Gonzales, Robinson lead Eagles to third

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Although the Eagles are not celebrating a team state wrestling title, two senior wrestlers from Belen got their names in the history books with record-setting performances.

Phillip Gonzales and Wyatt Robinson won titles in their weight classes. Both did so for the third straight year.

"They are both the first three-time state champions for Belen and we got them in the same year," said coach Lee Chaves.

Belen finished third in the team standings with 169 points, just seven points off Los Lunas (176.5) and behind Piedra Vista (312.5).

It was close for the green trophy as Deming scored 156 points. Los Alamos was fifth with a team total of 137.5

Chaves was very happy with Robinson's win at 145 pounds. He noted that due to a move out, Robinson could have wrestled at 152 and had an easier time winning the title.

"Wyatt could have just moved up and had it a lot easier. But he is not of that mind set," said Chaves. "He stayed down a weight class and took the harder road and risked his third state championship to wrestle a tougher opponent. Not many athletes would have done that."

Robinson won by a decision over Ernesto Salvidrez (34-1), giving the Capital High wrestler his only loss of the season. Robinson (39-2) only lost twice during the year, once to Salvidrez.

Gonzales (36-2) won the championship over highly-regarded Jimmy Gonzales of Del Norte with a 10-5 decision. The Belen senior controlled the first period, 5-1, on the way to posting a surprisingly easy win.

Senior Brandon Montiel took second in the 106-pound weight class, as Joseph Tapia of Capital High pinned him in the first period.

Until the loss in the final, Montiel had pinned four wrestlers and won a major decision over another.

Matt Lucero placed third at 132 pounds, pinning Francisco Alvarez of Farmington with 29 seconds left in the first period.

"That match was huge because Deming was right on our tail," said Chaves. "Those points were very important."

Danny Chavez was third at 160-pounds, winning the medal by default over an injured Florian Castillo of Española Valley. Chavez advanced all the way through the championship round until a semifinal loss to Piedra Vista's Wyatt Hardy.

Anthony Trujillo placed fifth at 120 pounds; while Chris Romero (113), Gunner Robinson (138), Matt Burgueño (182) and David Martinez (195) all scored points without winning a medal.

"We were really proud of our team," said Chaves in conclusion. "We went to state with only 11 wrestlers and we knew that would be hard."


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