The Dodge City High School wrestling team headed into Christmas break with a third-place finish Saturday at the Bishop Carroll Invitational.
Leading the team were Damian Mendez, taking first place at 113, and Garrett Edwards, with a first place at 145.
Edwards was matched up against Demon wrestler Luke Barker, who was wrestling unattached, in the 145 championship round.
Since no team could have two wrestlers receiving points in the same weight class, Barker did not earn team points even though he took second at 145. Barker was allowed to wrestle because he is tournament quality.
"It's (third place) a decent showing. We're usually in the top five of this tournament," said coach Tate Lowe, whose team took second place at the Bishop Carroll tournament last year.
The Bishop Carroll Invitational was a pool play tournament with wrestlers from 4A, 5A and 6A, so the Demons faced off against a wide range of opponents they might not see later in the season.
"This was a good tournament to go into the break. Some things improved from last week. We're getting better every time we get on the mat," Lowe said.
Santonio Turner has improved and really stepped up his game, the coach said. Ryan Parga took second and is at a point where he can compete with the best wrestlers in the state. Ismael Ramirez got down to weight and took fourth. He needs to work on finishing his matches but is getting better, Lowe said.
"Everyone is improving," Lowe said.
The team will take some time off for Christmas break but get right back at it in a big way.
The first meet after break will be against Garden City, which is ranked No. 1 in the state in 6A. It won't be the last time these teams meet this season, Lowe said.
"We know they are going to be tough and they know we are going to be tough. It should be an exciting night," Lowe said. "The team needs some time off to get healthy. A flu bug is going around, so the kids need to eat right and treat their bodies right.
"So far in the season, this team can compete at the state level. But they have to stay hungry. They have been coachable and they have to keep improving."
106, Juan Castro, 7th (4 points).
113, Damian Mendez, 1st (27 points).
120, Ismael Ramirez, 4th (10.5 points).
132, Josh Gonzales, 12th (no points).
138, Rudy Hernandez, 5th (11.5 points).
145, Luke Barker, 2nd (wrestled unattached, could score no team points).
145, Garrett Edwards, 1st (22 points.)
152, Marcelino Otero, 7th (3 points).
160, Ruben Rayas, 2nd (20 points).
170, Jesus Lopez, 12th (no points).
182, Ryan Parga, 2nd (17 points).
195, Josh Bertholf, 6th (8 points).
220, Santonio Turner, 3rd (15 points).
285, Cody Terrell, 4th (11 points).
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