Some Tiger wrestlers struggle at tournament

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Last weekend's Joe Vivian Invite showed there are tremendous possibilities still ahead for the Los Lunas High wrestling team.

It also showed there are veteran Tigers who need to be more consistent in order for the team to reach its potential this season.

In the tourney, held at Albuquerque High, the Tigers only managed a 13th-place finish, just ahead of Eldorado and one spot behind Manzano. No Los Lunas wrestler reached the finals, and 120-pounder Ricardo Alvarado, Jr. was the only Tiger to even make it to a third-place match.

Los Lunas, which is ranked second in Class 4A behind Piedra Vista in this month's News-Bulletin coaches poll, is set to compete in the Leonard Kirby Invite on Saturday.

LLHS coach Steve Chavez seemed pleased with the hard work of many individuals, but not very satisfied with the overall focus of the team.

"It's really tough to win here," said Chavez of the tournament. "The field here is better than state. I'm happy with how some guys battled; we had three guys in the semifinals. But some guys need to pick it up. If they want to be Tigers, they need to know it's not about them; it's about us."

Alvarado Jr. lost a close 120-pound semifinal, then pinned a Valley opponent before facing Ladigo Williams in the third-place match. The momentum shifted several times before Alvarado was finally pinned with 1:15 left in the final round.

Isaac Parra, at 195 pounds, was pinned in the quarterfinals by Volcano Vista's Mike Budick. The senior then pinned Belen's David Martinez and a La Cueva wrestler before being edged by Robert Salgado of Rio Rancho, 5-3, in the consolation semifinals.

The Tigers' 160- and 220-pounders, seniors Mikey Martinez and Charles Truesdell, also reached the quarterfinals. They both won on the consolation side, finishing one win away from the third-place match.

Two of the more experienced Tigers made a quick exit from their brackets.

Miguel Alvarado, at 126 pounds, lost his first two matches by 3-0 and 11-1 scores, and was eliminated. Gabe Alvarado, at 138, ran into Volcano Vista's All-American Lawrence Otero in the quarterfinals, losing to Otero and his next opponent, eliminating him.

Chavez said 182-pounder Mark Hussey hasn't competed in the Tigers' last few events because the freshman is "dealing with some personal issues."

Los Lunas is one of 10 teams set to compete in the Kirby Duals at BHS on Saturday. The first of the day's five duals is set for about 9 a.m.

On Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1 and 2, the Tigers will compete in another large tournament, the Cardinal Classic, at Robertson High in Las Vegas, N.M.

Chavez issued a stern warning to any Tigers not willing to put the team first.

"Everyone needs to know their priorities," said Chavez. "If there are guys that can't do that, they have no business being on this team."


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