Eagle wrestlers place fourth, Jags are 15th in Las Cruces

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Belen High’s wrestling team had an impressive showing at the Las Cruces Invite this past weekend.

News-Bulletin file photo: Belen High wrestler Zane Nuñez, top, placed fifth in the 285-pound weight class last weekend at the Las Cruces Invite, where his team placed fourth. Belen and Los Lunas are set to compete in the Panther Duals this Saturday at Piedra Vista High in Farmington.

The Eagles finished fourth overall with five medalists and two champions. Valencia High, which had a third- and a fourth-place wrestler, finished 15th as a team.

Belen will travel north on Saturday to Piedra Vista to take part in the Panther Duals. Valencia will be in the two-day APS Invite, beginning Friday at 4 p.m. at Atrisco Heritage Academy.

For Belen, there were a lot of things to be happy about in the two-day tourney in Las Cruces.

A first-place medal for Wyatt Robinson in his first meet after playing football, several impressive outings from younger wrestlers and Phillip Gonzales’ domination of quality wrestlers in the 132-pound class gave a lot of hope to coach Lee Chaves for the Eagle prospects down the road.

“We took 10 kids that were sophomores or younger. Our young kids did well,” said Chaves.

Anthony Trujillo, who wrestled the eventual champion within a point, finished sixth at 120, Matt Lucero was fifth at 138 and Zane Nuñez, a first-year wrestler as a senior, was fifth in the heavyweight division.

“There was top-notch wrestling,” said Chaves. “I like this tournament because we see a lot of teams from Texas.”

Valencia got solid wrestling from Carlos Montaño, who finished third in the 145-pound class, and Ramon Fuentes, who was fourth in the 182- pound division.

Belen’s Gonzales turned in the most impressive performance of the tourney, pinning all five of his opponents on the way to a 132-pound championship.

It was expected that Gonzales’ greatest challenge would come from Julian Roybal of Cleveland, but Mayfield’s Isaiah Sedillos upset him in the semifinals. Gonzales made short work of the Mayfield wrestler, pinning him in just 1:52.

“He was very dominant,” said Chaves. “The Mayfield kid was very big for 32 (pounds) and Phillip caught him in a fireman’s (hold) and pinned him.”

Robinson also was near the top of his wrestling form in his first action after the Belen football team lost in the semifinals to eventual Class 4A state champion Goddard.

Robinson won a 10-3 decision over Franklin’s James Pleasant, a wrestler that Robinson struggled with in last year’s Cruces finals.

“This kid is tall and lanky, probably 6-feet, 4-inches,” said Chaves of the Franklin wrestler.

“Last year, Wyatt beat him by one point. He barely held on at the end. This year, he just dominated the guy.”

In addition to facing the current Class 4A state champion in Piedra Vista at the Panther Duals, Chaves is looking forward to matching up with Class 3A state champ, St. Michaels, as well as county rival Los Lunas.

“We get to see the northern teams,” said Chaves of the upcoming duals. “There are some really good teams for this duals tournament. There is a very good chance will be wrestling St. Michaels. They can compete with any 4A or 5A program.”


-- Email the author at mstearns@news-bulletin.com.