Eagles place seventh at tourney; will host Kirby

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It took a solid team effort for the Belen wrestling team to place seventh at last weekend’s Joe Vivian Invite at Albuquerque High.

Jason W. Brooks-News-Bulletin photo: Belen’s Phillip Gonzales holds onto the leg of West Mesa’s Deshun Brown in Saturday’s 145-pound final of the Joe Vivian Invite. The Eagles placed eighth at the Vivian, and will travel to Valencia for a 7 p.m. dual Wednesday and will host the Leonard Kirby Invite on Saturday.

For the Eagles to use that momentum, it will take more team progress, and there is plenty of work in the immediate future. Belen is set to travel to Valencia for a 7 p.m. dual Wednesday, and will host the Leonard Kirby Invite on Saturday.

The Eagles also host Albuquerque High for a dual on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

Wyatt Robinson and Phillip Gonzales were the only Eagles to reach the finals at the Vivian tourney, which is a giant, all-classes tournament that is tougher than the state championships, at some weights. Both Eagle wrestlers lost in the finals to All-American opponents, by close scores.

BHS coach Lee Chaves, whose team is ranked third in Class 4A behind Piedra Vista and Los Lunas in this month’s News-Bulletin coaches poll, seemed very pleased with his team’s effort at the Vivian.

“From 106 through 132, plus Wyatt, we were outstanding,” said Chaves. “Plus, Gunner (Robinson, at 138) grew up a lot, and our bigger guys didn’t win a lot of matches, but they battled.”

Gonzales beat West Mesa’s Deshun Brown in a back-and-forth Vivian final in 2012. Saturday, night, the 126-pound final went similarly, with Gonzales falling behind early, then rallying.

Gonzales trailed 9-4 in the third period. Brown received two one-point stalling penalties before taking down Gonzales in the final seconds of the 11-6 decision.

Like Brown, Robinson’s 145-pound finalist opponent, Dyon Santiago of Albuquerque High, is also an All-American. Robinson never led in the defensive 3-1 loss, but he was battling hard for a takedown as time expired in the match.

Santiago received a caution warning in the final seconds, but wasn’t penalized in points.

Matthew Lucero placed fourth at 132 pounds, with his only two losses by pin by the same quick Mayfield wrestler.

Brandon Montiel was one win away from the third-place match at 106. Anthony Trujillo, at 120 pounds, lost to both the runner-up and third-place finisher.

Chaves praised the hard work of and 195-pounder David Martinez and 182-pounder Matthew Burgueño. Martinez lost to Nick Chavez of Rio Grande (named the tourney’s outstanding wrestler at the heavier weights), and Los Lunas standout Isaac Parra.

Belen and Los Lunas are among 10 teams set to compete in Saturday’s Kirby Duals. The first of the day’s five duals is set for about 9 a.m. at BHS.


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