Aztec 3-peats, PV is new king of the 5A mat

Matthew Asher
Farmington Daily Times
The Aztec wrestling team poses with its 4A state banner in Rio Rancho on Feb. 22, 2020. This is the third consecutive 4A wrestling title in a row for the Tigers.

RIO RANCHO –  The road to a state wrestling title now goes straight through the Four Corners area of New Mexico. After two grueling days of competition, the Aztec Tigers won their third consecutive New Mexico state wresting title in 4A while Piedra Vista captured the 5A title for the first time in school history.

Aztec ran away with the 4A title, scoring 246.5 points making the Tigers the top point scorers in the entire tournament regardless of classification. A big reason was Aztec going a perfect 6-for-6 in boys championship matches. The Lady Tigers won three individual titles and finished tied for second place with Highland with 66 points.

The Aztec girls team poses with their second place trophy at the New Mexico state wrestling championships in Rio Rancho on Feb. 22, 2020. Aztec finished with 66 points.

"Our kids came and wrestled today," Aztec head coach Monte Maxwell said. "They came and got after it. I'm very proud of them and the coaching staff for the work they put in with them. It's amazing. We've had some ups and downs with kids injured and out of the lineups. So we've really only had a full team for two weeks. We lost one of our guys who qualified and had to get surgery after the district tournament so we were a man short today."

Maxwell added he was going to take a week to enjoy the success of this season and he plans on having his wrestlers get back to the gym the following week.

The Piedra Vista wrestling team poses after winning the 5A state championship at the New Mexico wrestling tournament in Rio Rancho on Feb. 22, 2020. This is the first 5A wrestling title for the Panthers.

One classification higher the Piedra Vista Panthers claimed the 5A crown, finishing with 183 points, ahead of Carlsbad's second-place finish at 170.5. While the Panthers only had one individual champion, the team was able to wrestle in all 14 boys weight divisions and had the title won when the 160-pound wrestlers were still on the mat, about halfway through the championship round.

PV Head coach Greg Ruybalid was glad all the tough tournaments he took his team to paid off with the Blue Trophy.

"We had a great season. We didn't wrestle in New Mexico at all. We go out of state pretty much all year young. When you're up in the Four Corners it's easy to go to Colorado and Arizona. We went to California this year which helped us see a lot of different wrestling styles. This is our first championship at 5A. This is special being at the top division, it means a lot more."

Ruybalid said he was especially proud that all 14 of his wrestlers were able to contribute to the point total with each wrestler winning at least one match.

Aztec individual state champions

  • Bryson Valdez, 106 pounds
  • Mia Aguirre, 120 pounds
  • Makayla Munoz, 126 pounds
  • Garrett Birzer, 138 pounds
  • Bode Wooley, 145 pounds
  • Zane Chapman, 152 pounds
  • Malcolm Altisi, 160 pounds
  • Princess Altisi, 160 pounds
  • Caleb Varzeas, 220 pounds

Piedra Vista individual champions

  • Ezekiel Bejar, 132 pounds

Matthew Asher can be reached at 575-628-5524, or @Caveman_Masher on Twitter.  Support award-winning local journalism. Subscribe to the Current-Argus today.