10 Questions with Ryan Rino

Favorite thing to eat after making weight: A peanut butter and honey sandwich or a breakfast burrito.

Favorite music to listen to before a match:  Deathlok, some dubstep or Eminem.

Favorite movie: The Incredible Hulk

Favorite athlete: Lyoto Machida

Favorite and least favorite school subjects: My favorite is math, and I don't like reading.

Favorite way to finish a match: I put the guy in a 'Grandma' where I pin his arm behind his back and then turn him to pin him.

Dream Vacation: Italy

Dream car: A Ferrari

If you could have any superpower, what would you pick:  To grow wings and fly

Plans after graduating from high school: I want to wrestle in college. If that doesn't work out, I want to go to pharmacy school or engineering school.

 

FARMINGTON  Ryan Rino isn't satisfied with winning one state title.

Rino, a senior at Piedra Vista, is working to finish his high school wrestling career as a two-time state champion while the Panthers aim for a fourth consecutive Class 4A state championship under head coach Levi Stout.

"Earlier in the year, I asked Levi what it takes to win two in a row. He said something like 'If you win state, you are good but, if you can defend it, you are great.' I want to be great," Rino said. "I am looking forward to working twice as hard all year."

Rino entered the 2013-14 season a little rusty after another football season where the Panthers made it into the state playoffs. Rino shook off the cobwebs last weekend in Reno, Nev., with an impressive run in the 82-team Sierra Nevada Classic.

Piedra Vista senior wrestler Ryan Rino stands under a state championship sign inside the Piedra Vista High School mat room on Monday in Farmington.
Piedra Vista senior wrestler Ryan Rino stands under a state championship sign inside the Piedra Vista High School mat room on Monday in Farmington. (John Livingston — The Daily Times)

Rino, who was seeded 50th, lost his first match of the tournament via major decision to Christian Dominguez of Central Catholic, Calif. The loss dropped him into the consolation bracket.

"I underestimated the guy. After that, I got it in my head that I couldn't take anybody light there. I told myself 'You are from New Mexico, people are going to take you light.' I just went out there and gave it my best match every time after that," Rino said. "I wasn't going to give up. I would have wasted the whole trip if I went out with two losses early."

What Rino did after that loss was unique. He was the only wrestler in the entire tournament to drop his first match and still place on the podium, after reeling off wins in the next seven matches. Rino was guaranteed a spot on the podium thanks to a 9-7 decision win against Broc Smith of Virgin Valley, Nev. Rino lost his final two matches of the tournament to take sixth place. He scored 18 team points to help PV take sixth place in the tournament.

"Ryan is a good leader by example," Stout said. "That showed on Friday and Saturday when he came on the backside and wrestled all those matches to still place. That is something that is almost unspoken of. When you lose your first match, it is easy to lose the next one. He was a leader and showed all the younger guys that it is never over and you can still come back and win matches and score lots of points for the team."

Rino said the trip to Nevada helped him refocus on the wrestling season ahead and let him know what he is capable of.

He is looking forward to finishing the rest of the schedule and having a target on his back as a defending state champ.

"Last year, I was the kid seeking out the state champ and to beat him. Now, I am that kid," Rino said. "It motivates me to work beyond my capabilities to the point where they can't even touch you anymore."

Rino knows he will see tough competition at the state tournament in Capital's Ernesto Salvidrez, who is the top-ranked 152-pound boy by Zia Wrestler.

"I can't get him out of my head. It bugs me every day," Rino said. "Whenever I am not doing anything, I know I have to go do something because I think he is out doing something to get better. I don't want to be a state champ my junior year and then lose senior year. I can't let that happen. I just want to break him."

Rino started wrestling in Bloomfield before transferring to Piedra Vista as a sophomore. The transition between schools was made easier because of Stout, who is Rino's stepfather.

"It makes things interesting and unique," Stout said. "It is pretty serious in the mat room during practice. I have to play the dad and the coach. I am the coach at practice and the dad at home. They are different types of conversations."

Rino hopes a second state title will open the doors for a college wrestling scholarship, and Stout said he already has a few schools interested.

"It would be huge for him to get a second title in the eye's of college coaches," Stout said. "He has a couple of people I think are serious about him, and I think he did himself a big favor last weekend by coming back through to place in Reno. He has an excellent opportunity to win another state championship and possibly get a scholarship."

John Livingston can be reached at jlivingston@daily-times.com; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.