No. 6 Adams State 26, CSU-Pueblo 18
When you're taking on the sixth-ranked team in all the land, a gladiator wants nothing more than to seize the day. Thursday, in the second RMAC dual for the ThunderWolves wrestling team, the Pack did all it could to do that - short of winning.
The ThunderWolves entered the night's last match with a chance to win, falling to Adams State 26-18. The ThunderWolves asserted in a loud voice that they might be a first year program, but they certainly aren't an automatic win.
The mood of the night was set in a very subtle way by "heavyweight" Frank Sandoval (Fr., Durango, Colo.).
In the night's second match, Sandoval, all of 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds but wrestling at heavyweight, took on Adams State's Jeff Schossow, who at 6-foot-4, dwarfed Sandoval.
But Sandoval fought an impressive, defensive match, only allowing two takedowns and cutting points from the Grizzlies, only allowing a 7-0 decision loss and three team points for Adams State.
After Adams took a 12-0 lead after Lyle Evans (Jr., Grantsville, Utah) was pinned, 133-pounder Joe Jones (Fr., Aurora, Colo.) singlehandedly wrested momentum back to the ThunderWolves.
After holding an 8-6 lead over D.J. Alexander late in the third period, Jones caught his opponent on his back, scoring a takedown and catching him for the pin - just 13 seconds shy of match's conclusion, cutting the Adams State advantage in half.
The Pack also saved points in match of the night between the teams' top two wrestlers, Louie DeSantis (Jr., Escondido, Calif.) and Raymond Dunning, the top-ranked 141-pounder in the country, wrestling up a class at 149 to take on DeSantis.
DeSantis played defensively all match long, only allowing Dunning to score two points in each period as he fell to a 6-2 decision.
Keenen Funk (Jr., Riverton, Wyo.) made things interesting as he came out in a flurry, scoring a takedown and pinning Omar Gonzalez at just 49 seconds for Funk's fourth pin of the season, tops on the ThunderWolves.
The pin brought the Pack to within six, 18-12, with a forfeit at 174 pounds leaving the match hinging on the final two matches of the night - the 165-pound match between Martin Dick (Fr., Azle, Tex.) and the third-ranked Noomis Jones, and the 184-pound match between Kellen Desmond (Jr., Escondido, Calif.) and sixth-ranked Kyle Sand.
After promising starts to both matches, though, Jones and Sand relied on third period flurries to stretch the advantage to major-decision territory. Dick fell 13-5 while Desmond lost 11-2.
The loss drops the Pack's overall dual record to 2-4 and its RMAC mark to 0-2. The ThunderWolves will go on a two-game RMAC road swing next weekend to Chadron State and Nebraska-Kearney, eventually returning Jan. 29 for the Pack's next home dual vs. Western State.
Adams State: 26
197: Torben Walters (Adams State) def. Tony Chavarria (CSUP) dec. 6-1
Hwt: Jeff Schossow (Adams State) def Frank Sandoval (CSUP) dec. 7-0
125: Arsenia Barksdale (Adams State) def Lyle Evans (CSUP) fall 1:20
133: Joe Jones (CSUP) def A.J. Alexander (Adams State) fall 6:47
141: Dominic Valencia (Adams State) def Markus Portillos (CSUP) dec. 5-3
149: Raymond Dunning (Adams State) def Louie DeSantis (CSUP) dec. 6-2
157: Keenen Funk (CSUP) def Omar Gonzalez (Adams State) fall 0:49
165: Noomis Jones (Adams State) def Martin Dick (CSUP) major dec. 13-5
174: Justin Grant (CSUP) wins by forfeit
184: Kyle Sand (Adams State) def Kellen Desmond (CSUP) major dec. 12-2