffschneider. Addington has been around.”

Sixth-ranked Chester Granard scored a near fall in third period for a 7-1 decision and a 15-12 Mesa edge. The senior has the career wins record, now at 90, since the program was reinstated eight years ago.

The ThunderWolves tied the dual with a 2-1 decision at 184 pounds.

“Willy (Holdren) wrestled well,” Pipher said. “He did what we asked him. Keep it close and push him in the third. We’ve just got to get him to push in the third a little bit more. He’s got to take a little bit more chance there, but he’s also trying to do the right thing.”

Pipher hasn’t decided whether Holdren will wrestle at 184 pounds the rest of the season, but he’s considering it.

Retana pinned CSU-Pueblo junior Riley Argyle with 1:16 left in the first period at 197 pounds for a 21-15 lead.

“Going into the match, I didn’t want to put myself in a need-to-win situation,” Retana said. “As long as I wrestle sound, I’ll be good and the team will be good points-wise.”

CSU-Pueblo heavyweight Niko Bogojevic came through with a 3-2 decision over Jordan Passehl in a grudge match. They split the first two meetings this season.


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