BLOOMFIELD — Eleven champions, two runner-ups and a third place finisher.
That is how Piedra Vista's wrestling team accumulated an impressive 356 points Friday to win the Bloomfield round-robin wrestling tournament.
It was a dominant display for the two-time defending 4A state champions, and the Panthers' head coach Levi Stout couldn't have been happier with the way his team performed.
"It was a really good day. I don't remember us scoring that many points anywhere ever," he said. "We are still going to peak at the right time, but right now we are wrestling at a higher level than ever before. It is a credit to the work these guys have put in during the off-season."
The Panthers may have had 11 champions out of the 14 weight classes, but Stout was most impressed by the unselfishness of his third place 170-pound wrestler, Joseph Kerr.
"Kerr was giving up 18 pounds and had to drink this morning to gain enough weight to be eligible for 170," Stout said. "That is very uncommon to hear about, but he did it to fill a hole in our lineup, and we appreciate it big time. It is tough to make varsity on our team with the talent on the roster, and Kerr did a big thing for us today by stepping up into that hole we needed filled."
Stout was also impressed with Christian Acosta's work at 220 pounds, including a 14-4 major decision win against Bloomfield's Orin Kennedy in the pool rounds.
Heavyweight Kason Wilkinson, a first-year wrestler, also won his division. Zach Ahlgrim's win at 195 pounds also sent a clear message that PV isn't just loaded with little guys anymore.
"Ahlgrim has been huge. Literally untouchable so far. We hope to find him some better competition soon," Stout said. "Acosta beat Kennedy and then a guy from Newcomb in the finals who had beat Andrew Duran last year for us. That was a big day for him.
"John Ellsaesser at 182 is also big for us. He is fitting right in, and we are very pleased to see him win today."
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the afternoon came at 132 pounds when Aztec's Robert Escojeda, younger brother of two-time state champion Rio Escojeda, was able to squeak past Piedra Vista's Anthony Juckes, another two-time state champ, in the finals.
"Hopefully it gives him some confidence, but it gets tougher every time you meet up against another guy with the talent of Juckes," said Aztec head coach Monte Maxwell.
Also taking first for the Tigers was Adam Lucero at 170 pounds. Lucero made the cut to 170 in just a week after tipping the scales at 195 during football season.
Aztec took third in the meet with 151.5 points.
"We had a really good effort today. A lot of guys have only been back a week, and I thought we finished strong for where we are right now," Maxwell said. "It was nice to see Lucero out on the mat and performing the way we know he can, and he is only going to improve each day as the season goes on."
Bloomfield took second place in the meet with 176 points thanks to seven third-place finishes.
Bloomfield senior Josh Archibeque finished in second place after falling to Ryan Rino of Piedra Vista in the 152-pound championship match.
Paul Jaramillo of Bloomfield also took second place after losing to Ahlgrim in the finals.
"We are still a young team ironing out the wrinkles with our lineup, but everybody improved and wrestled well," said Bloomfield head coach Greg Shoemaker. "I am very pleased with our guys. We have to improve every outing, and I think we showed improvement today."
Kirtland Central finished in fourth place with 119.5 points. The Broncos placed eight wrestlers in the tournament, the most in any tournament the past three years since head coach John Sandoval has been with the team.
Sam Chee was crowned the 138-pound champion when he defeated PV's Wyatt Weaver in the final match.
"I am very pleased with the direction we are moving,” Sandoval said. “We had eight guys place and, the promising thing is, we had five junior varsity kids wrestling today. We only had eight true varsity guys out there with six out of the lineup. Once we get everyone where we want them after the break, we should be good to go. We are wrestling tough and it is very encouraging."
David White (113) and Keishaun Aspaas (120) also took second place for Kirtland Central.
Kirtland Central and Bloomfield will go toe-to-toe in a duals match Friday before the teams all meet back up at Piedra Vista's tournament next Saturday.
"It is going to be a super tough tournament. We have eight teams coming, including Santa Fe, Belen and Los Lunas. Those schools have some horses, and Los Lunas and Belen are the southern favorites in 4A," Stout said.
1. Piedra Vista 356
2. Bloomfield 176
3. Aztec 151.5
4. Kirtland Central 119.5
5. Bayfield, Colo. 116.5
6. Miyamura 71
7. Gallup 49
8. Newcomb 46
9. Ignacio, Colo. 32
103 Sam Sandoval (Piedra Vista)
113 Phillip Archuleta (Piedra Vista)
120 Jacob Palmgren (Piedra Vista)
126 Ryan Ruybalid (Piedra Vista)
132 Robert Escojeda (Aztec)
138 Sam Chee (Kirtland Central)
145 Dillon Strunk (Piedra Vista)
152 Ryan Rino (Piedra Vista)
160 Wyatt Hardy (Piedra Vista)
170 Adam Lucero (Aztec)
182 John Ellsaesser (Piedra Vista)
195 Zachary Ahlgrim (Piedra Vista)
220 Christian Acosta (Piedra Vista)
285 Cason Wilkinson (Piedra Vista)
Lower weights: Robert Escojeda (Aztec)
Middle weights: Ryan Rino (Piedra Vista)
Heavier weights: Adam Lucero (Aztec)