Jaguar grapplers place eighth at season-opening tourney
Only eight varsity wrestlers suited out for Valencia’s season-opening wresting matches Saturday at the Sam C’De Baca Memorial Tournament, held at Manzano High in Albuquerque.
But the light numbers did not deter coach Tom Torres’ enthusiasm for the upcoming season.
“We have a lot of young wrestlers and this experience is good for them,” said Torres. “We are also missing some of the guys that played football.”
Valencia finished eighth in the team standings with 61 points. They had three wrestlers finish in the top four, with Shai Gonzales as the runner-up at 145, Daniel Gonzalez taking third at 160 and Jacob Baca placing fourth at 152.
Valencia now goes to the prestigious Las Cruces Invitational, along with Belen and Los Lunas. It will be the first of many chances for Torres to evaluate his squad with the other county schools.
The Jaguars should be closer to full strength in the visit to Las Cruces next Saturday. They should at least have Carlos Montaño back now that the Valencia football team’s state semifinal run is over.
“We need to get everybody into shape from the football season,” said Torres. He also noted that he has one of his strongest teams as far as numbers ,with 34 kids out to fill the varsity, JV and C team rosters.
He noted that going to the C’De Baca tournament gives his team a little diversity since they will see their county rivals in duals and district tournaments throughout the year.
The Albuquerque tourney gave the Jags a chance to wrestle against some of the strongest teams in Class 4A and 5A.
Leading the Class 5A teams, Cibola won the tournament with a team score of 191. Host Manzano had 182, while Rio Grande finished with 145.
Class 4A teams placing ahead of Valencia were Santa Fe (106) at fourth, Del Norte (87) at fifth and Capital (68.5) at seventh.
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