Tigers take eighth in Utah, Shiprock earns seventh in Arizona
FARMINGTON – The Aztec and Shiprock wrestling teams traveled out of state to compete in their respective two-day invitationals over the weekend, and both area schools fared well.
The Tigers were in St. George, Utah, for the Desert Storm Wrestling Classic, where 33 schools hit the mats on Friday and Saturday.
Led by Josiah Griego (106), Cody Candelaria (120), Austin Littlefield (145) and Josh Snow (152), Aztec earned eighth place with 116 points.
"Our four placers wrestled extremely tough," Aztec coach Monte Maxwell said. "They showed they're heading in the right direction."
Eleven of Aztec's 12 wrestlers scored points for the team, and Maxwell said some of them pulled off some gutsy, come-from-behind victories.
"It was amazing how hard we battled," he said. "We've very proud of the team we put on the mat this week, and the long road trip was definitely worth it."
Littlefield won in his weight class. Candeleria was fourth, Griego was fifth and Snow landed in sixth. Bishop Gorman High School out of Las Vegas, Nev., won the classic with a total of 185.5 points.
Shiprock was in Window Rock, Ariz., for the Veterans Memorial Wrestling Invitational. The Chieftains placed seventh.
After finishing 3-2 in dual meets on Friday, Shiprock went 2-1 on Saturday.
The Chieftains first lost to Red Mesa out of Apache County, Ariz., but closed the day strong with wins over Monument Valley (San Juan County, Utah) and Catalina (Tucson, Ariz.) for a final record of 5-3.
"It's good coming out here because we get to see different out-of-state schools with different styles," Shiprock assistant coach Sean Hayes said. "We think that seeing some of these state champion-caliber wrestlers is a unique experience. It's going to help us."
Sophomore Zelldan Clark (160) continued his dominant season by going 10-0 over the weekend and winning his weight class.
Cauy Ute (113), Darius Martin (138), Zephaniah Hadley (182), Logan Charley (195) and heavyweight Verl Barney all earned fifth in their weight class for Shiprock, while Zander Dale (170) took sixth.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.