LLHS 2nd at Capital; Eagles, Jags tie in LC

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It was a good weekend for the Belen and Valencia wrestling squads at the Las Cruces Invitational, and an even better one for Los Lunas, which finished second at the Capital Invitational in Santa Fe.

The Tigers had four wrestlers make the championship round, taking three championships to place second at the Capital Invitational on Saturday at Capital High School in Santa Fe.

The host Jaguars, who lost a dual match to Los Lunas last week, beat out the Tigers 189-179 for first despite LLHS having 12 placers to the Jags's 10.

Capital did claim four first-place finishes and two second-place finishes to the Tigers' three-top finishers and one second-place finish in the 14-team tournament.

Roman Cervantes (103), Miguel Alvarado (126) and Robert Lowe (138) all claimed blue ribbons on Saturday, while Samuel Gurule (113) took second to Capital's Jose Tapia.

The Los Lunas junior varsity also claimed first place in the tournament, said coach Steve Chavez.

"We did excellent over all," he said. "Everyone did great. Our finalists did especially well.

"Roman was unbelievable. He pulled out some good matches. Against the kid from Palo Dura (California), he was down 'til last 30 seconds but ended up getting points and rode the guys out," Chavez said.

Heavyweight George Truesdell returned to take fourth place, as did Gerald Sanchez at 195. Tristen Rasp (170) also had a strong showing with a third-place finish.

Chavez said the team is still finding chemistry in its lineup during the first leg of the season.

"We had a couple guys who are wrestling varsity at this time that I don't know will be on varsity come the new year," Chavez said. "But they did well. It was a total team effort. I was proud of the guys."

Los Lunas wrestled at the Santa Fe High Triangular Dual against Santa Fe and Bernalillo. The dual was the last for the Tigers in 2013.

Chavez said the team "doesn't have any big concerns" going into the winter break.

"We're more concerned getting the guys better," he said. "There are a couple of things we need to work on. But as far as big issues, we have no problems."

Belen, Valencia tie for 12th in Las Cruces Invite

The Eagles and Jaguars tied for 12th at the Las Cruces Invitational over the weekend, but Belen coach Lee Chaves said a late substitution could have earned his his team even more points.

The team's first-string wrestler at 152 did not make weight and second-stringer Gunner Robinson was allowed to wrestle unattached and earned 18 points with his victories.

But Belen didn't get those points, and ended up tied with Valencia 88.5-88.5.

Tucson, Ariz., school Ironwood Ridge won the tournament with a score of 281, topping the 243 points scored by second-place finishers Cleveland High of Rio Rancho

"It was a very tough tournament; the competition was unreal," said Chaves. "We were missing three weight classes, which really affected us. But the kids wrestled really well."

Belen heavyweight Daniel Gordon claimed first place in his division with a pin of Gadsden's Eric Lopez to claim the Eagles' only blue ribbon of the day. Gordon went 4-0 on the day.

"He was down 2-0 and got a reversal, then put the guy on his back and pinned him," Chaves said. "I was very happy for him."

The Eagles' wrestlers were drawn into some very tough brackets, Chaves said, making the going rough across the board in the 32-team tournament.

Chaves said freshman Estevan Chavez (220), Chris Romero (120) and Nathaniel Matinez (170) posted some of the better performances of the day, though he emphasized that the entire team did well.

"Estevan placed sixth," Chaves said. "For a freshman to place in the upper levels is unheard of. Nathaniel, he's only in his first year of varsity wresting. He's only going to get better. The sky's the limit for him."

Chaves said the tournament, which annually has one of the toughest collections of wrestlers in the region, was a tough one.

"I was very happy with our showing," Chaves said. "The only negative was a couple kids not make weight, not showing discipline. So we started on sour note. But we ended up on a high note."

Chaves also said the Belen junior varsity won their weekend tournament, a varsity dual tournament at Grants High School.

"They beat Grants head-to-head," Chaves said. "They were missing a few kids too, which makes it even more amazing. I was very proud of them."

Belen wrestles next at the Deming Duals meet this weekend in Deming.

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Like Belen, Valencia High also experienced the injury bug, but first-year coach Lorenzo Carrillo said he felt his team "had a pretty good showing" at the Las Cruces meet.

"We came through it pretty well," he said. "I'm happy with the results. We probably could have done a little better but we've still got some guy who are hurt and trying to get healed up."

The Jaguars finished with four placers in the tournament, including Joey Sanchez (106), Jacob Pino (113), Albert Sanchez (145) and Nathan Jolley at heavyweight.

Sanchez finished 5-2, said Carrillo, while Pino moved down from 120 for the tournament.

"Joey continued to establish himself as a genuine contender," Carrillo said. "Jacob placed fifth in a tough weight class. He's moving down but he scored a lot of points.

"Nathan lost to the guy from Gadsden, who made the finals. He (Jolley) is still coming back from football and getting into shape. We're looking for him to come on in the second half of the season."

Carrillo said the Jaguars drew the three toughest teams in the competition to begin with — Ironwood Ridge, Cleveland and Rio Rancho — and one only one match in the opening round.

"We started poorly," Carrillo said. "But after we did some talking with the guys, we roared back in the second and third rounds. We won a lot of tough matches. I was happy with the way the kids responded."

The Jaguars next wrestle at the APS Mini Invitational at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque this weekend.