BLOOMFIELD — A late rally in the fifth and final round of Bloomfield's round-robin wrestling tournament was enough to push the home team to victory.
The Bloomfield Bobcats finished Saturday's eight-team tournament strong en route to a convincing first-place finish. The Bobcats scored 285.5 team points to finish well ahead of second-place Aztec, who finished with 243 points.
"It was a nice team effort. The kids are wrestling together as a family," said Bloomfield head coach Greg Shoemaker. "When you are family, you draw together and get it done like we did."
Twelve of Bloomfield's 14 wrestlers placed in the tournament. Levi Whitley (113), Jacob Spencer (145), J.D. Robinson (160) and Paul Jaramillo (195) all placed first in their weight classes for the Bobcats. Whitley was named the Outstanding Wrestler in the lower divisions. Robinson claimed the honor in the middle weight divisions, and Jaramillo was the upper weight class Outstanding Wrestler. All three boys went 4-0 on the day.
"We are doing pretty good. We won last week out at the Gallup tournament. That isn't the toughest competition, but we are doing good as a team," Robinson said.
Bloomfield trailed Aztec going into the final round, but ran away with the win with a strong finish.
That drew the attention of other area coaches in attendance.
"Bloomfield came on really good at the end. That last round, they really stepped up and won the tournament," said Aztec head coach Monte Maxwell. "They have a lot of potential."
Aztec's Royal Yazzie (152), Justis Francisco (170) and Orin Israel (182) took first place in their respective weight classes for the Tigers. Aztec had nine total placers.
"We started off really good and, for being our first varsity event, we were really happy with the guys," Maxwell said. "There were a lot of positives, and also a lot of things we saw we can fix and improve on."
Piedra Vista had just one of its regular varsity wrestlers, Zach Ahlgrim, active on Saturday. Ahlgrim had no problem winning the 220-pound weight class in the varsity tournament. Junior varsity guys Kyle DeWees (120) and Nick Rino (126) also won their weight classes in the varsity tournament for the third-place Panthers, who finished with 210.5 points.
"We had Ahlgrim in action today because he isn't going on our trip to Nevada with us over Christmas. We wanted to make sure he got some points and would get to his match limit," said PV head coach Levi Stout. "He looked really good out there and pulled off first place. Beside him, it was our JV squad, and those guys wrestled tough."
Miyamura finished fourth with 178.5 points, and Taos came in fifth with 145.5. Shiprock took last place with 33 team points.
The majority of teams in action in Bloomfield on Saturday will participate in the Panther Invite at Piedra Vista on Dec. 21.
Bloomfield hopes to impress further at that tournament.
"Bloomfield is going to be tough all year. They are even still missing a few varsity guys," Stout said of the Bobcats. "I think they can wrestle with St. Michael's in 3A. They beat a bunch of 4A state placers, and I definitely think they are a top-three team in 3A."John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.