With his final home dual right in front of him, Montrose senior wrestler Ben Robuck (170 pounds) wanted to make sure he went out with a win Friday night against Durango.
Robuck was aggressive from the onset, never letting his Durango counterpart get any breathing room. He then went on to get the pin in the second set to close out his last home bout.
Robuck’s win was one of many the Indians had against the Demons, as the hosts won the dual, 46-25.
“It was nice to get a win, individually and as a team,” he said. “We knew that we could beat them as a team so we went out there to go out and dominate. I think that’s what we did with our score tonight.”
It was not only a special night for Robuck.
Before the match, he, Cole Simmons (182), Jacob Padilla (113), Kaale Bradshaw (132), Madison Hickert and Juan Diaz were honored for Senior Night.
However, Hickert wasn’t in attendance because she was grappling in the girls state tournament in Thornton while Diaz, a JV wrestler, didn’t compete Friday.
Coach Neil Samples said this group of seniors has been important to the program.
“It’s been awesome,” Samples said. “... They’ve grown a lot as individuals and wrestlers. That’s one of the best parts of being a coach, it’s you get to see people grow.”
Robuck had high praise for the program.
“In my opinion, this is one of the best programs in the Western Slope,” he said, adding his appreciation for the pee-wee and middle school teams as well as the Indians’ coaching staff.
“There’s no other program that I would want to be a part of. It means a lot to be here for Senior Night and finish out my season here,” Robuck added.
Those wrestling were able to enjoy Senior Night even more, since each grappler came out with a win.
Bradshaw wound up winning by forfeit; Padilla was victorious in a 9-1 major decision and Simmons won by pin.
“It was kind of sad knowing it was my last time wrestling here at home,” Padilla said. “But hopefully we can go out with a bang this season.”
The match of the night had to go to Simmons.
The Montrose 182-pounder started his bout with a quick 4-0 lead only to see it slip away after his Durango opponent got the reserve takedown and a near-pin on Simmons.
However, Simmons fought back in the following periods getting the lead back midway through the second and near trailed again. Following a 19-9 advantage in the third period, he put away his Durango competitor with a pin.
“Besides being a little nervous there for a second, I told him this is the first time this year I saw a little fire in him,” Samples said. “He showed what he needs to do.”
Samples said, going into this dual, he figured Montrose would come out on top solely based on Durango’s small roster. But the Demons showed their a tough group and one that has gotten better in recent years, he added.
“It’s nice to have one last home dual,” Samples said.
Montrose also received a few wins thanks to Raul Martinez (195) and Kamron Alegria (106) who both won by pinfall. Additionally, Brandon Van Nooten (220) and Colten Bruggeman (285) each were victorious via forfeit.
Montrose had one last dual on Saturday versus Grand Junction Central before the Indians prepare for regionals, which is from Feb. 14-15 at Cheyenne Mountain.
The upcoming tournament is the culmination of a long season for the Indians.
But the team is feeling confident heading in, Samples said, adding his wrestlers have made great strides since last month at the Florence Tournament.
Recently, Montrose took third place at the Thornton tourney with Simmons, Robuck and Van Nooten winning in their weight class.
“We’ve been wrestling tough,” Samples said. “We’ve found our groove again.”
The Montrose grapplers are feeling the same way.
“I’m excited and ready to wrestle, but we’ll see what happens,” said Padilla, a state qualifier from last year. “I’m going to go out there and try my hardest.”
“There's always a little bit of pressure at regionals,” Robuck, a two-time state qualifier, said. “But I’m feeling well. … I know what I can do. I’m ready to go over to regionals and wrestle well.”