Tigers tame Jaguars in dual match

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Because of a pair early forfeits, there wasn’t much chance that host Valencia would be able to come back against Los Lunas in the two teams’ dual match at Valencia High school on Wednesday, Jan 15.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: LOS LUNAS ROMAN CERVANTES, left, moves to subdue Valencia’s Joey Sanchez during their 106-pound match at the Los Lunas-Valencia head-to-head dual match on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Valencia High School.

But you’d have never known that by watching the final battle of the night between the Tigers’ 182-pounder Gerald Sanchez and the Jaguars’ Jesus Tapia.

Sanchez would ultimately edge out Tapia 10-8 in a well fought battle between the pair and Los Lunas would claim the dual match overall with a final score of 48-28.

“We had some good battles,” said Tigers coach Steve Chavez. “We were missing a few kids, but Valencia gave us a fight. We’re wrestling a lot better. Our lightweights look tough. Our 220 looked tough. We got some pins early, so we’re happy to get the win.”

Tiger Roman Cervantes (106) agreed, echoing his coach’s enthusiasm.

“I was real happy we were able to wrestle well here,” Cervantes said. “I feel like we’re about to hit our peak.”

The Tigers took a 12-0 lead before the first moves were made on the mat due to forfeits by the Jags in the 195 and 285 divisions. After a disqualification at 220, Los Lunas scored pins in four of the next six matches from wrestler Cervantes, Antonio Alvarado (120), A.J. Saucedo (132) and Robert Lowe to take a 45-4 lead.

Valencia’s only points early on came from Jacob Pino (113) who won 14-5 over LLHS’ Michael Freeman.

The Jags scored four pins in a row in the heavier weight divisions, with Albert Sanchez (145), Nate Nash (152), Mateo Cordova-Justice (160) and Urbano Gonzalez (172) all winning. before Los Lunas prevailed in the final match.

“We lost 12 points off the bat from the forfeits and then we had some things happen to us that we weren’t expecting but I was proud of the guys,” Valencia coach Lorenzo Carillo said.

Carrillo said that Valencia heavyweight Nathan Jolley, who placed fourth at the Class 4A State Wrestling Championships last season, left the team before last week’s match.

“He basically said he wasn’t having any fun,” Carrillo said. “He was a state placer (last year), so that hurts.”

Los Lunas and Belen will both participate at the Joe Kirby Eagle Duals Tournament this Saturday in Belen. Valencia travels to the APS Mini Invitational hosted by Volcano Vista High School.

Belen finished 10th while Los Lunas placed 13th in the 32-team Joe Vivian Invitational wrestling meet at Cibola High School in Albuquerque Saturday.

Belen and Los Lunas both finished with second and fourth place finishers individually at the tournament, which is regarded as the most prestigious tournament of the season by many wrestling coaches.

Belen heavyweight Danny Gordon, the No. 2 seed, lost by a pin fall to top-seeded James Romero of Atrisco Heritage in the finals, while Matt Lucero placed fourth behind Clayton Arellano of Rio Grande, who also won by pin fall in the 3rd place match of the 138-pound division.

Lucero made the championship bracket’s semifinal but lost a 7-1 decision to eventual champion Orlando Gutierrez of Rio Grande.

Los Lunas’ Roman Cervantes earned the No. 1 seed in the 106-pound division but lost 9-0 in the championship match to Rio Rancho’s Orion Gutierrez. The Tigers Michael Freeman nearly made the championship round in 113, losing in the semifinals. Freeman battled through the consaltion bracket to the 3rd place match, where he lost to Las Cruces’ Anthony Trujillo by pin fall.

Belen’s Danny Evans also lost in the semifinals but lost a close 1-0 decision to Trujillo in the consolation semifinals.

Valencia finished 23rd with a 34.5 points. The Jags had no wrestlers place in the tournament.