BOULDER — It may be a little hasty to take much from the first dual meet of the season.
But for the Boulder Panthers, whose numbers are a little down, any sort of victory is huge — especially for their mental approach to the season.
"With all the hard work we have been putting in this preseason, it is nice to come out, get the 'W' and build some momentum for the rest of the season," said Panthers senior Ira Ah, whose team rolled to a 42-33 over Columbine in the season opener in The Pit.
"We've been hungry to go get that first win."
And what the Panther lack in numbers they certainly more than made up for in talent on Thursday night. All through their young line-up they wrestled with confidence, intelligence and a grittiness that hasn't been there in years past.
After an opening match pin by heavyweight Edgar Carranza in 38 seconds over Cameron Kuykendall, the Panthers started to get on a roll in the middle weights.
Brayden Coleman (120 pounds), Soren Sovndal (132) and Steve Marics (145) all recorded wins by impressive first-period pins.
Even the matches the Panthers lost was tight. Sophomore Andrew Stevens was down 8-0 after two periods to Hugh Wheatley, but got him on his back late in the third and nearly stuck the Rebels 138-pounder.
At 152 pounds, junior Andrew Virden was down 2-0 after one period to Erik Reader, but rallied to tie the match early in the second with a reversal and then stuck him at 2:27.
"I was kind of watching his legs, he got taken down and then he turned it," Boulder coach Gil Espinoza said. "He did well."
Ah, at 170 pounds, was in an early scrap with Espen Weber after a quick take down and reversal. But Ah was able to control the aggressive Rebels junior, reverse him back and score big time back points to open up a 10-2 lead after the first two minutes.
"I came out looking at what he was trying to do and trying to keep my cool so I could determine what was going on," Ah said. "I was able to counter and give it all I had."
Liam Henderson finished the night in style for the Panthers at 195 pounds, pinning Columbine's Ted Mullin in the second period.
It was a great start for the Panthers, who will be right back at against Loveland on Friday night.
"I told them, we don't have that many people, so you have to be the person that steps up," Espinoza said. "And they did."
BOULDER 42, COLUMBINE 33
106 — Uncontested; 113 — Colby Ellison, Columbine pinned Ian Bayus, 3:30; 120 — Brayden Coleman, Boulder pinned Skyler Sheehan, 1:08; 126 — Garret Tollman, Columbine won by forfeit; 132 — Soren Sovndal, Boulder pinned Tristan Inslee, 1:29; 138 — Hugh Wheatley, Columbine dec. Andrew Stevens, 8-3; 145 — Steve Marics, Boulder pinned Blake Rhyner, :59; 152 — Andrew Virden, Boulder pinned Erik Reader, 2:27; 160 — Donnie Donahue, Columbine won by forfeit; 170 — Ira Ah, Boulder pinned Espen Weber, 3:09; 182 — Tim Mullin, Columbine pinned Sebastian Campos, :58; 195 — Liam Henderson, Boulder pinned Ted Mullin, 3:48; 220 — Angel Trejo, Columbine won by forfeit. 285 — Edgar Carranza, Boulder pinned Cameron Kuykendall, :36.