Eagle wrestlers overcome improving Jaguars

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It’s always awkward when Tom Torres’ Valencia High wrestling team has to face another county squad, because the coaches of those teams are facing their mentor.

Jason W. Brooks-News-Bulletin photo: Belen’s Anthony Trujillo, top, tries to maneuver against LoriAnn Archuleta of Valencia in Wednesday night’s dual. The Eagles beat Valencia, 47-24, and will host the Leonard Kirby Duals on Saturday.

However awkward it was, Belen High, coached by Lee Chaves, defeated Torres’ Jaguars, 47-25, Wednesday night at VHS.

“It’s no fun competing against coach Torres,” said Chaves. “He has a good squad this year, but it’s never like beating any other team.”

Belen is set to host the 9 a.m. Leonard Kirby Duals on Saturday, while Valencia travels to West Mesa for an individuals tournament set for the same time. The Eagles host Albuquerque High on Tuesday night, while Valencia travels to Eldorado on Wednesday.

Torres has many proteges in the wrestling world, and he has some very young ones on his squad this year. While some of the top Belen wrestlers dominated in Wednesday’s dual, others were challenged by members of an inexperienced, but improving, Valencia team.

Belen took 195 pounds and 220 by forfeit, while Valencia’s only forfeit victory was at 138.

“Our freshmen and sophomores aren’t bad,” said Torres. “It’s just that you really need 14 weights to be good in duals. We had two tonight. That’s like giving them 12 points.”

The very first dual of the night, at 132 pounds, went Belen’s way, as BHS freshman Tristen Davis got away from Randall Gomez and was able to pin the Jaguar sophomore.

Valencia senior Luis Soto stayed on the offensive to beat BHS freshman Gunner Robinson at 145 pounds.

Another VHS sophomore, Nate Nash, gave Belen’s Wyatt Robinson a challenge at 152, but the two-time state champion senior got a major decision over Nash, 10-1. Danny Chavez of BHS outlasted Jacob Baca at 160 pounds, 7-1.

Valencia got wins from senior Ramon Fuentes (by pin, at 170), and by freshman Jesus Tapia, who won his exciting defensive, 182-pound match against Belen freshman Matthew Burgueño.

Nathan Jolley got the Jags’ final win of the night at 285 pounds. The sophomore pinned BHS sophomore Diego Garcia with one second left in the second round of their match.

Jolley’s pin pulled the Jags to within 25-24, but BHS won the final four matches. Brandon Montiel (106 pounds), Anthony Trujillo (120) and Phillip Gonzales won by pin, and 113-pounder Chris Romero gave the Eagles a hard-earned major decision over VHS sophomore Jacob Pino.

“Randall almost had him (Davis), and just made a couple of mistakes,” said Torres. “And Jacob (Pino, at 113) had him in a cradle twice, but he lost him.”

Valencia has been without injured state champion Carlos Montaño for the past few events. The 138-pound senior was hoping to get cleared in time for Saturday’s West Mesa tourney.

Chaves said he didn’t really learn much new about his lineup from the dual. However, the Eagles could learn quite a bit from the five duals planned for the Kirby tournament.

Next weekend, Belen and Los Lunas are both slated to compete in the two-day Cardinal Classic at Robertson High in Las Vegas, N.M. Valencia heads to the Bryan Sanchez Invite in Los Alamos on Saturday, Feb. 9.


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