Tiger wrestlers fourth at Carlsbad; Belen to visit Wednesday

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The first wrestling tournament after the Christmas break is never an easy one.

News-Bulletin file photo: Miguel Alvarado of Los Lunas High, top, tries to get Victor Carrasco of Belen on his back in a recent tournament. Alvarado helped the Tigers to a fourth-place finish at the Don Owen Invite at Carlsbad High on Saturday. The Tigers placed fourth at the tourney and will host Belen at about 7 p.m. Wednesday.

But if this is how the Los Lunas Tigers perform before they’re at full strength, their potential for improvement is very high. The Tigers placed fourth in their first tourney of the calendar year, the Don Owen Invite, in Carlsbad on Saturday, with only Cleveland, Atrisco Heritage Academy and St. Michael’s posting more points than LLHS.

The Tigers are set to host District 6-4A rival Belen at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the annual dual between the teams. Since the Tigers still have some eligibility and weight issues that could change their lineup, there’s a chance Los Lunas will become even more of a state title contender than it already is.

“The tournament could have been even tougher,” said LLHS coach Steve Chavez. “Silver, Deming, Oñate, Las Cruces High and Mayfield couldn’t make it over because of the snow. But it was great mat time for us.”

One of the Tigers who has begun to emerge has been freshman 106-pounder Michael Freeman, who placed third at Carlsbad.

“Michael has stepped up, and he’s very disciplined, for a freshman,” said Chavez. “He stays focus, takes advantage when he can, and he stays on task.”

Of course, the Tigers are a veteran team — none more proven than Isaac Parra. The senior took first place at 195 pounds, beating Atrisco and Cleveland opponents en route to a 3-0 record.

Ricardo Alvarado, another senior, went 4-0 at 120 pounds, and claimed first place at his weight.

Miguel Alvarado took second place at 126 pounds; Gabe Alvarado went 3-1 at 138.

Several Tigers, such as Parra, played football, and were making their season debuts Saturday. Charles Truesdell took third at 220 pounds; Mikey Martinez won three matches en route to placing fourth at 160; and Eddie Canizo went 3-2 at 152 pounds. George Truesdell went 2-2 at 285 pounds.

Also, Andrew Salazar, at 113 pounds, and Eric Gomez, at 132, each got two wins. Tristen Rasp went 3-2 at 170 pounds. The Tigers got points at every division except 145, where a wrestler went 0-2, and at 182, where freshman Mark Hussey was unable to make weight.

“It’s a hard tournament,” Chavez said, pointing out the 600 round-trip miles involved.


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