By BRETT MARSHALL
With seven starters were forced to sit out Thursday's Western Athletic Conference dual match at Liberal, the Garden City Buffaloes wrestlers knew it would be a tough time against the Redskins.
It certainly proved to be true.
The Redskins used four wins by pins to just three by the Buffs to knock off the defending WAC and Class 6A champion Buffs, 33-32.
"We just gave up too many bonus points on the pins, and didn't get enough of those ourselves," said coach Carlos Prieto.
The missing regulars had to sit out due to guidelines established by the Kansas State High School Activities Association that limit the number of tournaments and dual matches a wrestler can compete in during the season. Each of those are assigned a point value, and had the regulars competed Thursday night, they would have been forced to sit most likely in the postseason, something Prieto was not willing to have happen.
"We don't like to lose, but I'd rather have a loss tonight, which is better than not being eligible in the postseason," coach Prieto said.
Prieto said he accepted responsibility for not getting the team properly prepared for the dual.
"It doesn't matter who we put out on the mat, I expect us to go out and win, and that's my responsibility to get the kids ready," Prieto said. "We'll rest our kids and get them ready."
The Buffs will travel to Dodge City on Tuesday for another WAC dual. And Prieto said the team will be ready.
"We'll be rested, and we'll be healthy, and we'll be ready," Prieto said.
Posting wins for the Buffs were 106-pounder Efrain Sanchez, Thomas Marquez at 126, Tevin Briscoe at 138, Isac Goytia at 145, Trenton Chiddix at 160, Luis Castaneda at 220 and Montana Fuller at 285. It was Fuller's first match after sitting out the season recovering from a football injury. He went into sudden victory overtime to win 3-1 over Liberal's Sergio Borjas, the No. 5-ranked wrestler in Class 5A.
"We knew he'd have a tough opponent and I thought he did a good job for the first time out," Prieto said of Fuller. "He looked sharp, and his conditioning is a factor, but he'll get better. It was good to get him back and see where he's at."
Prieto said he thought both Sanchez and Briscoe wrestled especially well, too.
"Just really good effort, and their performances were impressive," Prieto said of Sanchez, who pinned Luis Guereca at 2:44, while Briscoe earned a 20-8 major decision over Greg McClung.
Following the Dodge City dual on Tuesday, the Buffs will host the Rocky Welton Invitational on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at The Garden.
Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.