Short-handed a few key lightweights, the Coconino Panthers wrestling team needed a big day from the other weight classes Wednesday.
Marcello Barreras had a perfect day at 160 pounds that included four pins in as many matches, Mark Aruguete and Ulises Gutierrez also had 4-0 records by the end of the multiple meet in the heavier weights, and the hosting Panthers finished 3-1 as a team.
The three juniors came through on the mat in a tight match against the Bradshaw Mountain Bears. Barreras collected a win by fall in the third period to cut Coconino's deficit to 26-22, and 220-pounder Aruguete won on a grueling 3-1 decision to give the Panthers a 29-28 lead with one weight class remaining to determine the winner.
Panthers heavyweight Gutierrez locked horns with his Bears opponent for just one period before getting the pin in the next round, sealing the deal for the Panthers, who went on to win 35-28.
"We needed some of those guys who are the more experienced varsity guys, like Mark at 220 is doing a great job," said Panthers head coach Mike Schmieder.
Coming off a tough tournament over the weekend, Coconino's Pedro Billups, the team's 113-pounder, sat out Wednesday to nurse a cold and prepare for the looming Doc Wright invitational that takes place next weekend. Also missing from the lineup was 106-pound stud Tony Hernandez, who is dealing with an injury.
Coconino's Kyle Munoz was also out of the lineup getting rest.
Coconino started the multi that featured all Division III, Section Four programs with a 46-27 team win over Payson. The Longhorns held the lead after the first eight weight classes were in the books, but the Panthers got three straight pins from Barreras, Mauricio Quijano (170 pounds) and Damingo Pimentel (182) to pull away 36-21. Aruguete and Gutierrez closed out the match against the Longhorns with back-to-back wins.
The Panthers routed the Kingman Bulldogs, who barely escaped being blanked on the way to a 66-12 loss thanks to a pair of pins at 182 and 195 pounds. Coconino's only team loss of the day came against Show Low, 52-30, in the final match of the meet.
While Barreras won all his matches by fall, Gutierrez didn't get the chance to accomplish the feat, getting the victory against Show Low by forfeit after pinning his first three opponents. Aruguete, meanwhile, won by a major decision against Payson, pinned his Kingman foe and won by forfeit in the Show Low match in addition to the narrow decision against Bradshaw.
Pimentel also locked horns with his Bears opponent on the way to a 15-7 victory that had the Panthers in striking distance down two points. Quijano finished at 3-1 overall.
Wrestling at the varsity level to help meet his team's needs, Nickolas Phillips (126) went 2-2 with two pins for the Panthers, including a fall against Bradshaw. Mason Palmer was also up from the JV level and went 1-3 with a pin against Kingman.
"You have to be able to plug the wholes, and some JV guys got some opportunities to step up today and wrestle well, and I am super proud of them," Schmieder said.
Pimentel, Payton Polder (138) and Talyn Godwin also finished 2-2.