RIO RANCHO — For the first time in 30 years, the Bloomfield High School wrestling team is the state champion.
The Bobcats placed 10 wrestlers in the top three to secure their first team title since 1984, winning the 3A/A State Wrestling Championship on Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
"We're just ecstatic," Bloomfield head coach Greg Shoemaker said. "Right now, I'm just at a loss for words. It hasn't set in yet."
The Bobcats finished with a total 203 points to edge out pre-tournament favorite Cobre for the title after the Indians placed second with 191.5.
Levi Whitley (113) and Troy Rightmire (145) won individual championships for Bloomfield after both entered the tournament as the top seeds in their weight classes.
The freshman Whitley set the tone for the Bobcats in the final with a 9-5 victory against Taos wrestler Christoval Valerio.
"Last year, I came down here and didn't do anything and was out before I got to place," Whitley said. "To come down here and win was just awesome."
Whitley also earned a valuable win in his first match of the day against Cobre's 113-pound wrestler Eric Morales in the semifinals with a 12-9 decision.
Rightmire closed out the 145-pound bracket with a 2-1 decision against Shiprock's lone placer Raygen Charley.
"It means a lot to me. I've been trying for five years and finally I achieved it," he said. "I couldn't ask for a better team and a better way to go out."
Rightmire entered his senior year dreaming of winning a state championship after being close in his four previous attempts.
"It's something I've always wanted," he said. "I've wanted to be a champion and bring it back to Bloomfield."
Rightmire placed second as a junior, third as a sophomore, fourth as a freshman and fifth as an eighth grader.
The Bobcats had four wrestlers place second after reaching the championship match.
Jacob Spencer battled 138-pound top seed Brent Horsely of Cobre, but fell just short in a 4-3 loss.
J.D. Robinson was pinned in the 160-pound final by St. Michael's Kory Windham. The win was Windham's fifth individual title of his career.
Paul Jarmillo (195) and Lorenzo LaMere (285) also took second after fighting their ways to the title match.
Jarmillo said he was a little disappointed to come up short in the final, but the team championship would more than make up for it.
"We worked hard all season, and it paid off," the senior Jaramillo said. "I'm not surprised at all that we won, either. We just came up big when we needed it. I think when we won district, beating the state champs (St. Michael's) got our confidence up. We've been working as a team. It's going to start a dynasty."
Spencer, Robinson and LaMere entered the bracket as the No. 3 seeds in their weight classes, and each managed to upset the No. 2 seed to earn an appearance in the final.
The Bobcats built an 18-point cushion heading into the finals thanks to strong wrestling in the third-place matches.
Corbin Nelson (106), Timothy Krielick (126) and David DeHerrera (220) all won their third-place matches by fall, helping the Bobcats establish control of the team title race heading into the championship matches.
"I'm just really proud," Shoemaker said. "All of these guys worked hard, set goals and achieved them."
Alex Portillo (152) won his third-place match as well with an 8-4 overtime victory against Kevin McCarty of Taos.
All 14 Bloomfield wrestlers contributed at least four points to the team total. Whitley and Rightmire led the team with 22 apiece.
Shoemaker sees this win as a building block for his program, which loses only three seniors. And, he said, he hopes the team comes back even hungrier to repeat next season.
"This is great, and these guys can't wait until next season," he said. "It's all they are talking about."
Robertson High finished in third place with 167 points. Silver was fourth at 135, and Taos took fifth at 126.5
Defending champion St. Michael's finished in sixth place at 100 points.
Shiprock took ninth as a team with 32 points.
Cobre and Robertson finished with three individual state champions each. Taos, Silver and St. Michael's joined Bloomfield with two individual title winners apiece.Joshua Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4577. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.