Dodge City was the well-known underdog coming into its dual against the state’s No. 1 wrestling team, the Garden City Buffaloes, on Tuesday night. Although the Buffs lived up to the hype defeating the Demons 53-12, one underdog got the victory he had been waiting for his entire wrestling career.
The result of the 138-pound match had no effect on the outcome of the dual but it was the one every fan came to see. Garden City had established its dominance but No. 2 Demon senior Dane Edwards and No. 1 Buffalo senior AJ Hurtado battled to the brink. Their individual state rankings were on the line.
Edwards made the first move but time ran out before he could secure a takedown. There was no score at the end of the first period. One minute remained in the second period when Edwards secured his first takedown. Hurtado quickly followed with an escape. At the end of the second period it was 2-1.
“My focus was just mainly on trying to get the win, keeping cool and staying focused throughout the whole match,” Edwards said.
The third was back-and-forth as the rivals inched closer to capturing another point. The seconds waned and Edwards managed an escape. He had solidified the win 3-1 and became the victorious underdog.
“It means a lot,” Edwards said. “I’ve wrestled him since freshman year and I’ve lost every time. So this is the first time that I have ever beaten him and it’s a pretty big win for me.”
The buzzer sounded and Edwards arm was raised into the air. He sprinted to the edge of the mat where his dad was there to embrace him.
“It definitely was my dad,” Edwards said. “He was the first one I wanted to find. He’s given me the most encouragement this year knowing that I can be the best and telling me that I can beat anybody.”
Edwards’ dad is his confidence and his mom is his humility.
“She [mom] keeps me humble while motivating me all the time,” he said. “When I get a little arrogant she knocks me around some.”
Despite falling in such a tight match to Edwards, Hurtado will take it as a building block and prepare more diligently for their next meeting.
“AJ’s going to respond well,” said Buffs head coach Carlos Prieto. “I told him it’s not the state tournament and that’s the match that we want to win. I thought we out wrestled him [Edwards] to be honest. We had a couple takedowns that we weren’t able to get but it doesn’t mean anything right now. They are 1-1 and they are probably going to wrestle two or three more times possibly. We want the one at the end and that’s the one that matters the most.”
Garden City freshman and No. 1 ranked Michael Prieto started the night with a quick pin in the 106 weight class keeping his one-loss record intact at 29-1.
Two Dodge City wins by decision gave the Demons had their first and only tie of the night. The Buffs’ Tevin Briscoe, Chris Adler, No. 2 Anthony Gardner, Samson Aldaco and Montana Fuller all earned pins in their weight classes and contributed to the 53-12 domineering win.
“It’s just a league win,” Prieto said. “We told the boys that this is our arch rival, we have to win and we’re going to win. We’ve got to prove that we are No. 1. We’ve got a big target on our back and we have to come in every week against our opponents and show them that we are deserving of that No. 1 ranking.”
The Buffs have proved it time and time again. Now they have to be careful and focused to finish out their season. Prieto said they work on staying humble in practice.
“We tell them that it is just a ranking and it doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “The one that we want is at the end of the year and that’s where we want to be No. 1. Rankings don’t mean anything right now. It’s great to get that recognition and so forth but we want it at the end of the year.”