Eckstein powering into February
Written by: Joel Priest
Photo cutline~ GETTING A LEG UP: Bayfield 126-pounder Colter McMenimen (right) locks onto Pagosa Springs' Chris Archuleta during last Thursday's IML dual under the spotlight inside PSHS Gymnasium. McMenimen prevailed in the second period by a 16-0 technical fall.
Knowing that, in addition to himself, the Intermountain League boasts three of Class 3A’s highest-ranked heavyweights, Matt Eckstein (formerly the #4) was all business last Thursday when facing Pagosa Springs’ Creede Wylie (at the time #5, with Centauri’s Greg Martinez the #4) in the Pirate’s own lair.
And with extensive action awaiting him at the Aztec Tiger Duals barely 36 hours later, Bayfield’s biggest Wolverine was wholly aware of the morale boost—in the form of revenge—he could gain and take down to Lillywhite Gymnasium.
“He beat me at their tournament,” Eckstein said, “and I wasn’t having anymore of that!”
With BHS already behind in the IML dual, 22-0 through four matches with two forfeits to follow, Wylie appeared to have the upper hand before a roaring home fanbase.
But as he would state afterwards, Eckstein wasn’t having it. Near the Pirates’ chairs, he abruptly reversed Wylie’s momentum, catching him off-balance and ending on top. With 0:37.9 left in the first period the referee’s hand sounded a pin and the Wolverines were at last on the board.
And despite seeing 12 free points go up on the locals’ side of the scoreboard as the action went into the lower weights, Bayfield had some steam on their side. Tyler Beebe pinned Weldon Hughes at 120 pounds with 0:46.8 left in the first, and Colter McMenimen followed with a 16-0 technical fall of Chris Archuleta at 126. Keeping the proverbial train rolling, Allec Rodriguez took 90 seconds to stick Micheal Mills at 132, and BHS was back in business though down 34-23.
But against two of the visitors’ veterans, the Pirates mathematically locked up the victory (51-23, officially) on their Senior/Parent Appreciation Night; Dalton Gregory prevailed 13-6 over Drake Rhodes at 138 and Keith Archuleta, leading only 7-5 after two periods, held off Joe Zink at 145, ten to six.
At the 32nd annual duals, Eckstein again helped lead the Wolverines’ way at the ten-team, two-pool event—going 5-0 with four pins. Michael Goodman, at 182, also went unbeaten, while Rhodes and Rodriguez each went 4-1, as Bayfield defeated 4A Farmington, N.M., 41-36 in the seventh-place clash.
BHS’ day began with a 46-36 loss to 4A Kirtland (N.M.) Central, but rapidly improved with a thorough 54-20 rout of 4A Albuquerque’s St. Pius X. But facing former head coach Herb Stinson—now assisting Monte Maxwell at Aztec—in their third dual, the Wolverines fell 49-21 to the tourney hosts, and 4A Santa Fe (N.M.) Capital’s Jaguars then also prevailed by a 52-28 margin.
Matt Cerdas, at 220 pounds, went 3-2, as did Beebe and Zink.
First place went to 3A Santa Fe St. Michael’s, second to Aztec and third to Capital. 3A Bloomfield, N.M., was fourth, followed by 4A Los Alamos, N.M., and KCHS. 3A Shiprock, N.M., and Pius’ Sartans—ninth and tenth, respectively—followed BHS and FHS in the standings.
Up next for the Wolverines will be tomorrow’s Butch Melton Invitational, hosted by Ignacio with an estimated 10 a.m. start, and Bayfield will dual at IHS tonight at 6 p.m.