Pojoaque Wrestling Team

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Pojoaque Makes History With First Home Wrestling Meet
 
By GEORGE MORSE
Valley Daily Post
 
Pojoaque’s Kameron Tenorio pinned Los Alamos’ Lewis Harvey in a 138-pound match. All Photos by George Morse\valleydailypost.com
 
History was made at Ben Lujan Gymnasium Dec. 8 when Pojoaque Valley High School hosted a duals wrestling meet against Los Alamos High School. It was the first wrestling meet in the history of Pojoaque, which added a wrestling program to its athletic program this season.
Although the Hilltoppers, who have a well-established wrestling program, dominated the match 66-14, the Elks were able to win Pojoaque’s first matches in the Elks’ home gym.
Sophomore Javier Tapia, the son of Pojoaque Coach Johnny Tapia, defeated Los Alamos’ Trevor Brown in a 145-pound match with a
technical fall. A technical fall is declared when one wrestler establishes a 15-point lead over his
opponent. Javier Tapia scored points on take-downs (two points each) near-pins (three points each) and escapes (one point) to establish a 15-0 lead.  Javier Tapia was a Class 5A state champion at 132 pounds last season while attending Capital High School in Santa Fe, where father Johnny Tapia was an assistant coach.  He followed his father to Pojoaque. In the season, he expects to compete in the 160-pound class.
“He (Javier Tapia) works hard,” Coach Tapia said. “He helps the kids out. It’s a good opportunity for him.”
“I know how to work with kids,” Javier Tapia said. “My dad has been coaching me for 13 years and it was easier on me.” Sophomore Kameron Tenorio picked up his first victory as a wrestler in his first varsity match, pinning Los Alamos’ Lewis Harvey in a 138-pound match.
“I used to wrestle at home just messing around,” Tenorio said. “I’m pretty proud. It gives me something to do.” In one of the meet’s most exciting matches, Pojoaque Elias Martinez came from behind to score two points in the final seconds on a reversal to defeat Los Alamos’ Jacob Thompson in a 160-pound match. A reversal is when a wrestler escapes a takedown and gains a superior position. In a junior varsity match, Pojoaque’s Aaron Ortiz pinned Los Alamos’ Michelle Sutton. The Pojoaque team had to forfeit four matches to Los Alamos when they did not have wrestlers in that weight class. The Elks have 16 wrestlers on their roster. Wrestling is a coed sport and there are two female wrestlers, seniors Jade Pino and Leah Archuleta, on Pojoaque’s roster. “We’re starting from scratch,” Coach Tapia said. “It’s a learning experience and this is a good
opportunity for them to see what a real match is like in a tournament. The kids are a little bit nervous to go out there and compete on their own. We’re a little bit out of  shape. We’ll take care of that.” In addition to Coach Tapia, Pojoaque hired Marc Saunders as an assistant coach. Saunders had previously coached in Pojoaque at the middle school and junior level before becoming an assistant coach at Los Alamos.
His son, Lane Saunders, was the 2015 Class 5A state champion at 182 pounds and was runnerup at 182 pounds last season. The Pojoaque wrestling program was in the works for some time before it became a reality.
“It’s been a few years in the making,” Pojoaque Athletic Director Matt Martinez said. “We proposed it seven years ago, but didn’t have the funding. Our Superintendent proposed it again. I’m glad we got it going. It’s exciting for the kids and a good opportunity to be in another sport.” The next challenge was getting the startup costs taken care of. Pojoaque needed to find coaches and get the students involved.
“We got a good group to start,” Martinez said. “(The coaches) have been around. Their experience
helped get the program going. The main thing was to get it started in the right direction.”
Pojoaque will compete in Class A-4A and District 2/5-A-4A.
“We made history here tonight,” Coach Tapia said after the Los Alamos match.

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