EVHS wrestling team, Courtesy Aaron Salinas
Espanola, Pojoaque Wrestlers
By George Morse Sports and Outdoors
The Espanola Valley High School wrestling team will send six wrestlers to the Class 5A state wrestling tournament after placing fifth in team standings at the District 2-5A wrestling tournament Feb. 11 at Del Norte High School in Albuquerque. The Sundevils scored 72 points.
Capital High School took first place with 193.5 points. Los Alamos High School and Del Norte finished in a tie for second place, each with 144 points. Albuquerque Academy scored 122 points and finished fourth.
Leading the way for the Sundevils was senior Dominic Medina, who finished second in the 113-pound weight class. Medina defeated Los Alamos’ Donovan Atencio in an 11-0 major decision in the semifinals. Capital’s Ryan Romero defeated Medina in an 8-6 decision in the championship match.
Edgar Sanchez took second place at 138 pounds. Sanchez defeated Academy’s Jacob Vigil in a 10-8 decision. Capital’s Jose Tapia, the defending Class 5A state champion, defeated Sanchez in the championship match with a 16-1 technical fall. A technical fall is awarded when a wrestler takes a 15-point lead over their opponent.
Seniors Amado Ramirez and Mario Martinez both finished third in their respective weight classes. Martinez lost to Del Norte’s Brandon Ripley in the semifinals in a 9-4 decision. Martinez came back to pin Ty Nieto of Los Alamos in the consolation semifinals. Martinez pinned Capital’s Esteban Segura in the third-place match at 126 pounds.
Ramirez lost a 4-2 decision to Del Norte’s James Ortega in the semifinals. He defeated LosAlamos’ Neil DeHerrera in a 5-1 decision in the third=place match at 132 pounds.
In a pleasant surprise, Espanola’s Ace Gabrentina placed third in the 220-pound weight class. Gabrentina, a student at McCurdy Charter School who wrestles for Espanola because McCurdy does not have a wrestling team, began competing for the Sundevils midseason.
Gabrentina defeated Academy’s Nathaniel Holloway in the quarterfinal with an 8-0 major decision. Los Alamos’ Milo Light pinned Gabrentina in the semifinals. Gabrentina won the third-place match against Del Norte’s Michael Chino in a 3-2 decision.
The Sundevils’ Kalub Romero took fourth place in the 285-pound weight class. The top three finishers in their respective weight classes at the District 2-5A meet automatically advance to state. Romero received a wild-card spot and will advance to the state tournament. Los Alamos’ Ty Nieto also received a wild-card spot.
Also competing for Espanola were: Nicolas Pacheco (120 pounds), Alan Najera (170 pounds), Josiah Martinez (182 pounds).
The Sundevils will be competing in the Class 5A state wrestling tournament Friday and Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
“I see improvement in myself as a coach and in the kids,” Espanola Coach Aaron Salinas said. “They’re wrestling better now than they were at the beginning of the season, which means I’m doing my job as a coach.”
In its inaugural wrestling season, Pojoaque Valley High School will send eight wrestlers to the Class A-4A state wrestling meet. The Elks placed fourth at the District 2/5-4A wrestling meet Feb. 11 at Taos High School. Pojoaque scored 98 points. Robertson High School took first place with 180 points. Tucumcari High School was second with 167 points.Taos third with 164 points.
At the District 2/5-4A meet, the top five finishers can advance to state.
Leading the way for Pojoaque was Javier Tapia. The defending Class 5A 145-pound state champion, Tapia transferred to Pojoaque when his father, Miguel Tapia, was named head coach of the Elks. This season, Javier Tapia is undefeated with a record of 34-0. He took first place in the District 2/5-4A meet in the 152-pound weight class.
Tapia pinned Tucumcari’s Simon Ortiz in his semifinal match. In an exciting championship match, Tapia prevailed over Robertson’s Joseph Griego in overtime with a 9-7 decision.
Henry Roybal took second place at 170 pounds for Pojoaque. Roybal pinned Bernalillo High School’s Wylie Chavarillo in the semifinals. Roybal lost to Tucumcari’s Xavier Garcia in the championship match.
Pojoaque’s Jonathan Chavez finished second in the 195-pound class. Chavez took a 13-6 decision over Taos Clayton Demas in the semifinals. He was pinned by Robertson’s Darian Duran in the championship match.
Johnathan Velarde took third place in the 126-pound weight class. He pinned Robertson’s Leon Lujan in the consolation semifinals. Velarde won on an injury default by Tucumcari’s Jonathan Clark in the third-place match.
Matthew Martinez took fourth place in the 120-pound weight class. Sebastian Rubio finished fourth in the 132-pound weight class. Josh Roybal took fifth in the 220-pound weight class. Brayan Chiquito’s place in the 285-pound weight class was fifth among just five wrestlers. All qualified for the Class A-4A state wrestling tournament.
Also competing for Pojoaque were: Brenden Fresquez (113 pounds), Kameron Tenorio (138 pounds, Leah Archuleta (145 pounds).
Pojoaque will compete at the Class A-4A state wrestling tournament Friday and Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Albuquerque.