Roundup: High school wrestling and swim teams going strong into tournament season

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Farmington and Aztec High School wrestling teams took big steps this past weekend towards defending their state championships, scoring well in tournament competition.

Meantime, the Scorpion swim and dive also earned big marks this past weekend as they prepare for district championships and a run at state titles.

And boys basketball action played out in front of a giant crowd Monday night when crosstown rivals Farmington and Piedra Vista battled it out on the hard court in the first of two district meetings between the schools. 

Here's a recap of all the action.

Wrestling

The Farmington High School wrestling team is well on the way to defending their state championships in Class 5A, coming off a win at the Butch Melton Invitational in Ignacio, Colorado.

Individual first place medals were earned by Daxton Allison, Wycolt Henry and Ivan Smith, as well as Isaac Foutz, Ezequiel Borunda and Victor Borunda as the Scorpions won the team titles last weekend. They defeated 13 other local and regional schools, including Aztec, Cedaredge, Montrose, Durango, Shiprock and Pagosa Springs.

Farmington took home the top prize in team competition, scoring 194 combined points. Aztec took second place in the tournament with 168.

"This was a great opportunity to get things dialed in," said Farmington wrestling coach John Mason. "If we can keep this momentum moving in the right direction, another ring may just be in our future."

Despite coming up short in the team competition, Aztec's wrestling team also made a big statement with district championships and a run at another state title right around the corner. 

Aztec's first-place individual wins went to Taner Olguin, Bryson Valdez, Talan Olguin and Tony Thompson as the Tigers look to repeat as champions in Class 4A. 

More:Aztec High School's Makayla Munoz has sights set on third straight state wrestling title

Valdez and Makayla Munoz, who also took home a first-place medal, were named the meet's outstanding wrestlers.

"The team has shown steady improvement and is feeling the effects of its tough early schedule, as we start down the final stretch of the season," said Tigers coach Herb Stinson. "The upper weights of Farmington proved to be too much for us and they pulled away for the victory."

Stinson and the Aztec team feel prepared with District 1-4A championship competition coming up Saturday at 10 a.m. at Bloomfield High School, followed by the state championships at the Rio Rancho Events Center later this month.

"Our young men wrestled hard and proved that we will be capable of defending our classification at the state tournament," Stinson said.

More:Wrestling and swim teams make big strides to state titles in recent meets

Meantime, the Bloomfield wrestling team took part in tournament action in Belen last weekend, finishing with a 4-1 mark in duals competition, beating Socorro, Cleveland, Grants and Valencia before losing to the host school in the final round.

Gunner Zamora, Hunter Zamora, Adan Benavidez and Elias Johnson all scored perfect 5-0 marks over the competition, as did Matthias DeHerrera. The Bobcats also plan to make a significant run in the district championships against Bloomfield and in the state tournament.

Boys Basketball

FARMINGTON 77, Piedra Vista 56

Farmington High School's Cody Vassar-Steen goes for the basket over Piedra Vista's Randal Begaye during a game, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 at the Jerry A Conner Fieldhouse.

The Farmington High School boys basketball team got back on track Monday night, snapping a two-game losing streak within District 2-5A with a resounding 77-57 win on the road over crosstown rival Piedra Vista.

In front of a raucous crowd befitting a 20-plus year local rivalry at the Jerry A Conner Fieldhouse, the Scorpions edged clear of the Panthers in the second half, thanks to strong efforts from Cody Vassar-Steen, Cayden Yazzie and Trel Griego.

The Scorpions led the game 37-25 at the half, then outscored the Panthers 40-31 in the second half to preserve the win. Farmington (17-4 overall, 2-3 District 2-5A) is currently ranked 10th in the latest Class 5A MaxPreps poll.

The Panthers (7-14 overall, 0-5 district) have lost five in a row and will be home Saturday at 2:30 p.m. to face Eldorado.

Farmington will visit Sandia on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The Matadors handed Farmington their first district loss on Jan. 18 at the Scorpion Arena, beating the Scorpions 53-46.

NAVAJO PREP 67, Zuni 37

Zuni High School's Anthony Sice attempts a jumper over Navajo Prep's Xavier Nez during a game, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 at Zuni High School.

The Navajo Prep boys basketball team won their second straight game, running past Zuni 67-37 Monday night at Zuni High School.

Playing their fourth game in a week after several games were postponed last month due to players and staff being quarantined, Navajo Prep pulled clear of the Thunderbirds in the second half for the win.

The Eagles (8-7 overall, 2-1 District 1-3A) will stay busy, with three more games scheduled this week beginning Tuesday night on the road at Tohatchi.

Girls Basketball

THOREAU 48, Navajo Prep 43

The Thoreau High School girls basketball team scored an upset win Monday night on the road, knocking off Navajo Prep 48-43 at the Eagles Nest, ending the Lady Eagles seven-game win streak.

Thoreau, which came into the contest two games back of Navajo Prep in the overall standings in District 1-3A, earned their fourth win of the district season and handed Navajo Prep their first loss since Dec. 21, when they were toppled on the road against Kirtland Central.

The Hawks improve to 13-6 on the season and will be on the road Wednesday to face Newcomb before facing off again with Navajo Prep at home on Friday night. The Lady Eagles will look to bounce back Wednesday night at home against Tohatchi.

Swimming/Diving

The Farmington High School swim & dive team stamped themselves ready for the postseason, earning high marks last weekend at the Horsemen Invitational at Santa Fe.

Morgan Deale swam her way to four first place finishes in the event, including the 200-meter medley relay with Jenica Finlayson, Aili Talcott and Jessi Curry. Deale also earned wins in the 200-meter individual medley, as well as the 500-meter freestyle and the 400-meter freestyle relay with Talcott, Finlayson and Preslie West.

More:NMAA announces changes to state championships schedules and fan participation

District 2-5A championships are coming up on Friday beginning at 2 p.m. at the Farmington Aquatic Center. Fans may attend the event, which will also be streamed live on the team's Facebook page.

Following the district championships this weekend comes the state finals, which will be held at the Albuquerque Academy Natatorium. There is a 2-fan per participant restriction on attendance at the event, which will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 16 for boys and Saturday, Feb. 19 for girls.

Those restrictions were put in place last month due to rising case numbers in the latest variant of the pandemic.

Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680.