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Belen junior varsity and Valencia square off in a match to determine the seventh place finisher at the Leonard Kirby Invite at BHS last weekend. 

The Belen Eagles wrestling team hosted and won the Leonard Kirby Invite last Saturday, beating out second place Kirtland Central for the title.

Valencia and the Belen junior varsity team also competed in the event, with the JV Eagles taking seventh and the Jaguars coming in eighth.

Twelve schools from across the state came to BHS for the tournament, which was divided into three pools of four teams for the opening three rounds.

Belen headlined pool one and was joined by Taos, Goddard and Bernalillo.

The Eagles opened the tournament by taking on Bernalillo to kick off pool play, beating the Spartans easily, 73-6.

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A Belen wrestler puts the hurt on his opponent during duals between the Eagles and the Kirtland Central Broncos at Saturday’s Leonard Kirby Invite. The Eagles finished in first. 

BHS benefitted from forfeits in seven weight classes, but swept the matches that were actually wrestled.

In the 113 pound weight class, Diego Avila beat Ryan Maes with a 17-9 major decision to earn the Eagles four points.

Dominic Romero earned a six point victory with a fall against Cuentin Romero at 120 pounds.

Dylan Gonzales won his match at 132 pounds with a fall over Nick Herrera to earn another six point victory.

A battle in the 145 class saw Martin Ammons earn a fall victory, while Tino Rodriguez did the same at the 160 pound class.

Coleton Gonzalez earned a 11-4 decision victory over Joaquin Mares at 152 points to round out the matches.

The Spartans only victory came in the 182 pound class as George Griego won by forfeit.

Belen also earned points by forfeit victories in the 106, 126, 138, 170, 195, 220 and 285 pound weight classes.

The Eagles second dual came against Taos and they won in similar fashion, beating the Tigers 66-6.

Just as Bernalillo did, the Tigers only points in the dual came off of a forfeit in the 182 pound class.

A double forfeit at 285 brought the total down, but BHS still earned ten six point victories out of 12 possible matches.

Belen then defeated Goddard 77-6 to secure first place in their pool and guarantee a top three finish.

The Jaguars competed in pool three, and beat Socorro in their opening dual, 48-30. Manuel Estrada, Zak Aragon, Jeffery Zamora, Jacob Farely and Clay Carrete were victorious for VHS in their respective weight classes to give the Jaguars the edge.

VHS then fell to Roswell 48-33 and Kirtland Central 59-21 to close out pool play with a third place finish behind the Broncos and Coyotes, putting Valencia in position for a finish between seventh and ninth places.

In pool two, the Belen junior varsity squad opened up by tying with Cleveland 33-33, with the Storm winning on the tiebreaker 7-6.

This set the JV Eagles up for a match with Grants, which they won 43-36.

A loss to Los Alamos by a score of 47-19 closed out pool play for the squad as the finished in third place, also slotting into the 7-9 places.

The JV squad put on a strong showing in the final duals of the day, beating Valencia 42-33 and Bernalillo 48-13 for a seventh place finish.

Valencia rebounded from their loss to the JV Eagles with a 48-30 win over Bernalillo to take eighth.

In the battle for first, Belen opened up with a strong victory over Kirtland, winning 48-37.

Gonzales, Wyatt Wimberly, Romero, Santi Tafoya and Gonzales earned fall victories for the Eagles.

BHS took on Los Alamos next and earned a 47-26 victory.

Gonzales, Rodriguez, Pemble and Wood earned fall victories for BHS on their way to victory.

In the final round, Kirtland beat the Hilltoppers to earn second place.

Belen battled Los Lunas on Wednesday and is scheduled to host Roswell today to wrap up duels season.

Saturday, Feb. 15, will be the district individuals tournament hosted by St. Pius X in advance of the State Tournament the following week at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

Meanwhile, Valencia squared off with St. Pius on Wednesday and will next take the mat at the district meet.

Los Lunas, which did not compete last weekend, will begin preperations for the district meet following their match with Belen.

Sports writer

Cameron Goeldner grew up in Boulder, Colo., and attended the University of New Mexico. He covers everything sports for all Valencia County schools.

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