After the wrestling Red Demons took a 25-41 loss to Garden City on Dec. 12, coach Tate Lowe told his young team that they would be different at the end of the season.
"It depends on how much (work) you're willing to put in by February," Lowe said.
Apparently, the Demons took that advice to heart in a hurry. Over two days of the Colby Eagle Invitational Team Tournament, where Dodge faced teams from Kansas and Colorado, the Demons put together an impressive set of wins to take the tournament championship going 7-0 in team duals.
This is the first time Dodge City has won the Colby Tournament. A total of 18 teams competed in the event.
"This is not the same team that stepped on the mat Thursday night. We got a lot better in these seven matches," Lowe said. "That's what I challenged them to do Friday night, and they responded well."
Several Demons finished the two-day tournament with perfect 7-0 records: 120 pounds, Damian Mendez; 145/152 pounds, Luke Barker; 160 pounds, Marcelino Otero; 182 pounds, Ryan Parga; and 285 pounds, Cody Terrell. Otero weighed in at 152 both days but wrestled at 160 all weekend because of lineup adjustments caused by injuries.
Parga said he worked his hardest and was happy he was able to go undefeated.
A pair of Demons also earned tournament individual honors. Damian Mendez was named Outstanding Wrestler and Cody Terrell recorded the fastest pin at just 19 seconds.
Lowe said he challenged all his seniors to step it up and they did. Parga and Terrell both dominate their opponents as did Mendez who is a returning state champion and an All American.
Mendez had a tough weight class and dominated it against high caliber opponents. Otero also dominated even though he had to go up a weight class. Barker wrestled at 145 and 152 and proved that he was the "real deal," Lowe said.
"We responded well coming off the tough loss on Thursday night. I feel we really took major steps forward this weekend," Lowe said. "I was happy with us grinding out matches for six minutes and just scoring points.
"The guys did a great job of expanding leads and really setting themselves up to dominate. I was really pleased with the effort and attitude our guys displayed on the mat. We were dominate because of (our) aggressive approach to matches."
Next up for the Red Demons is the Bishop Carrol Tournament on Dec. 21 at Bishop Carrol.
The new coach for Bishop Carrol is Lars Lueders, who was the winningest coach in Dodge City High School history.
The Demons are looking forward to their match against the Golden Eagles.
"To go into that tournament and win, it would be really cool for them (the Demons)," Lowe said.
106-Juan Castro 5-2.
113-Frio Vontress 4-3.
120-Damian Mendez 7-0.
126-Ismael Ramirez 6-1.
132-Miguel Aguilera 4-3.
138-Rudy Hernandez 6-1.
145/152-Luke Barker 7-0.
145/152-Garrett Edwards 5-2
160-Marcelino Otero 7-0.
170-Hayden Speakman 3-4.
182-Ryan Parga 7-0.
195-Angel Aguilera 2-5.
220-Santonio Turner 5-2.
285-Cody Terrell 7-0.
The Demon team opponents and scores were:
Dodge 54, Junction City 12.
Dodge 65, Eaglecrest, Colo., 6.
Dodge 70, Tonganoxie 6.
Dodge 60, Goodland 15.
Dodge 55, Monarch, Colo., 17.
Dodge 48, McPherson 24.
Dodge 54, Colby 18.
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