By BRETT MARSHALL
Garden City High School's already depleted varsity roster just got worse on Saturday at the Clay Center Duals when junior Tevin Briscoe suffered a sprained ankle while leading 6-1 in his semifinal match against Carter Wessling of Beloit.
Then, Ruben Rodriguez was injured in a 160-pound match, had to be taken to the hospital after being body-slammed to the mat by Gabe Ware of Clay Center, and couldn't finish the tournament.
Those two injuries not only took the two out of the lineup, but proved costly in the team points as Holton, the defending Class 4A state champions, squeaked out a 141.5 to 135 victory over the Buffaloes, who are the defending Class 6A state champions. Briscoe, last year's 132-pound state champion, was 3-0 and had been dominant during the early matches.
When considering those two injuries, along with already missing Alec Castillo, Zac Finch and Montana Fuller, head coach Carlos Prieto was pleased with his team's effort.
"It's not bad, especially considering we had kids who were sick, too," Prieto said. "We had kids wrestling with bad colds, one had a fever and still wrestled. I told the kids this is where you get mentally tough. They did a great job of wrestling through the aches and pains, and they did a great job."
Sophomore Michael Prieto, the coach's son and the defending state champion at 106 (now wrestling at 113), went 3-0 and dominated his weight division and was named the Outstanding Wrestler for the tournament. Reyes only had two matches in his 195-pound division and that was good enough for first place as he won both by pins.
Senior Chris Adler went 4-1 and finished second as did freshmen Peyton Hill (3-1) at 182 pounds and Jesse Nunez (3-1) at 152 pounds, Aaron Lozano (3-1) at 285 pounds, and Efrain Sanchez (3-1) at 106 pounds.
"I thought Peyton (Hill) did a great job as a freshman and showed great improvement from our meet in Amarillo last week," Prieto said of the recent transfer from Sydney, Neb., who also is head football coach Brian Hill's youngest son. "He just stayed in good position, and didn't put himself in bad spots. He's learning what the opponent gives you, and not forcing the issue. I thought Aaron (Lozano) became more physical and also was in better position."
Prieto said the Buffs continue to work on technique and he sees continued improvement through the first two weeks of the season.
"We're making progress, getting better and better," Prieto said. "Considering everything we've gone through, I think the kids have showed a lot of the toughness we want to see."
The Buffs will close out their pre-holiday schedule on Friday and Saturday at the Kansas City Stampede. Prieto was unsure as to the status for both Briscoe and Rodriguez for the upcoming event.
Results in Scoreboard, Page A11.