CSU-Pueblo 34, New Mexico Highlands 12
CSU-Pueblo kept its hot beginning to the 2009-10 dual season in tact Thursday when the ThunderWolves downed conference foe, New Mexico Highlands, on a neutral mat in Prim, Nev. by a convincing 34-12 score.
The win was the ThunderWolves' first in an RMAC dual since restarting its program in 2008 and provided a great personal victory for CSU-Pueblo coach, Dax Charles, who bested his mentor and former coach, New Mexico Highlands coach, Doug Moses. Charles won two national titles for Moses while he was coach at CSU-Pueblo, then-University of Southern Colorado, from 1992-94. The CSU-Pueblo wrestling program was cut in 2001 due to a budget shortfall, and Moses was unceremoniously out of a job before landing at Highlands several years ago.
CSU-Pueblo was nothing short of dominant in the win, recording one pin, three technical falls, and a major decision in roughing up the Cowboys. Quinn Donnell (Sr., Jack Canyon, Colo.) improved to 2-0 in duals this season when he recorded the night's only pin over Jarrod Purvis at 165 pounds, while Justin Grant (Sr., Winnemucca, Nev.), Kellen Desmond (Sr., Escondido, Calif.) and Markus Portillos (So., Pueblo, Colo.) each recorded technical falls. Portillos' win was especially impressive, blanking Donovan Troup 16-0 while Grant recorded a 16-1 win over Andrew Roden at 174s. Combined with his 11-0 major decision win over Oklahoma City University Wednesday night, Grant has outscored his past two opponents by an impressive 27-1 margin.
Perhaps the most encouraging victory of the night for the ThunderWolves came from freshman Moises Alcala (Fr., Denver, Colo.). Alcala bested arguably New Mexico Highlands' top wrestler, heavyweight Jesse Boggs, in a 3-1 decision. It was Alcala's first dual victory of his collegiate career and raised his win-loss record to 9-5, the highest win total on the ThunderWolves.
CSU-Pueblo will continue its weekend in Nevada at arguably the toughest tournament in the nation, the Cliff Keen Invitational, which features some of the top Division I programs in the nation. In the program's history, CSU-Pueblo has only placed one wrestler this tournament.