WAC champs: Buffs' wrestlers claim 1st title in 5 years
By BRETT MARSHALL
Monte Moser's Garden City Buffaloes wrestling team won the Western Athletic Conference title in his first season as the head coach in 2007-08.
This year, the Buffs handed first-year head coach Carlos Prieto the same present on Thursday with a pair of dual-meet victories over Great Bend (42-21) and Hays (57-15) in matches held at Great Bend.
The Buffs swept through the WAC schedule with a 4-0 dual record and are finished with their league opponents.
"It feels good, really good," said Prieto in a telephone interview. "I thought we had one of our best duals of the year tonight. The kids really came out focused, fired up and did a great job. It's one of our goals along the way, and now we just have to keep working toward those next goals."
Matt Urrutia (120), Tevin Briscoe (132), Trevor Kennedy (145), Chris Adler (152), Juan Carlos Rodriguez (182) and Montana Fuller (285) won each of their respective matches against Hays and Great Bend. Michael Prieto, who did not have an opponent against Great Bend, won his lone match by a pin against his Hays opponent.
Prieto said he was especially pleased to get Rodriguez back in the lineup after he had sat out two duals and the Rocky Welton Invitational for both injury and a coach's decision.
"He showed me a lot of how hard he's continued to work," Prieto said. "For not having wrestled in two weeks, and having two matches close together, he really did a nice job."
Rodriguez pinned Ethan Deterding of Hays at the 3:03 mark while earning an 8-6 decision over Joe Lindenberger of Great Bend.
Prieto said that while everybody wrestled well, he thought Urrutia had a particularly strong outing against Great Bend's Cody Liles in a 3-2 decision. Liles had beaten Urrutia 13-0 in the Rocky Welton just this past weekend.
"That's a big turnaround, and Matt really focused in and did those things to get a great win," Prieto said.
In addition to the win over Liles, Urrutia pinned Ethan Waddell of Hays at the 4:00 mark.
Fuller, who continues to shine after becoming eligible for the second semester as a transfer from Lakin, claimed a 2-1 decision over Jacob Crane of Great Bend and then earned a 13-5 major decision over Vincent Scott of Hays.
"I'm really pleased with him and how he's improving steadily each week," Prieto said of Fuller.
The Buffs wrestled without 138-pounder AJ Hurtado, last year's 6A state champion at 132 pounds. Hurtado was sidelined in the Welton last Friday when he had a head collision in the quarterfinals. He did not wrestle on Saturday, and Prieto said he sat him out as a precaution.
Briscoe's victories came against Dylan McKinney of Hays with a pin at 0:22 and a major decision over Zach Schridde of Great Bend, 13-1. Kennedy decisioned Jake Sedbrook of Hays, 10-6, and then pinned Brett Roberts of Great Bend at 1:51. Adler's twin wins were against Leroy Franco of Hays (5-3 decision) and Emerson Campbell of Great Bend (12-4 major decision).
Next up for the Buffs will be a road trip on Thursday to Colby, where they will go against the No. 1-ranked Class 4A Eagles. That is their final regular season match before the Feb. 16 regionals.
Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.