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Aztec’s Bryson Valdez defeats Espanola Valley’s Devin Atencio for 4A’s 106-pound championship Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho. Farmington Daily Times

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FARMINGTON — Don’t let Bryson Valdez’s youth deceive you.

The Aztec wrestler is only one year into his tenure with the Tigers, but he’s already a state champion.

And he accomplished that feat by beating the toughest foes the Land of Enchantment had to offer, earning the Daily Times athlete of the month for February in the process.

After cruising to District 1-4A’s 106-pound individual title, capped off by 12-2 major-decision win over Miyamura’s Rhys Sellers, Valdez (42-0) was just getting started.

Valdez pinned both Ruidoso’s Solomon Chavez and Albuquerque Academy’s Jackson Rodgers in less than a minute into the first period in the 4A state opener and quarterfinals, respectively.

In the state semifinals, Valdez applied a critical escape and takedown in the third period to push past Silver’s Adyn Bostick, who won 37 matches coming in.

During the second period of the state finals, Valdez got Española Valley’s Devin Atencio on his back, spun him clockwise and pinned him to win the title.

The fact Valdez still has another four years of high school wrestling left makes his state title run that much more impressive. 

His potential is through the roof.

Honorable mentions

Piedra Vista wrestler Ezekiel Bejar

PV won their first state wrestling title since 2015, and the Panthers' lone individual title came courtesy of Ezekiel Bejar in 5A's 132-pound division.

Bejar took down Santa Fe's Miguel Padilla, a 2019 state champion, via 3-1 decision.

Navajo Prep boys basketball's Treston Yazzie

Treston Yazzie helped put the finishing touches on the Eagles' first district regular-season title in four years.

Down 56-54 in the final seconds of regulation Feb. 14 at Thoreau, Prep missed two shots before Yazzie scored on a putback at the buzzer to send the game to overtime. The Eagles went on to win 67-60 and secure district outright.

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Aztec’s Bryson Valdez pins Ruidoso’s Solomon Chavez 31 seconds into the first period Friday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho. Farmington Daily Times

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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