By BRETT MARSHALL
Garden City High School's 35-27 dual wrestling match victory over Colby on Thursday night at Colby was just what the doctor ordered for GCHS coach Monte Moser.
The Buffs, who have been plagued with injuries and illness for much of the 2010-11 season, gathered themselves in their final regular season encounter and managed to escape with a hard-fought victory over the Eagles, one of the powerhouses of Class 4A wrestling.
"They did outstanding and (the match) was one of those where it could have gone either way," Moser said of the team's battle.
In fact, the team's victory was not assured until heavyweight Jason Carreon won his decision in the final match by a 3-1 margin over Zell Bieberle.
"It came down to Jason and all he had to do was not get pinned for us to win," Moser said. "But he wrestled well and won the decision. It was an exciting end to the match. That's a lot of pressure for any wrestler, but for it to be the final match, that's a lot. He came through with a big win."
It was also a bonus to get Anthony Gardner and Anthony Shockley back at 160 and 171 for the Buffs. They both garnered wins, Gardner with a pin of Beau Brown at 1:38 while Shockley held off Andrew Flanagin with a 12-11 decision. Gardner had been held out of last week's meet in Great Bend with a shoulder injury while Shockley had suffered a concussion in the Rocky Welton Invitational two weeks prior.
But the Buffs got a couple of big efforts from Matt Urrutia at 119 (a 15-2 major decision winner over John Faber) and A.J. Hurtado at 125 (pinned Macen Shull at 1:16).
"Our young guys really stepped it up and came through for us," Moser said. "It was a pretty tough Colby team and I thought we did some things that we've been working on that will help us at regional and state."
Chris Adler and Jonathan Heiman also claimed wins in their respective matches. Adler pinned Brandon Leth at 2:56 in his 145-pound match while Heiman won an 8-1 decision in his 152-pound bout.
Despite a 6-5 decision loss by Anthony Calderon, Moser said Calderon was showing much improvement against an opponent he had previously lost to by a major decision (a decision of between 8 and 14 points).
"The Reed kid is really one of the outstanding wrestlers and Anthony took him to the end of the match and I thought wrestled really well," Moser said.
The Buffs were still without the services of junior Braxston Medina at 135 pounds who has been out for three weeks with a hip injury.
Next for the Buffs will be the all-important Class 6A regional tournament on Feb. 19 at Campus High School in Haysville. The 6A state tourney is Feb. 25-26 at Hartman Arena, located north of Wichita and south of Newton on I-135.