Aztec High wrestling team captures fifth consecutive state title

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times
The Aztec Tigers boys wrestling team poses for pictures after winning their fifth consecutive state championship, Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 at the Rio Rancho Event Center.

FARMINGTON — The Aztec High School boys wrestling team successfully defended their state Class 4A championship, bringing home the blue trophy for the fifth consecutive year.

Defeating Bloomfield, Silver and 21 other schools at the Rio Rancho Event Center on Friday, the Tigers wrestling team brought home three individual championships, and in the process, earning the program's 21st state championship since its inception in 1956.

"Winning never gets old," said Aztec wrestling coach Herb Stinson. "Seeing kids accomplish feats that others only dream about it is special."

Taner Olguin, Bryson Valdez and Jaylen Ignacio all brought home individual championships for the Tigers, aiding the Tigers in the team victory.

Olguin, an eighth-grader, won the state individual championship at the 106-lb. weight class, defeating Landon Atencio of Espanola Valley by pinfall. Olguin finished the season with a personal record of 23-2

Aztec High School wrestling coach Herb Stinson poses after team secures fifth straight state championship, Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 at the Rio Rancho Event Center.

Valdez, a sophomore, won his third consecutive state title, defeating George Piestewa of Miyamura by pinfall in the 113-lb. division, finishing his season with a record of 35-1.

Ignacio ran his overall record to 34-9 while defeating Gallup's Shawn Gomez by a 9-5 decision to win the state title at the 220-lb. weight class.

In addition to three division winners, Aztec's Talan Olguin also was a state runner-up at the 120-lb. weight class, losing in the finals to Miyamura's Rhys Sellers.

"It's a great feeling," Stinson said. "Our seniors for five straight years are state champions again."

Bloomfield finished second in the Class 4A state finals, bringing home individual championships for Adan Benavidez (126-lbs.), who captured his second state title, as well as Matthias DeHerrera (138-lbs.).

Kirtland Central finished eighth overall, with Zakk Thomas earning a second-place medal at the 160-lb. weight class.

Meantime, Shiprock's Hayden Goodluck secured a state title of his own, bringing home a championship at the 152-lb. weight class. The Chieftains finished 11th overall.

The state wrestling championships conclude on Saturday, with a chance for Aztec to bring home more hardware.

Aztec girls wrestlers Nadya Duran, Makayla Munoz, Princess Altsisi, Mia Melendez and Brynn Kirby pose with their medals earned at the Crown The Queen Tournament, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022 at Miyamura High School. Munoz, Kirby and Altsisi will represent the Tigers in the 2022 state championships.

Makayla Munoz is looking for a third straight state title, while Princess Altsisi is also looking to repeat as state champion as Aztec's girls team chases more championships. The Lady Tigers will also be represented by Brynn Kirby.

And the Farmington Scorpions are considered one of the favorites to compete for their second consecutive state title. Farmington will be represented by nearly a dozen wrestlers at the event.

For a complete listing of individual winners from the Class 4A state wrestling finals, visit the official trackwrestling.com page.

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