Pojoaque's Tapia Wins Fourth State Title

by Editor / Feb 27, 2019 / 0 comments
Pojoaque senior Javier Tapia defeated Silver High School's Nathaniel Lucero in the chapionship match of the Class 4A state wrestling tournament Feb. 23 at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho. It was his fourth and last state championship (photo by John McHale).

Pojoaque’s Tapia Takes Fourth State Title

By George Morse

Pojoaque Valley High School senior Javier Tapia won his fourth state wrestling championship, taking first place in the 170-pound weight class Feb. 23 at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

Tapia began his wrestling career at Capital High School in Santa Fe. His father, Johnny Tapia, was the wrestling coach at Capital. Javier’s older brother Jose was a five-time state champion wrestling for the Jaguars. Javier Tapia began competing at the state wrestling tournament as an eighth-grader in 2015. That year, he took second place in the 106-pound weight class. That would be the only time that Javier Tapia failed to win a state championship match.

In 2016, Tapia took first place in the 132-pound weight class. After the season, Johnny Tapia took over the coaching reins of the newly-established Pojoaque Valley wrestling program. Javier followed his father to Pojoaque. Jose Tapia opted to stay his senior year at Capital, where he won his fifth state championship.   

Wrestling now for the Elks, Javier won his second state championship in 2017 at 152 pounds. Last season, Tapia took first place at 170 pounds for Pojoaque.

This season, despite suffering his first match loss since he was an eighth-grader, Tapia was once again the top seed at 170 pounds. He had wrestled at different weights throughout the season in an effort to measure himself against the best.

He began the final state competition of his career pinning Ramon Zubia of Chaparral High School in the opening round. In the quarterfinals, Tapia pinned District 2-4A rival Ty Nieto of Los Alamos. Tapia then had a tougher match against Isaac Thomas of Kirtland Central High School, winning in a 6-1 decision.

In the championship match, Tapia defeated Silver High School’s Nathaniel Lucero in an 8-0 major decision. It was his fourth and his final state championship. One last time, the referee held his arm up under the lights at the Santa Ana Star Center.

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