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AZTEC — The Aztec wrestling team kept its strong season rolling today, traveling to Bayfield, Colo., for a dual and dispatching the Wolverines 53-20.

“The kids all wrestled pretty tough. They came out to battle,” Aztec coach Monte Maxwell said. “Bayfield did, as well. They wrestled some tough matches and won some tough matches on their side, as well.”

Freshman Garrett Birzer stood out among the Tigers, picking up a 12-10 win in overtime in the 120-pound weight class.

Cody Candelaria also came away with a close win, earning a 4-3 decision at 126 pounds.

“The others did what they were supposed to do and wrestled tough,” Maxwell said.

The Tigers’ schedule is chock full over the next week.

Aztec will wrestle at the Rocky Mountain Invitational in Pagosa Springs, Colo., Saturday, then get a few days off before hosting Ignacio, Colo., for a dual on Thursday, only to turn around for a two-day tourney in Winslow, Ariz., next weekend.

Maxwell said wrestling the grueling schedule will pay dividends in the future as it will help the get the Tigers ready for the challenges of the district and state tournaments next month.

“We’re trying to prepare them for district and state. We want to get them ready for the big picture,” Maxwell said. “We’re getting them out of the state and seeing some really tough competition. We’ve run across some really good kids from Colorado, Arizona, California and Utah. We’re trying to get them experience wrestling against some state champions.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

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