Jaguar wrestlers place fourth at West Mesa tourney

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An ever-improving Valencia wrestling team welcomed back one state title contender to the lineup, and got impressive performances all around in taking fourth place in the West Mesa Invite on Saturday in Albuquerque.

Atrisco Heritage won the team title with 170 points, Manzano (133) was second and Cibola (120.5) was third.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Nathan Jolley, right, tries to escape from the clutches of an Atrisco Heritage wrestler in Saturday’s West Mesa Invite. Jolley was one of four Jaguars to make the finals as VHS placed fourth as a team.

Valencia, with 112 points, beat out District 6-4A foe Miyamura (90, eighth).

The Jags got some experience with their next duals opponent, Eldorado. The Jags travel to the northeast side of Albuquerque at 6 p.m. on Wednesday to face the Eagles.

Jacob Pino lost his first match to 113-pound champion Logan Gonzales of Eldorado before winning three matches in the consolation bracket to finish third.

Jeremy Trujillo of Eldorado won an 8-1 decision over the Jags’ Luis Soto in the third place match at 152 pounds.

“They are improved — they really are,” said Jaguar coach Tom Torres of the Eagles.

Carlos Montaño made his first appearance since getting stitches over his left eye almost three weeks ago. The 138-pounder got a technical fall over Antonio Duran of Cibola to win the title.

“That was my plan the whole time,” said Montaño of posting a lot of points in the tourney, but only getting one pin. “I wanted to build up my stats a little bit, since I have been out.”

He thought the injury time would not be a setback, although he missed wrestling.

“I feel pretty good I was working on my conditioning while I was out, running and everything,” said Montaño. “I felt that I was in condition even though I was out.”

Torres was happy that the team was getting healthier.

“It was good to have Carlos in the finals and good to have him back,” said Torres. “We had three other guys in the finals so that was a good showing for us.”

The three second-place finishers were Jacob Baca, at 160, who was pinned by Atrisco Heritage’s Antonio Ortega at the 3:53 mark; Ramon Fuentes, at 170, who was pinned by Chris Sparks of Cibola at 2:26; and Nathan Jolley, at 285, who was pinned by Atrisco’s Ismael Chavez at 3:57.

“This is just improvement for all of my kids,” said Torres. “They are good and they are all working hard.”

Pino wrestled for the first time this year at 113 pounds, as LoriAnn Archuleta moved up to 120.

His third place pin over Luciano Lopez of Manzano came with just four seconds left in the second period. He slowly rotated an arm lock around Lopez’s body, forcing his shoulders to the mat for the three-count.

“I kept the arm and just went with it,” said Pino. “I did an under-hook, and walked around him and pinned him.”

Valencia got a nice performance from Albert Sanchez, who won matches and finished fourth at 145 pounds.

Valencia competes in a Los Alamos tourney on Saturday, Feb. 9.