Top 10 finish marks progress for Valencia wrestling team in 2013

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Sometimes, the real victory for a team is not in the placement, but is in the accomplishment in the face of adversity.

From injuries to tough seeding, Valencia had plenty of adversity to overcome at the Class 4A state wrestling championships held Friday and Saturday at the Star Center in Rio Rancho.

Piedra Vista won the blue trophy with 314.5 points, followed by Los Lunas (176.5) and Belen (169).

The Jags tied Del Norte for ninth place overall with 94 points. They only trailed Santa Fe (95.5) by a point and a half for eighth.

No one felt that adversity more than state-title contender Carlos Montaño.

Having missed action this season due to illness and some with stitches over his right eye, Montaño was healthy coming into his quest for a state title at 138 pounds.

The senior pinned three straight opponents before losing with an injury in the semifinal match to eventual state champion Alex George of Santa Fe.

Coach Tom Torres described the injury that appeared to be a shoulder dislocation.

"I think what happened is that he went to double and the joint just went down," said Torres, noting that the trainer on site had to physically lift his arm and hold it back into place.

"It was crazy. I have never seen anything like it. I felt really sorry for him."

Montaño forfeited the two consolation matches but still had gone deep enough into the bracket to finish sixth and score 15 points for the Jaguars.

Senior Ramon Fuentes took fourth place, as did sophomore Nathan Jolley.

Torres felt that Fuentes deserved a better draw.

"It was tough seeding," said the veteran coach. "If they had put him in the bottom (not fourth and in line for the No. 1 seed Amaldo Ortiz of Los Alamos), he could have made the finals."

Sophomore Nate Nash finished fifth as he worked his way through the consolation rounds after losing in the quarterfinals.

"They are so much improved from November," said Torres of his two sophomores. "They are showing more technique and are more positive about themselves."

Also scoring points, but not finishing in the top six places for a medal, were Jondiego Archuleta (106 pounds), Jacob Pino (113), Joseph Barela (126), Luis Soto (145) and Jacob Baca (160).

"We have seen so much improvement this year," said Torres. "To tie with Del Norte is good, but to wrestle within a point and a half of Santa Fe is really good."


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