Kirtland Central, Aztec close out 2021 with strong efforts
FARMINGTON — As the final days of 2021 were counted down, the Aztec High School wrestling teams were returning from a successful tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Meantime, the Kirtland Central girls basketball team came away with a big win ahead of an important stretch of games to kick off the new year.
Here's a look back at some of the prep sports action that wrapped up the calendar year.
Kirtland Central 39, Rio Rancho 29
Led by junior Teghan Begay's 10 points, the Kirtland Central High School girls basketball team earned its seventh consecutive win Thursday night, topping Rio Rancho 39-29 at Bronco Arena.
KC's win improved its record to 8-2. The Broncos last lost on Dec. 3 in a tournament against Sunrise Mountain of Peoria, Arizona.
Ranked third in the state in Class 4A by MaxPreps, Kirtland Central has an important stretch of games coming up when it returns to action this week.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Broncos will travel to Farmington High School to face the unbeaten Lady Scorpions, Class 5A's top-ranked team. Kirtland Central then hits the road to face Portales on Thursday. The Rams are ranked fourth in Class 4A.
"These are some tough games coming up," Broncos coach Devon Manning said. "We're playing some tough competition and looking to get better."
The Aztec wrestling teams wrapped up 2021 with a successful trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, with two members of the girls team winning individual championships at the Cimarron Invitational at Cimarron Memorial High School.
Junior Makayla Munoz and senior Princess Altsisi took home championship trophies during the two-day event, with Munoz winning the 131-pound weight class with a victory over Durango High School's Victoria Morosini in the finals.
Altsisi won her 137-pound weight class, defeating Annabel He of Rancho Bernardo High School in California and Ariana Gaminara from Faith Lutheran High School out of Las Vegas.
Altsisi and Munoz are both defending state champions and appear to be at the top of their game as the calendar turns to the new year.
"I keep reminding them it's a long run to February," Aztec head coach Herb Stinson said, referring to the state tournament in Albuquerque. "But I'm happy with the way the team is progressing."
Brinn Kerby and Nadya Duran each finished second in their individual weight class for the Tigers, securing the squad a second-place overall finish in the tournament, which featured more than two dozen schools from around the Southwest.
The boys team finished fourth and was led by second-place finishes from Bryson Valdez (113 pounds) and Talan Olguin (120 pounds), as well as a third-place finish from Jaylen Ignacio (220 pounds).
The Tigers will visit Monticello, Utah, at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680.